What is rapid tooling(RT)?
Rapid tooling is the result of combining Rapid Prototyping techniques with conventional tooling practices to product parts of a functional nature from electronic CAD data in less time and at a lower cost relative to traditional machining methods.
In other words, Rapid Tooling is defined as any tooling process that is linked to rapid prototyping technology.
Needs for Rapid Tooling
1.Rapid change of Market Requirement
The market of nowadays is changing so fast that the life of the product is getting shorter and shorter. People are expecting more fashionable and higher quality products of fast delivery but not necessarily long lasting.In other words, the manufacturers need to shorten the prodcut development cycle and at the same time reduce the tooling cost due to the short product life. conventional tooling method takes too much time and too costly. In order to remain the cutting edge competitive power, there is an urgent need for the manufacturers to exploit the Rapid Tooling Technology.
2. Seeking improvement for Productivity
Today's competition is getting more and more acute. Manufacturers can only survive by cutting dow the cost or improving the profit margin.Conventional tooling method takes too much time and is too costly. Only when the production quantity is massive that the expensive tooling cost can be well justified. As a result, the way of how to produce tooling quicker and more economically especially for small batch production becomes a big issue.
3. Labour Resouce Shortage
Making tooling in conventional way requires lot of skillful technicians and craftsment,such as CNC machine programmer, fitters and machinists. Furthermore, as the design of the tooling are getting more complex, the skill level of the technical man requires even higher. A solution to this is to integrate the old and new technologies in making tooling in a faster rate, the technologies that less rely on skillful people with more consistent quality and faster throughput.
Summing up the above reasons and together with the technology breake through in the Rapid Prototyping Technology, the Rapid Tooling Technology is born.