Andreas Bayer - Expert rapid prototyping

Rapid Prototyping – Future Technology 3D Printing

High-quality plastic parts in a flexible 3D printing process as a fast, cost-effective alternative to the far more complex injection molding process: That’s what rapid prototyping is all about! HK.SYSTEMS uses this innovative additive manufacturing technology in combination with CNC-controlled machines not only for prototypes, but also for the realization of medium and small series.

Why? Well, with rapid prototyping we not only save weight and costs for our customers during the production of various devices and components, but we can also react quickly to changed requirements during the production process, order according to the situation and thus avoid costly stock-keeping. Rapid prototyping enables us to produce high-precision prototypes directly from existing CAD data – faster than ever before. And these prototypes don’t just look like the final products – they work like them, too. Design and function can be optimized quickly and easily in this way.

With injection-molded parts, these options are not available because the entire injection mold has to be modified or even rebuilt at great expense. In the additive manufacturing process, on the other hand, the data set is simply changed and the changes are incorporated in the next batch – and that’s it. Even better: the part price remains the same.

However, we don’t just develop individual parts for our customers’ IoT projects via rapid prototyping: We also manufacture entire complex assemblies with special mechanical properties that can often only be realized by using additive manufacturing methods. In addition, we also create the basis for required PoCs (Proof of Concepts) and for functional samples to test the technical functions of all relevant parts and components.

Rapid Prototyping, Rapid Tooling, Rapid Manufacturing

Rapid prototyping often refers to the functioning interaction of rapid tooling and rapid manufacturing: rapid tooling is the rapid production of tools using the 3D printing process, while rapid manufacturing refers to the production of functioning end products.  

Rapid prototyping technology does not require costly and time-consuming tooling: The same device can be used to create virtually any number of different geometries. Errors and inaccuracies can be easily and quickly identified in the resulting physical models. Another advantage is that quickly created, real models increase the motivation and commitment of employees. They can view and check the models far more precisely and in greater detail than on the screen - the feedback for optimized implementation is correspondingly clearer. The so-called trial-and-error process is therefore much more time-saving, cost-effective and straightforward with the help of rapid prototyping. And last but not least, there is considerably less waste that would be generated by other manufacturing processes such as milling, turning or grinding. This protects the environment, saves resources and eases the burden on budgets.

In conclusion, here are the biggest and most convincing advantages of rapid prototyping technology at a glance:

•	Short production time: only a few days to prototype
•	Sustainability: less material waste
•	Individualization: fast adaptation of 3D data
•	On demand order: short-term + flexible production
•	Implementation of lightweight structures: diverse possibilities
•	Low manufacturing costs: no high tooling costs
•	Freely scalable: complex geometries possible
•	Efficient test methodology: cost-effective, fast test printing

AndreAndreas Bayer from our partner company Hoffmann + Krippner is our expert for additive manufacturing. If you have any questions, he will be happy to answer them: