What Is Rapid Prototyping?

August 31, 2011 by  Filed under: Branding 

Rapid prototyping is a term commonly used to describe additive layer fabrication nowadays, but it also encompasses subtractive manufacturing, i..e. machining of metals and plastics, and rapid sheet metal fabrication. Prototypes are then used for demonstration, evaluation, or testing. Rapid sheet metal fabrication is usually accomplished by a series of processes done in-house for maximum quality control as well as consistent flow throughout the manufacturing process. In deserving of the term “rapid prototyping”, sheet metal manufacturers should be able to quote jobs in hours, not days. CAD (computer aided design) files are three dimensional representations of the finished jobs, which allow the engineers of a manufacturing plant to quickly unfold them and program them within a day to get them out to the floor. Parts of similar material type and thickness are often “nested” on a single full sheet of metal, which is then processed in the fastest manner possible. Combination machines, like the Amada LC-C1, greatly increase productivity here, as they are able to countersink, tap, louver, bend, and laser cut the sheets, reducing man hours considerably while running 24 hours a day. After that, it’s a quick trip through the deburring, bending, hardware, welding, grinding, plating and/or painting or powder coating departments, then assembled, packaged, and on its way to the customer. Waiting for delivery trucks to arrive is unusual, and an obviously non beneficial use of time. This is why many sheet metal and machining rapid prototypers wield their own arsenal of trucks and drivers.

So all in all, a rapid prototyping service provides quality parts extremely quickly, as it’s understood the customer doesn’t have time for a rejected part to be remade. Doing all processes in house is critical to the rapidity of prototyping, and customers should receive their parts in a single day, if necessary, with the only limiting factor being the distance to travel for delivery.

Prototek is one such business, implementing the latest of manufacturing technology to lessen lead times and increase quality. We have included two Amada LC-C1 punch/laser combination cells, an Amada Pulsar laser capable of cutting.010″ to.500″ metals, 3 Time-Saver grainers, 8 Amada brakes, 4 PEM hardware installers, full paint and powder booths, chromating and anodizing tanks, and full assembly department. We also implement a scanning process, where parts are monitored by the foreman and production manager via the server, which allows them to check on any job, anywhere in the shop. Prototek is proud to be the fastest sheet metal and machining rapid prototypers in the country, and possibly the world. Prototek is family run, and much of the staff consists of the original Prototek team from the beginning in 1987, as well as an additional 50 specialists in their field.

Article Source:
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