Low-volume manufacturing can be accomplished by different parts of machining techniques, CNC machining, 3D printing, vacuum casting, and rapid tooling. From prototype machining to mass production, it is a bridge and supplement. Consumers demand more goods that are personalized and diversified than ever before. Flexible innovation and time-to-market are key to their strategy through the shortening of the product life cycle and the shortening of the new product release cycle. Product design evolves quickly, powered by these factors, and product developers turn their focus from large-scale production to low-volume manufacturing.
Low-volume manufacturing is a bridge that connects mass production and prototyping and ensures that the transition is as seamless as possible from the first one to the second. A high level of competence, expertise, and precision is required to incorporate low volume manufacturing technologies with high repeatability and performance. To reach the market effectively, the development process is a dynamic undertaking that requires design, verification, and quality improvement. Through the low-volume manufacturing service, the company will supply hundreds of thousands of components to individuals so that they can sell their products. Companies suggest one of the prototyping services if individuals only need a few Prototyping Plastic Parts.
Advantages of Low Volume Manufacturing:
- Low-Volume Manufacturing gives businesses versatility in design: low-volume manufacturing, rapid prototyping, and 3D printing are all fantastic choices that offer flexibility in design that cannot be matched by mass production. Since goods are made in smaller quantities, if a company wishes to change the design, it does not significantly affect the entire order. This provides enterprises with peace of mind and the choice of perfecting the product until it faces the consumer.
- Low-Volume Manufacturing allows a quicker time to market: Being the first to market with a new product can be the differentiating factor between success and failure as product markets become flooded with competition. This high level of competition, combined with a fickle market, is leading to growing pressure on developers and designers to continually deliver high-quality, unique products in the shortest possible time. Lead times are also shorter with manufacturing support and supply chains designed for low volumes, enabling goods to reach shelves days, weeks, or months quicker than conventional manufacturing methods.
- Low-Volume offers a Bridge Manufacturing Option: Even though a company wants to move into mass production, low-volume production can be used between the prototyping and full-scale production stages for bridge production or bridge tooling. For this reason, many businesses want to use low-volume manufacturing as it brings goods to the market faster and allows businesses to manufacture innovations that they would not otherwise be able to develop because of the high operating costs and mass production time. This is a great opportunity for businesses to streamline best practices and achieve more cost savings, all while enhancing product quality, as volumes grow gradually.
Low Volume Manufacturing Process:
- Production of Aluminum Molding: An approach to conventional injection molding is the Aluminum molding Technique. Next, a CNC machine needs to be used to create an injection mold. Like in Vacuum Casting, to determine the shape of the used mold and finally of the manufactured product, a master model is needed. The mold content is the main difference; the mold is made of silicone in Vacuum Casting and it consists of aluminum in Aluminum molding. This technique may have different advantages in pre-mass production, depending on the final shape of the item. The aluminum mold is a lot more robust and durable compared to the silicone mold. Its production quantity may vary from 1,000 to 5,000 units depending on the scale, the material used, and the object's necessary pressure. Aluminum is a more effective material for mold than industrial steel due to its density advantage.
- Production with vacuum casting: In general, vacuum casting means that an object is modeled in a silicone mold using its surface. In a closed area, the desired shape is positioned and then a liquid molding material such as silicone is applied around the piece. The object may be detached after the mold becomes more solid, while the molding material retains its shape. The negative or hollow space of the master model is then left. Now, to reproduce the shape, the created negative of the object can be filled with casting material. People can print the master necessary for silicon molding with a 3D printer or build it with machines using the CNC technique. While it can take time to build a master model, Vacuum Casting may save a significant amount of time during the production process. After the silicone mold has been made, it can be reused to reproduce between 20 and 30 times the shape of the master model.
- Production with RIM: The engineers manufacture high-quality parts with a wide variety of designs, varying sizes, and overall dominance with Reaction Injection molding. In terms of technical specifics, versatility, and cost-efficiency, RIM is a longer manufacturing process with several advantages. In thermoset processes, the method of Reaction Injection molding utilizes low-viscosity polymers. It begins with a chemical reaction that, after being inserted into a heated mold, causes the enclosed polymers to expand. The shape of the printed product decides the mold itself. The portion cures slowly inside the mold after injection and becomes solid. The curing time varies depending on the part's form, function, and physical details. The engineers will produce the desired shape, density, weight, and solidity of the manufactured object accurately. To produce a wide range of flexible, elastomeric, or solid polyurethane pieces, this process can be chosen.
Not everything in bulk will save people cash, contrary to common opinion. It can be valid for household supplies such as tissue paper, but not for production where each unit's cost depends on the materials used. A less robust material that is more fitting for the low volume production process can be used by people. They will save on expenses and they will still have a high-quality aspect. Moreover, the processing of large quantities requires a minimum order to cover production costs. There is a lower overhead for low volume manufacturing, and they can order any amount of the commodity, saving money in the process.