Does Rapid Tooling Have a Future?

image-description

Some believe it does not. Indeed, the group of methods and technologies loosely labeled as “rapid tooling” has struggled. Several are on “life-support” while others have all but disappeared. Still others have remained in the R&D phase and may never become commercially available.

Not all is dismal, however. Some of the companies that offer direct metal deposition are doing fine. One of the advantages of direct metal is the production of high-performance tooling using copper alloy cores and hard mold surfaces. Ford has sputtered with its Sprayform process, but Praxair is moving it ahead impressively. RSP Tooling, with its steel spray process, has received strong backing from Belcan Corp. and is on track, especially for forging and die cast tooling.

So, be careful not to conclude that rapid tooling may never meet expectations. It is true that CNC machined tooling has improved dramatically over the past few years, but don’t rule out some of the unconventional approaches to toolmaking, especially for niche applications. There’s riches in niches.

Related Posts

ASTM International Acquires Global Additive Manufacturing Intelligence Leader Wohlers Associates

November 15, 2021

W. CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa., Nov. 15, 2021 — Today, global standards organization ASTM International announced the acquisition of Wohlers Associates, a global…

Rapid Prototyping: State of the Industry 1993

May 30, 1993

Published as part of SME’s Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing ’93 Conference Proceedings Rapid prototyping (RP) systems offer a wealth of…

Rapid Prototyping: State of the Industry 1994

May 30, 1994

Published in RPA/SME’s Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing ’94 Conference Proceedings Copyright 1994 by Wohlers Associates The rapid prototyping (RP) industry…

Learn more about ASTM and AM CoE

ASTM unites with the Wohlers brand to build on its market influence and access to top AM industry decision-makers worldwide.

  • Establish standards, certification, and qualification for repeatable, consistent parts and processes
  • Prevent gaps and duplication of work in a dynamic, fast-paced technology space
  • Identify challenges that can be solved with technological improvement

Research and Development

Under the leadership of the R&D team, the AM CoE partners plan and conduct coordinated R&D projects, prioritized annually and targeted to expedite...

Learn More

Education and Workforce Development

Provide a comprehensive program that educates and trains the additive manufacturing workforce at all levels, while continually incorporating new advances...

Learn More