Vacuum Casting Services
What is Vacuum Casting?
Rapid prototyping is being widely embraced by manufacturing companies to accelerate product development and offer cost-savings and security for mass production. Of the various rapid-prototyping processes, vacuum casting is one of the effective methods for the swift production of high-quality prototypes. A cost-efficient alternative to the conventional injection-moulding process, it uses two components: polyurethane (PU) casting resins and silicone moulds. This produces prototypes and end-use products quickly even when accommodating design changes.
What is the Vacuum Casting Process?
A typical vacuum casting process includes:
- Creation of a Master Pattern
This technique works by first producing a master model. The master model is typically created using Stereolithography (SLA) to achieve high-quality and smooth surface finish.
- Curing Process
Subsequently, a silicone mould is produced by casting silicone around the master model, then placed in a vacuum. The resin will harden while simultaneously removing all of the air bubbles from the material. Finally, this leaves you with a cavity of the perfect representation of the master model to make more copies from.
- Filling the Resin
With the newly created mould, industrial material such as resin can be used to fill the cavity to replicate specific parts. Once the mould is filled, it is placed in a vacuum chamber for end-product creation that is free of air bubbles.
- Final Curing Process
After a final cured stage to ensure strength and material durability, the prototype is removed from the mould to be designed according to the client’s specifications.
Benefits of Vacuum Casting
Known to produce top-quality duplicates with the shortest lead time, vacuum casting allows for the production of infinite parts from a singular cast.
In comparison to injection moulding, the process offers a lower front end cost with a higher unit price, while injection moulding demands a higher front end cost, but a significantly lower unit price. On the other hand, the quality of parts produced by silicone moulding and injection-moulding is comparable.
As a result, the method is suitable for low volume manufacturing of 20 parts or less when injection moulding is not cost-efficient. Its benefits can thus be summarised as follows:
- Top-quality and high precision finished products
- Lower production costs
Relevant to a range of industries such as the F&B industry, packaging, cosmetics, and more, this economical method of product manufacturing is a solution worth considering for rapid prototypes and end-use products.
We use polyurethanes that are similar to rubber (Shore D ranging from 55 to 90, Shore A from 25 to 95).