Once the designs have been finalised, Rototek can supervise the toolmaking process ensuring the final moulds meet the specification required. Depending on the nature of the final part, Rototek can supply cast aluminium moulds, CNC aluminium moulds or fabricated moulds in sheet steel.
There are three main tooling routes available during the development of a new rotationally moulded product. All three have their own advantages and it’s important that the type of tooling required is considered early on in the project. We’ve developed good relationships with a number of toolmakers and will manage the whole tooling process for you.
Sheet Steel Tooling
Sheet steel tooling is typically suited to products of relatively simple form and limited intricate detail. The cost is lower than other tooling options. Sheet steel tools are usually formed using either traditional metalworking techniques or laser cutting and CNC forming equipment, before being fabricated. The ability to apply surface textures is limited but options are available. High polished finishes can be achieved. Examples of products that are often produced using sheet steel tools are tanks, water butts and planters.
Cast Aluminium Tooling
Cast tools require a pattern to be produced in the shape of the finished product before impressions are created to replicate the required tooling detail. The impressions are then used as patterns in the casting process. The cast tooling process involves a number of stages and this provides the opportunity to view patterns before committing to finished tools. When patterns are developed a shrinkage rate is introduced to ensure that the finished product is moulded to the correct size. The ability to produce multiple tools from a single pattern is an advantage for products where high production volumes are predicted.
There is large range of surface finishes available for cast tooling. Tooling costs are higher than sheet steel but the ability to produce complex forms with attractive surfaces makes cast tooling a good option for products that are seen and interacted with. Examples of products produced from cast tools range from furniture to street recycling units.
CNC Machined Tooling
CNC machined tools are machined from blocks of aluminium. They can be created using CAD data and do not require patterns to be produced. They are ideally suited to products where high accuracy is paramount. This might be because the product is part of an assembly and has to fit components manufactured using other processes. The surface finish and joint lines are superior to those achievable using other tooling methods. CNC machined tools are the most expensive, however, but the complexity of form and detail that can be achieved is high. The ability to produce tools very quickly is also appealing when product development timescales are tight. Examples of products suited to CNC tooling are small intricate parts which are too small for cast aluminium or highly complex and demanding tooling.
Please feel free to call and discuss new work with us and we will be happy to advise the in the design and manufacture of your rotational mouldings.