Objective of the customer: Quickly assemble some working machines to check the mechanics and perform device functional tests. The design of the device was performed entirely by the customer who provided us with the executive files for production.
Coesum solution: COESUM proposed to make the parts using vacuum casting technology, do to the geometry and the total number of the parts. It is a production process that allows you to have a pre-series of details in plastic with performances and finishes very close to injection molding parts.
Results: The customer was able to have the sampling in the expected times; with the first pieces they carried out assembly tests to verify the validity of the design hypotheses before moving on to production phase. At a later date the prototype machines were used to perform tests in the clinical setting.
The client for this project is a leading company in the production of medical equipment for metabolic diagnostics. The customer independently followed the development of the device from the aesthetic design to the 3d mechanical engineering of all internal components.
The customer’s need was to quickly have a small series of 10 painted machines to carry out tests. At this stage it was not convenient to start production directly with injection molding equipment whose costs would have been impossible. The most suitable technology was the production by vacuum casting; it is an industrial process where the operator’s experience and manual intervention still has a very high value.
The starting point is the construction of a first prototype that is generally realized with rapid prototyping technologies, the most suitable one is certainly the stereolithography (SLA). Another viable solution in addition to stereolithography can be to produce the master of mechanical CNC processing, in this case almost certainly there will be benefits on the precision of the piece but in return a greater cost on production. After the finishing the stereolithography master is housed inside a wooden box in which the silicone is poured.
After the silicone solidifies, the mold is opened manually by the operator who proceeds with the extraction of the master. Afterwards the process continue with the vacuum castings of the chosen material and from here the whole repeats until exhaustion. Generally each mold is suitable for the production of 25 pieces, it depends on the geometry of the piece. This technology uses polyurethane material and it is possible to choose between rigid, semi-rigid and rubber materials.
It is possible to use FAR25, V0 and FDA certified materials as well as produce co-molded parts with plastic and metal, rigid plastic and rubber parts, or metal and rubber parts.
The pieces produced with this process have excellent mechanical and aesthetic performances so as to be comparable to pieces of production from plastic injection. For this reason, if the annual production does not exceed one hundred pieces, this can be used as a process to produce parts to be mounted on machines and devices ready for the market. Subsequent painting, screen-printing and metallization processes can be performed to achieve the required degree of finish. It is also possible to pigment with the transparent material maintaining the effect of translucency. For this specific project the first pieces were used to carry out assembly tests with all the components including the electronics of the device.
Having made these first checks to validate the engineering of the device, we moved on to the functional tests and finally to the execution of clinical tests.
This project is an emblematic case of how rapid prototyping technologies and their like are a valid support in the process of developing a new product. The customer had the opportunity to test the machine by validating the project and drastically reducing the risk of errors in the subsequent stages of industrialization
A new challenge overcome with great satisfaction for a very innovative product of undisputed success.