Rapid Product
Development III








Rapid Manufacturing is a new area of manufacturing developed from a family of technologies known by a broad term including the use of (RP) rapid prototyping, (RT) rapid tooling, and the direct use of layer manufacturing technologies to produce final products rapidly.

RM processes have previously produced the achievement of equally improving products and reducing their development time; resulting in the development of the Rapid Tooling technologies, which improved its own processes implementing Rapid Prototyping techniques.

Rapid Manufacturing technology allows manufacturers to create products without tools, furthermore enables previously impossible geometries to be made. It is economically realistic to use existing commercial Rapid Prototyping systems to manufacture series parts in quantities of up to 25,000 and tailored parts in quantities from one-off to hundreds of thousands.

This kind of manufacturing can be extremely cost-effective and the process is significantly more flexible than conventional manufacturing. Rapid Manufacturing is an innovative Industrial Revolution for the digital era that provides excellent advances in the manufacturing industry in emerging research and development in product design and materials science, as well as in manufacturing engineering, CAD/CAM and manufacturing process.




Rapid Manufacturing uses technologies originally developed for Rapid Prototyping. Existing RP technologies are far from ideal, as the processes have not been developed or optimised for production manufacture. New research projects are developing dedicated Rapid Manufacturing technologies using a range of new and emerging materials.

Design for Rapid Manufacture

Researches are implementing new design protocols and working methodologies to increase the maximum benefit of part production using layer-wise manufacturing.

One of the most important emerging technologies that will drive the future manufacturing is rapid Manufacturing (RM). Using Additive Layer Manufacturing technologies such as Laser Sintering, Laser Consolidation and even Stereolithography and manufacture end-use component parts straight from 3D CAD-to-part represents the most important principle of RM.

Tooling elimination is another of most notable advantages of RM. Eliminating the constraints of tooling, RM provides manufacturers the ability to produce cost-effective lots of one-off parts, and multiple product design iterations at no additional cost. RM has now become a typical manufacturing process for some polymer and metal-based components, being cost effective the manufacture of tens of thousands of polymer parts.

Due to RM uses layer logic manufacturing, components can be manufactured with no split lines, or with complex internal and re-entrant features reducing manufacturing and assembly costs.

Significant time and costs can be saved when compared to traditional manufacturing.



The advent of Rapid Manufacturing will generate deep transformation on existing supply chains. The transfer and manipulation of electronic data will characterize manufacture and no longer constrained by the availability and location of tooling.

RM also comprises the quick fabrication of the tools required for mass production, such as specially shaped moulds, dies, and jigs. Many different layer-manufacturing processes have been developed, using an increasing range of materials. The parts produced have progressively increasing size and durability, as the quality has improved.

Layer manufacturing is being used frequently to fabricate the parts both for production tools and functional prototypes. The application of layer manufacturing to make the components used in production is designed by Rapid Tooling (RT), which has been largely employed for injection moulding, investment casting, and mould casting processes.



Addictive production offers the potential of using multiples material as well as to control the located intermediate geometry - and micro-structure of a piece.

This means that can be improved the functionality of a part in ways that were previously impossible with existent industrial methods.

Materials can be selected designed for the mechanical properties, thermal, optical or others, and then they can even be deposited precisely just to certain point physically, improving or changing those properties besides the capacity of the own inherent material.

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Rapid Manufacturing uses technologies originally developed for Rapid Prototyping.

Existing RP technologies are far from ideal, as the processes have not been developed or optimised for production manufacture. New research projects are developing dedicated Rapid Manufacturing technologies using a range of new and emerging materials.

There is about of some dozens of materials of RP/RM commercially available today, understanding all the classes of materials as plastics, metals and ceramic. In contrast, a database of selection of existent plastics lists more than 40,000 active graduations exclusively in plastics. Materials recycled compounds can be difficultly or impossible of using.



CAD-CAM drives all the addictive production directly into processes, while turning theoretically possible to avoid completely the tooling use.

In practice, it cannot still be possible frequently because processes and materials limitations of one type or other, but the technology of complementary rapid tooling can present a beneficial commitment. However, when possible, the complete elimination of tooling applications results in enormous savings of time and money.

It turns possible to manufacture parts and products in small amounts, or using materials and design parameters that could be inconceivable.




Fundamental advantages and disadvantages of rapid prototyping and/or simulation on rapid manufacture (RM):

We should balance the benefits of RM against current significant limitations. Unless there are imminent needs for a specific advantage that RM provides, the balance frequently favours a conventional approach. However, with technical problems solved in a lot of fronts the balance leans more frequently in favour of RM.

Although it should be recognized the rapid prototyping can be a rapid solution for the industrial development of a product and production tools, or to test the design, mechanism or marketing. However per times it should be opted for the virtual prototyping, where a wide range of products can be studied and verified with reduced costs, and/or simulation or advanced simulation where components can be evaluated, and simulated in every conditions, including materials and processes.



The production speed compared to standard industrial methods is slower. For some estimates, existent methods of mass production are faster 10 to 1,000 times. The finishing and precision as well cannot attain the same level of the conventional technology.

Secondary operations are also requested, as removal of supports and manual finishing. In a production situation where multiple parts are manufactured, it can add secondary operations and origin addition of time. There are still current limitations of dimensions of pieces that are more restrictive than in the standard methods.

However these processes are incomparable for the production of small series, as in the case of tools for health care, dental, the one-off products industry, small line products, tailored products, etc.



Faster to Market: The New Best Practices - Ten years ago time to market new vehicles industry designs were from 60 months to now 18 to 24 months.

Better management focus, better concurrent engineering practices and standards for design, virtual prototype and validation. Better collaboration and information technologies, simulation, Knowledge Management across development teams, both within and beyond the corporate.

Better tools as advances in solids modelling, computer-aided engineering systems, project management tools, product data management software applications. Managing the creation, propagation and storage of data, these tools ensured wide engineering and work language that dramatically compressed cycle times for development.

The radical change in manufacturing starting from Rapid Manufacturing (RM) is based on completely new additive manufacturing techniques that produce fully functional parts directly from a 3D CAD model without the use of tooling.

This offers the potential to change the paradigm of manufacturing, service and distribution with opportunities for producing highly complex and customised products.

Rapid product Development introduces now a wide range of tools and technologies, which involves evaluation and advanced expertise to obtain the best results for each industrial chain. Meanwhile no industry in worldwide market will continue indifferent to the new approaches in Product Development due to the interaction amid the diverse potential actions and results.

The revolutionary processes, and promising new technologies are changing completely the profile of design and manufacturing, involving as never before Research & Development, Technologies Transfer, and computer science applications.

RM - Rapid Manufacture Applications use technologies originated from RP - Rapid Prototyping.

For these reason the technologies are mentioned like RP, even whether now several equipments and technologies are exclusively destined to RM - Rapid Manufacture, they still accomplish objectives of RP.
The reduced range of materials front the enormous grades of materials of the conventional processes, in plastics and metals is still the largest restriction to the wide application of RM in the industry, as well as the limits of volume production or its cycles that are not equivalent to the traditional injection molds production. However in all the ranges one-off, small and medium scale the process overcomes with advantages the conventional.

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See in the next page Rapid Prototyping Technologies & Development

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