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Prototyping Vacuum Forming Tools Quickly
High quality prototype molds for custom thermoform packaging made 60% faster.
Thermoforming is a collection of manufacturing methods that heat and form sheets of extruded plastic. Thermoforming processes include: drape, vacuum and pressure forming. Today, packaging is the leading application for vacuum forming. Consumers see it everywhere from the plastic coffee lid on their morning cup of java to the clear plastic box their sandwich at lunch was delivered in. And, although thermoforming is most often used when manufacturing packaging items, the cost and time saving advantages are realized in a broad spectrum of products in an equally diverse range of industries.
Founded in 1993, the LINDAR Corporation stands on principles of innovation and resourcefulness. This plastics thermoforming company proudly serves customers in food packaging, paint sundry, medical and custom OEM markets. They offer a broad range of services including: product/tool design, high capacity product manufacturing, secondary operations, fabricating and assembly.
Upon recommendation by one of their best customers, LINDAR turned to RedEye On Demand to create quick, cost-effective thermoform packaging prototypes. Find out how the team at RedEye saved them time and cut costs while delivering a high quality tool.
Doing more in a shorter period of time is something many businesses are faced with today. In order to keep their competitive edge and satisfy customers, LINDAR needed to reduce turnaround time of their thermoform prototypes. Additionally, they were neither satisfied with the end product or the level of service other agencies had provided.
LINDAR was excited to try RedEye's Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology for creating new packaging thermoform prototypes because the LINDAR team had tried Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) prototypes in the past, but they were brittle. "Ninety percent of our packaging projects require the use of hinges. RedEye's FDM technology allows us to create functional thermoform molds where other technologies fail," says the LINDAR team.
Another advantage of using RedEye's technology is the tools created are inherently porous, which is beneficial when vacuum forming because it can eliminate the need for vacuum holes (small vents in the tool). This unique property, a result of modified build parameters, is essential to thermoform a prototype part with good detail because all air must be removed during the forming cycle. If air becomes trapped between the sheet stock and the tool surface (in corners for example), the part is not formed correctly. The quantity and placement of the vents directly affect the quality of the formed part. Vent placement also affects the cycle time of the forming process. At RedEye, this porosity is designed into the rapid prototype, eliminating the need to locate and drill vent holes completely. RedEye tools offer excellent feature detail and fast vacuum cycles while eliminating the labor and time related to drilling vents.
In addition to producing a quality thermoforming tool, service providers need to complete design revisions and form parts in just a few days. Ultimately, they needed a service provider that could react in timeframes that are continually compressed. The LINDAR team says, "Our customers want to have concepts designed and thermoformed for review as fast as possible."
So, when one of their best customers requested RedEye service they agreed to give it a try.
The LINDAR Corporation was able to offer their customer an innovative solution that was appropriate for their company and its objectives. "By using RedEye, we have reduced our thermoform prototyping time by 60%," stated the LINDAR team.
Applying the technology at RedEye to the creation of vacuum forming tools offers many advantages: eliminating the time and labor required of machined tools - CAM programming, set-up and operation, as well as eliminating vacuum hole drilling. RedEye expedites the vacuum forming process while decreasing costs and time constraints.
The technology offered at RedEye has streamlined LINDAR's rapid tooling process. Combining the advantages of the 3-D CAD and FDM technology, vacuum forming can be completed quickly, efficiently and cost effectively.
"RedEye On Demand exceeded our expectations without exception. We are happy to have chosen RedEye as our digital manufacturer of thermoform prototypes," says the LINDAR team.
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