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Rapid prototyping gets even faster

06 July, 2010

Plastics expert igus has introduced a raid prototyping service that can deliver custom-designed plastic parts with 24 hours. The speedigus service is based on a new tooling method for injection moulding, combined with specially developed software.

“Standard tool manufacturing can take 4–8 weeks and is normally only available for minimum orders of around 5,000 pieces,” explains igus UK director, Matt Aldridge, “but with speedigus, you can get a single part in just one day.”

He believes that the service “bridges the gap between customised parts and mass production” and predicts that it is “going to have a big impact”.

The parts can be produced in eight of the company’s iglidur plastic materials, as well as its energy chain material. An online tool helps customers to choose the most suitable material for their application.

The parts are produced from 3D CAD files supplied by the customer. The standard tooling lead time is 15 days, with tooling charges (in the UK) starting at £1,000 and unit part costs starting at 10p, depending on their complexity. To obtain parts in less than 24 hours, there is a premium of around 250%.

There are no minimum order quantities, making the service ideal for producing prototypes, or for volumes up to a few thousand parts. The parts must be no larger than 475 x 750 x 200mm and have wall thicknesses of at least 0.5mm.

Because the plastic materials are maintenance- and lubricant-free and have low coefficients of friction, many of the speedigus parts are expected to be used as bearings.

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