PrototypingThe extensive use of prototypes help provide valuable feedback and improve end results.
Prototyping of either components or an entire product is a time proven technique to insure the integrity of a design, develop critical feedback and reduce overall time to market. Parts may need to interact with automation equipment, be evaluated in an end use application or simply be used to gain customer feedback. Rehrig Pacific Company deploys a number of prototyping techniques including wood models, computer generated stereo lithography (SLA), cast urethane moldings and many others.
Basic wood models are durable and relatively inexpensive. They would be used where evaluation in an abusive environment is required. (e.g. pallets).
SLA models are very accurate (within .005”) representations of the CAD models. Because of this accuracy, this is the most expensive prototyping option. These are used when appearance is of utmost importance. They also can be used to evaluate moving or multiple part assemblies. However, the resulting models are very fragile.
An SLA model can be used to fabricate a silicone mold in which urethane parts can be made. These urethane parts are generally much more durable than their SLA counterparts. The silicone mold is even capable of a short production run of 20-25 parts.
SLS models, while slightly less accurate than SLA’s offer more durability at the sacrifice of appearance, having a slightly grainy surface texture similar to a sugar cube. The SLS process is often used for building spring and hinge assemblies, where repeated cycling is needed.
Rehrig Pacific Company’s extensive experience with various prototyping processes, as well as their vendor network, is ready to provide our customers with the prototyping option that best meets their needs.