Vacuum casting is the technology we use to produce plastic parts made from high-quality polyurethane in short series – 20-500 pieces in a span of a few days. The main advantage of this approach is the fact that there is no need to produce tools and metal matrices, which is a more expensive and slower process. At the same time vacuum casting contributes to achieving an impeccable outlook for the end product.
The way the items or elements are produced through casting strengthen them and make their properties easy to predict. A broad range of materials is available to satisfy almost every requirement. You can have product resembling ABS, Nylon, PP and other polymers. The products can be flexible, noncombustible, transparent, and so on.
The preparation stage of the vacuum casting process takes a short time, usually about three or four days. On the way to produce the silicon matrix, we first need to 3D print the prototype with the most accurate technology. Here is where we look to achieve the perfect outlook, and optionally the element can be painted or varnished to achieve the desired appearance. This process takes about 2-3 days, and then we start making the matrix, which usually takes another day. So you can get the first 10-15 pieces in less than a week.
Here are the steps required for vacuum casting technology:
1. Preparing a 3D model of the element to be produced (not necessary if you have the physical sample to follow)
2. Printing of the prototype with high quality and outlook (not needed if you have the physical sample to follow)
3. Treatment of the prototype, if required – painting, varnishing, etc., to achieve the desired appearance
4. Pouring the silicone matrix into a special machine
5. Pouring the polyurethane into the silicone matrix in a special machine in which it solidifies
6. There is an optional over-molding of inserts and pins, other materials like rubber might be added too.
From one matrix, depending on the element, 10 to 30 pieces can be produced before it starts degrading. Usually, once we have it, we can immediately start pouring the details into it, and for one day we can provide around 10-15 pieces. If more details are needed in a short time, we can always start the production with more than one matrix.