With the ability to turn CAD models into real molded parts in as little as a day, Protomold’s rapid injection molding service is undeniably fast. Still, the service has never been a cure-all for the long lead time blues because Protomold’s automated tooling and molding systems impose size and geometry limitations that rule out some plastic part designs. Earlier today at the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show in Anaheim, the company literally had some big news about those limitations. According to senior quality engineer Kevin Crystal, Protomold’s rapid injection molding system now accommodates parts with projected areas up to 175 in2, up from 75 in2 in the past. Maximum x-y dimensions have increased to 13.5 x 30.5 inches, subject to that projected area limit. Maximum depth for the large parts is now 3 inches from either side of the parting line, or 6-inches total for parts that can be divided equally between mold halves. Part volume now tops out at 59 in3. Protomold will run the large parts on a newly-acquired 750-ton molding machine. Lead time for the big parts will initially be 15 days.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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