In today’s manufacturing technology, rapid tooling has become a more popular way for companies to create tools, molds, or prototypes for their products. But, is it better than the conventional tooling method?
In this guide, you will learn about the key differences between rapid tooling and conventional tooling and how rapid tooling can be better than conventional tooling.
What is Rapid Tooling and What is Conventional Tooling?
Rapid tooling is a modern manufacturing process that allows you to produce multiple tools or molds at the same time and at a rapid pace, whereas conventional tooling is a traditional manufacturing process that allows you to create molds or tools using the conventional manufacturing method. Both are still in active use in today’s manufacturing industry, and each has their own advantages and limitations.
Rapid tooling is a more recent invention in the manufacturing scene, which allows you to speed up your manufacturing process for various molds, prototypes, tools, and final products using computerized programming.
The Reasons Rapid Tooling is Better than Conventional Tooling
In various aspects, rapid tooling can be better than conventional tooling. This is the reason many companies prefer to use rapid tooling rather than conventional tooling, especially if they are working on simple projects or projects that don’t require complicated requirements.
Here are the reasons rapid tooling is better than conventional tooling:
- Faster manufacturing. With rapid tooling, you can perform any manufacturing production activity faster than the conventional method. The conventional manufacturing method requires you to take detailed steps in each manufacturing process, making it slower for you to complete your manufacturing goals. Rapid tooling, on the other hand, can simplify the manufacturing process and eliminate unnecessary manufacturing steps, allowing you to complete your manufacturing goals faster.
- It can build multiple prototypes at the same time. With rapid prototype tooling, you can build the prototypes for your products faster, and this method also allows you to create multiple prototypes at the same time. You can’t do this with the conventional prototyping or manufacturing method, as it will require you to go through some complicated steps just to create one prototype for your product.
- More cost effective. Rapid tooling can also minimize the costs of your manufacturing production, allowing you to maximize the profits you can get from your manufacturing activities. In contrast, conventional tooling will require you to spend a lot of money from the start, and you will need to keep on spending money during every stage of your manufacturing activities. With rapid tooling, you only need a few thousand dollars to complete your manufacturing project, whereas with conventional tooling, you might need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to achieve the same thing.
- More efficient manufacturing. Another reason rapid tooling is better than conventional tooling is the more efficient manufacturing process it uses. Rapid tooling will bypass various unnecessary steps in manufacturing, and it also uses unified and multi-purpose manufacturing equipment to ensure the best efficiency in your production.
- Simple steps. With conventional tooling, you will need to use different manufacturing equipment for each manufacturing step, which can be very complicated for you to go through from start to finish. Rapid tooling offers a simpler manufacturing process you can complete in just a few steps.
- Computerized process. Rapid tooling uses a computerized and programmable process that allows you to produce prototypes, tools, or molds by using the CAD software. You can program every aspect of your design and manufacturing process via computer programs to automate the manufacturing process and ensure zero to minimal errors during production. Meanwhile, conventional tooling uses very little computerization and often still uses manual methods to create your prototypes, tools, or molds.
- It is multi-purpose. The equipment used in the rapid tooling process is multi-purpose, meaning you can use it to create prototypes, molds, tools, or even produce the final products. Meanwhile, with conventional tooling, there will be different equipment you need to use to create prototypes, tools, molds, or final products. So, it can give you a lot of hassles during your production activities.
Key Differences between Rapid Tooling and Conventional Tooling
Rapid tooling has revolutionized how manufacturers can produce prototypes, molds, tools, and final products at a rapid pace. This method has replaced the need for manufacturers to use the conventional tooling method in most of their production activities.
Here are some key differences between rapid tooling and conventional tooling:
- Product quality. Because of the nature of the rapid tooling process, you will often get less durable products when compared to the conventional tooling process. Conventional tooling will allow you to produce more durable products that can last for a long time.
- Accuracy and precision. The computerized and programmable process of rapid tooling allows you to create products with more accuracy and precision, even when you build products with complex geometric designs. Meanwhile, conventional tooling might not be able to provide the best accuracy and precision for the products you are building, which is the reason it’s only best for products with simple designs.
- Manufacturing time completion. As a rapid manufacturing process, rapid tooling can provide faster manufacturing time completion compared to conventional tooling. You can use rapid tooling if you are on a tight deadline. Meanwhile, conventional tooling will require you to wait for weeks and months just to get your products ready.
- Number of equipment. Rapid tooling uses the integrated manufacturing equipment that allows you to make multiple tools or prototypes at the same time using the same equipment. Meanwhile, conventional tooling uses separate equipment for each tooling or prototyping step you will need to go through in your manufacturing production.
- Automation vs manual method. Rapid tooling uses semi-automation or even full automation in its production process, meaning that you can automate this process fully using computerized programs. Meanwhile, conventional tooling relies on manual labor to complete each prototyping or tooling process, which means you need to pay for more workers if you intend to use conventional tooling in your production.
- Modern vs. traditional manufacturing production. Rapid tooling is a modern manufacturing method, whereas conventional tooling is a traditional manufacturing method. They both work to achieve the same goals, but they use different manufacturing processes to do so.
For today’s manufacturing standards, rapid tooling can be a more preferable way for businesses to get their projects done faster. However, it doesn’t mean that conventional tooling becomes obsolete or unusable.
Conventional tooling can still provide various advantages in certain projects, such as the manufacturing of larger products with larger dimensions.