Rapid tooling is an extension of rapid prototyping. It focuses on fast production of tools for injection molding as well as prototypes or small series made of plastic using injection-molding methods.

Using state-of-the-art HSC technology (high-speed cutting), the shaping tool inserts are milled from aluminum and transferred to our in-house plastic injection-molding shop. In this way, components made from original materials can be produced in the shortest possible time, regardless of whether they are then used as prototype, pre-series or series parts. Precise, fast and cost-effective.

Time-to-market is the key

Our CAD-CAM-based 5-axis milling machines with connected robot handling system make it possible to produce tools via “unmanned” overnight operation. This results in short throughput times and therefore considerable time savings.

The key term here is “time-to-market”. Fast availability and economic efficiency are the main focus. A prerequisite for all parts manufactured with rapid-tooling processes is that they are designed for injection molding from the outset.

Rapid tooling is particularly suitable for product development, ensuring suitability for series production, transferring findings to series production or the manufacture of small series of up to 50,000 parts.

Rapid-tooling injection-molding tool with slides
Complete injection-molding tool with slides
Rapid tooling – mold production
Relentless – our tool production can also run “unmanned” around the clock.
production “unmanned” around the clock
Relentless – our tool production can also run “unmanned” around the clock.
CNC-controlled 5-axis milling machine
In control – CNC-controlled 5-axis milling machines.

1zu1 to the original

By using high-strength aluminum materials and an additional surface coating (with a sufficient ordered quantity), it is possible to produce up to 100,000 components from a single injection-molding tool. EDM, draw-polished or high-gloss finishes are possible. Tool tolerances of less than 0.01 mm can be achieved.

In our adjoining, state-of-the-art injection-molding facility, we can process almost any available thermoplastic material. Depending on the number of pieces, the tools can be designed for manual removal or as a semi-automatic or fully automatic falling-parts version – cost-optimized in accordance with customer/quantity requirements. Complex overmolding and insertion of cables, stamping and bending of parts, and the manufacture of multi-component parts all fall within the scope of our services. Our systems also include horizontally and vertically swiveling machines, which are ideal for these applications. Since 2016, we have also been manufacturing in an ISO-certified Class 8 cleanroom.

We can provide our customers with a compact rapid-tooling package

We start each job with an analysis of the customer’s needs and an in-depth consultation – in order to find the most cost-effective and time-optimized solution for the task at hand. Each quotation includes a simple proposal in the form of a tooling concept.

When an order is placed, we then proceed one step at a time: from design and toolmaking to injection molding in the original material. At 1zu1 Prototypes, when we use the word “rapid”, we really mean it. For simple tooling assignments, our standard service includes creation of the mold and production of the injection-molded parts with a guaranteed lead time of three weeks. Complex orders are completed within a maximum of six weeks. Compared to the production of series tools, these speeds are simply incredible. Please note that only the plastic parts are delivered; the actual tool inserts remain at our company.

Component sizes for rapid tooling

At 1zu1 Prototypes we concentrate on manufacturing components with maximum dimensions that correspond to a projected footprint of around max. DIN A5.

The advantages of rapid tooling at a glance:

  • Tool and molding concept confirmed at the quotation stage
  • Fast tool design in 3D
  • Continuous CAD-CAM connection to our state-of-the-art 5-axis milling centers
  • 24/7 milling via connected robot and unmanned loading of the machining center
  • Costs for the forming parts are charged pro rata for the mold construction
  • Extremely cost-effective solution for small-series production (inexpensive aluminum tools)
  • In-house production of injection-molded parts in original material at 1zu1 Prototypes
  • Profound toolmaking expertise
  • Solutions for multiple components, production with inserts. Cleanroom production in accordance with ISO Class 8
  • Strictest confidentiality ensured
  • Free storage of molded parts for repeat orders
  • On request with initial sample test report based on non-contact analysis using GOM metrology