All about Low Volume Production and Urethane Casting

Nowadays, industries are proliferating, and demand for finished products is increased day by day. To meet the production requirements, engineers use several methods to increase their production. Further, Manufacturers are customary to the manufacturing process of old components, but when any new product and part is introduced in any industry, it creates complications for everyone. The development of new products takes several testing and improvement, along with increasing the quality of the product.

In the bygone era, the development of new components is too expensive than now, as they manufactured real products then test them and again improve the old model with new. This method of development consumes lots of time, money, and material. Sometimes the cost of developing a product is higher than the manufacturing cost. Nowadays, this development is done in 3D printers and simulations software. This software saves time and assets and helps in increasing the worth of industry.

On the other hand, the demand for plastic and rubber components increases due to chemical and physical properties. With chemical and physical properties, plastic parts’ weight is lower than metallic components, and chemicals enhanced plastic and rubber durability. That’s why plastic is increased in every field for making soft components like toys to making hard components like bodies of vehicles.

Furthermore, manufacturing processes in plastic and rubber industries are different than metallic industries. In plastic manufacturing, low volume method, high volume methods, urethane casting process, etc. methods are in use. Injectors make plastic and rubber components. Before starting the manufacturing of products, some factors are considered in the industry, like the quality of the product, cost of manufacturing, delivery sequences, and the capability of industry, labor, and company reputation. These things consume lots of time, so the company mainly focused on the production and selected accordingly. Like for small-batch low volume production Cost and Urethane casting methods are used.

What is low volume manufacturing?

Before starting the mass production, limited numbers of pieces are manufactured. This manufacturing gives a regular improvement in product models and instant demonstration in the market for attracting customers toward a new product. Also, low volume manufacturing is suitable for small industries that take orders for manufacturing and deliver products in small batches with precise quality.

There are several advantages of low volume manufacturing for industries are

  • The flow of data: Before manufacturing the prototype model of product designer, make designs in CAD software and simulate them. These simulations improve the flaws in the prototype model and are printed in a 3D printer. This whole data is shared among the vendors, suppliers, stakeholders, promoters, and meanwhile, in the entire supply chain. This seamless flow of data creates new opportunities and development of products.
  • Prototype model flexibility: After 3D samples, prototype molds are manufactured. Prototype manufacturing gives the flexibility to remove flaws during manufacturing than simulations. Indeed, real manufacturing always requires some modifications than simulative prototypes. These flaws are occurred due to certain errors in a machine like displacements, mismatch, low and high pressure, temperature, and surrounding environmental conditions.
  • Fast marketing: Low volume manufacturing ensures faster availability of samples in marketing. Everyone knows the pressure for creating new products. The success of any industry depends on how fast they introduce theirs in the market. Low volume manufacturing provides quality samples in the market in the meantime.
  • Actual targets: Low volume manufacturing is done before mass production. During this process, real-time manufacturing products, cost of manufacturing, wastage of raw material, etc. are counted, and the final draft is designed. In the final draft, production targets are, and requirements of productions are enlisted.
  • Rare designs: With the help of low volume manufacturing, special or antique designs of products are manufactured in small quantities. The selling price of this manufactured pieces is quite high than regular production. It gives extra benefits to industries such as spare parts of old automobiles.

What is Urethane Casting?

Like casting of iron from iron core, urethane casting is done by using urethane resin. This casting is used for machining plastic products. Further, the products made from urethane resin are soft, flexible, and rubbery in texture. It is quite similar to low volume manufacturing. Also, it is used for making complicated designs quick and for high surfaces finishing.

The process of Urethane casting requires almost the same processes as low volume. Firstly silicon mold is made by 3D printing or CNC machine. And by pouring silicon in the mold, the silicone mold is prepared than urethane mixed in 50-50 ratio and poured in the molds.

This takes up to one hour for settled up and varies accordingly resin cure time.

Advantages of Urethane Casting

  • In this process, the quality of the manufactured product is high.
  • Industries can test their prototype models in the market before starting their mass production at a low cost.
  • Manufacturing time is lesser than another injection process. So, it can be easily launched in the market.
  • By the urethane casting process, complicated designs with numerous sharp corners and edges are made quickly and perfectly.
  • The shrinkage rate of urethane resin is less than 0.15{b3b47b4ce3613a8ae866741a21452b80454d4cde38f39b62399bbbfc1a1a9f3e}. It is lesser than other processes.
  • The availability of urethane in different textures and easily mixing tints to change colors make colorful designs encouraged this process.
  • There is no need to heat the mixture like the injection molding process, so it is safe to use.

Disadvantages of urethane casting

  • It isn’t easy to get the desired color requirements I urethane casting processes like the amount of color tint and matching of color in another batch. There are always some changes in colors.
  • Silicon mold for urethane casting is easily broken after a few castings. This occurred due to chemical heat generation in molds. To avoid mold from breaking mold release spray is sprayed on it.
  • Moisture in the air can produce defects in surface finishing as chemicals react with water.

Further, urethane casting has an advantage, but some precautions must be taken in the process, and they are listed below.

  • The mixture is reacted to water. A drop of water can spoil the casting process.
  • Chemicals used in urethane are exothermic, so on thickness walls and joint, thick walls cure slower than thin, so be aware when removed from molding.
  • Chemical heats damage the silicone mold, so the cooler spray is required.