June 2018 Newsletter No Images? Click here

A few words from Tim...

Welcome to a scorcher of a newsletter that's matching the weather at the moment! Hope you enjoy this month's articles as much as we're enjoying the sunshine :)

This month we're looking at compression moulding and extrusion, and the options for prototyping within them.

Tim Plunkett

Compression moulding and extrusion are two traditional manufacturing processes which seem to be talked about less frequently these days within our 'additive world', and yet we find they can be really useful for specific requirements and can even be tailored to suit prototyping quantities.  

If you are unsure whether a process will suit your project, we urge you, get in touch with us sooner rather than later before the design is fixed and it's too far down the track to change, as this could limit your options and lead to uneccessary disappointment.

So give us a call, we are happy to advise and support, and remain as always, at your service.

Plunkett Associates
Compression moulding

Talking Compression Moulding...

Compression Moulding  is a great process that is commonly used for thermoset materials.

One of the primary benefits of compression moulding is the large range of flexible materials that can be moulded; these include Neoprene, Nitrile, EPDM, Fluroelastomers and Silicone rubbers as well as loaded ESD and conductive materials.

It is possible to mould parts throughout the majority of the IRHD or Shore A range of hardness, and in a range of clear and opaque colours.


Extrusion and short batch prototyping...

Extrusion is a manufacturing method where long lengths of the same cross section can be produced quickly and repeatedly.

It can be a highly economical method of manufacture even when some post machining is required to add fixing points, threads or access panels.

Whilst there is tooling involved, it is not in the same league as injection mould tooling, being simpler to manufacture and lower cost, and so we are able to produce low volume quantities of parts extruded in short lead times and at relatively low cost.

Prototyping short batches can be an issue however, as extruders are loath to set up for small batch work, especially in unusual materials. To circumvent this there is frequently a setup charge or the job is costed on a time basis, both of which can make short runs expensive.

However there are ways around this!


Why outsource new product development?

The benefits of outsourcing new product development are pretty obvious for smaller businesses, which very often just don’t have the time, resources or manpower to be able to take a product from initial concept to prototyping and onto production. But are there any benefits for much larger companies, and if so, what?

One would assume larger organisations have the resources and know-how to be able to facilitate getting a new project in motion. And more often than not, they do, but it is often a question of how effective this is, or, is it more appropriate, or indeed a more cost effective use of time, to outsource the management of projects?

3D Printed smart gel

3D Printed smart gel walks underwater...

Engineers in America at Rutgers University - New Brunswick, have created a human like, 3D printed smart gel that can move about underwater.

Although only about one inch high, the form can walk underwater, grab objects and move them.

During the 3D printing process, light is projected onto a light sensitive solution that then turns into a gel. This is then placed in a saltwater solution and electricity applied to trigger the motions of walking forwards, backwards and grabbing and moving objects. 


If you have a project in mind, or would like more information, contact us and we will be pleased to help.

01452 386608