RTV or Room Temperature Vulcanizing, in the simplest terms, describes how rubber becomes solid, but it is also a rapid tooling method that designers can use to make modeling and testing of new components much easier.
Many engineers also see RTV molding as a bridge between the prototyping and final tooling stages of product development, especially when a finished product requires the use of expensive materials. If you can test with inexpensive materials or use small quantities, the project becomes faster and the cost will drop.
Additional benefits of RTV molding as a prototyping tool include the following:
Reduced investment – RTV molds can save anywhere from 50 to 80 percent compared to an injection mold process. A $10,000 mold made from aluminum is now $2,000 to $5,000. Fitting an engineering budget will make a designer’s ears perk up, especially when working with a low-quantity product.
Flexible design – As customer requirements grow increasingly complex, the molds needed to produce desired parts are only becoming more expensive. Since RTV tools are made from soft silicon materials, adding complexity does not add cost as fast as a rigid steel tool.
Design changes made easy – Nothing is ever perfect on the first try, and with steel injection molds, change isn’t easy. As we already covered, the molds themselves are expensive to produce and the amount of time needed to create new molds is significant. RTV molding makes changes in design happen with little disruption to production and is also much less expensive. And those changes will happen faster.
Reduced risk – A lower initial investment and the use of time-saving rapid prototyping gives designers and OEMs more time to test the product and gauge demand before making a full commitment to production. These are two very good things to keep in mind.
RTV molding is a less expensive, more accurate and very flexible way to take products from conception to creation. This is also a great low volume molding option to injection molding. When money matters it can provide a means for line extension or redesigns to meet customer demands quickly. Contact Product Development Solutions today to find out if RTV molding is the best rapid prototyping technology for your next project.