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A New Vacuum Casting Process Reduces Time and Cost for Prototypes and Short Runs in Nylon PA6

03-19-2009 05:38 PM CET | Industry, Real Estate & Construction

Press release from: MTT Technologies Group

Using a new rapid manufacturing process, MTT Technologies, formerly MCP Group Tooling Technologies utilises all the advantages of their RTV silicone mould MTT Vacuum Casting Process for producing prototypes, short and pre-series runs in Polyamide - Nylon PA6 ( Dimensional accuracy and the material properties of nylon parts produced with MTT Nylon Vacuum Casting correspond fully to the requirements of production components, whereby costly and time intensive hard tooling for injection moulding is not required.

A further advantage: using silicone moulds (which are generally produced within 12 hours) with the nylon casting equipment enables the most complex of nylon parts to be produced in a cycle time of only 6 minutes, even with internal undercuts.

Getting from the product idea to a durable production part still takes far too long using traditional hard tooling methods. The main reason: the properties of prototyping materials are in most cases not up to real production requirements. Even when the "touch, feel, fit and function" properties of prototypes are acceptable, in many cases the original, specified materials, are required to fulfil all tests. A rapid manufacturing process such as nylon vacuum casting which produces accurate thermoplastic parts in original production materials is the perfect solution. One of the most popular production materials - with increasing tendency, is polyamide (Nylon), in particular the group PA6. The properties and durability of nylon injection moulded parts are so convincing that the material is used today in all areas of industry and in all walks of life, for example for fixtures, containers, housings, pipes, automotive inlet manifolds, gears and living hinges etc. etc.

Looking at this tremendous usage of polyamides and the fact that the development of nylon production parts always requires expensive, machined prototype tooling it is evident that with MTT Nylon Vacuum Casting a multi million rationalisation method is imminent. Further, MTT Vacuum Cast Nylon PA6 parts are suitable for welding and bonding. Long term testing, by a German car manufacturer, shows that vacuum cast Nylon (mouldings) have advantages over nylon parts produced with other rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing processes which sinter Nylon powder, particularly regarding material density and weldability and tensile strength, which is the main competitive advantage for the MTT System.

The equipment operates on the principals of standard vacuum casting machines which utilises silicone tooling and a PLC controller to control the mixing and casting of the vacuum resins to produce multiples of touch, fit, feel and function parts. With the Nylon Casting process a purpose designed Nylon dispensing module is fitted to control all casting parameters to produce complex exact prototypes and pre-series runs in production Nylon PA6 without hard tooling. The cycle time is only 6 minutes, much shorter than with the regular vacuum casting process which has cycle times of 15-30 minutes .

Time and cost intensive machined injection tooling for producing prototypes is no longer required. For producing nylon casting moulds, users can apply the standard MTT Silicone Tooling Technology, with which a completely new rapid manufacturing process is made available. This enables quick realisation and manufacture, as long as a pattern or RP (Rapid Prototyping) model is available, of nylon parts identical to the production parts within one, or, depending on size, two days. Based on over 20 years of vacuum casting technology, MTT Technologies can confirm cost and time savings of up to 97% when compared to traditional mould making methods using metal tooling to produce prototypes in original materials. The cast mouldings produced in Nylon are convincingly tough and rigid, have excellent mechanical properties, wear and chemical resistance! Lightness in weight is another attribute making nylon components an acceptable substitute for metals, aluminium particularly, since three completely different nylon materials are available, with flexural modular ratings ranging from 700 through 1000 to 2000 MPa. Further, all materials can be colour matched using master batch. The maximum size of mould which can be used in the Nylon vacuum casting machine is 750 mm H x 900 mm W x 750 mm D. The maximum casting capacity of the MTT Nylon Casting Module is 5kg. This is large enough to include the majority of parts which are produced internationally using nylon. Whether MTT will be supplying equipment for larger parts is not a question of feasibility, but one of actual requirement for larger components. The world's largest machines are available for the standard MTT Vacuum Casting Process with 4m“ mould size and 26 kg casting capacity, for example for producing prototype bumpers and dashboards.

More Information:

Author: Ronald Simmonds, MTT Technologies Group, formerly MCP-Group

MTT Technologies, formerly MCP Group, has had more than 50 years experience in designing and supplying process technologies, equipment and proprietary materials foremost to the aircraft and automotive industry; workholding and material solutions for machining turbine blades and optical lenses; prototype sheet metal forming systems; metal spray mould processes for plastics tooling. One of the most popular processes is MCP now MTT Vacuum Casting which was introduced as the very first supplier long ago as 1987. MCP now MTT Vacuum Casting enables high quality low volume production of plastic and nylon parts and wax parts for metal prototyping. With over 1500 installations worldwide in the prototyping industry, MCP now MTT is recognised the state of the art supplier with the leading technology. Further interesting products, facts and information. Purpose built, injection moulding machines for prototyping requirement: Silicone, soft tooling technology. 2002: MCP receives the highly regarded TÜV Rheinland certification for vacuum casting machines and is the only manufacturer to supply vacuum casting equipment with the very highest international safety rating: TÜV GS Rheinland, VDE, CE and DIN ISO 9001. 2002: The introduction of the MCP - Realizer SLM using Selective Laser Melting Technology which builds Tools and single individual engineering and implant parts in pure, dense steel cobalt - chrome and titanium from CAD data files.

Going back as long as 25 years, all MCP now MTT processes have been sold and supplied worldwide with comprehensive hands-on training course in mould and prototype production through MCP's own technicians. See our reference list.

2008 - After merging the MCP Group and Sidech SA the independent MTT Technologies Group was founded. This Technology Group continues to produce and develop the various tooling technologies as well as the new Selective Laser Melting Technology via factories in Germany and UK as well as a global distributor network.

MTT supplies the Full Service Supplier
the widest range of machines, mould making and casting materials, tools and accessories, complete customer training - worldwide. MTT Tooling and Casting Technologies guarantee the quickest return on investment.

MTT Technologies Ltd.
Whitebridge Way, Whitebridge Park, Stone,
Staffordshire ST15 8LQ.
Tel: +44 (0)1785 815651
Fax: +44 (0)1785 812115


MTT Technologies GmbH
Roggenhorster Strasse 9 c
D- 23556 Lübeck
Tel. +49 451/16082- 0
Fax.+49 451/16082 - 250

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