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As a plastic prototype manufacturer RP Technologies have seen an increase in requests for metal replacement plastics in the last 12 months. RP turn to their trusted partner EMS Grivory for their extensive knowledge to ensure they match customers’ specifications.

EMS Grivory products are targeting metal replacement from the concept idea to the sustainable transformation into injection moulding. In the Automotive Industry the drivers behind metal replacement are the reduction of component cost and component weight, which can be achieved by intelligent integration of functions and also as a result of no post treatment processing.

But the question we often hear around metal replacement in the modern day vehicle is; can plastic really replace metal? And is it possible to prove this before committing to production tooling?

It is clear that metals have strong solid properties; however with impressive design techniques, high performance polymers are now challenging metals. Using sophisticated FEA and MF software component predictability is improving. There is a strong trend towards virtual component development and testing, which makes it possible to greatly shorten development times while achieving better component quality. However consideration has to be given at the start of a project for the prototype phase of introducing polyamides for metal replacement.

Grivory HT Polyphthalamides (PPA) need to be processed correctly to ensure all the characteristics of the material are optimised. Incorporating this at prototyping phase by utilising aluminium tooling involves less risk as it’s a cheaper and faster process to produce prototype components for testing.

One of RP Technologies’ specialities is processing high temperature metal replacement materials such as Polyphthalamides (PPA) whilst using aluminium prototype tooling. Their extensive experience in this field gives customers high quality, reliable prototype components.

When processing PPAs there are many different factors that have to be taken in to consideration from a tooling point of view. The grade of aluminium used, how the temperature is controlled and the type of lubricant used on the tool to overcome the extremes of temperature (140°C – 180°C) have to be given serious consideration to ensure components are produced within the correct process conditions of the Polyphthalamides.

If all of these conditions are correct, then a robustly designed part will have the structural integrity of the material which gives the moulded component its optimum condition. This results in prototype parts of production quality that can not only withstand full testing and development but also meet critical tight tolerances.

Grivory PPAs are characterised by their high-performance properties. Technical injection moulded parts made from Grivory HT retain their shape even at high operating temperatures. Characteristics such as stiffness and strength, among the most important in metal replacement are achieved due to little change in property values after absorption of water.  In addition low warpage, good dimensional stability, chemical resistance & surface quality are possible.

A great example of Grivory polyamides being utilised is for a new generation of adaptive front lights, the AFL (Adaptive Forward Lighting) system.
AFL uses moveable lenses to enable the light to be dynamically adjusted to suit the road. The required manoeuvrability in the headlight unit, which weighs about 0.4 kg, is provided by a swivelling module made of Grivory HT1. This component is exposed to temperatures of up to 150°C for long periods. To guarantee precise angling of the light cone, the swivelling module must not become deformed, nor must any vibrations impair the functioning of the lighting system. Grivory HT1, with its extremely high rigidity, durability and heat resistance, offers the required level of performance for this demanding application where tolerances must be kept to a minimum.

RP Technologies

RP Technologies are the UK’s leading manufacturer of injection moulded prototype and production components. Their service prides itself on the fast turnaround of complex aluminium prototype tooling, plastic injection moulded and CNC machined components from their UK based manufacturing facilities in the West Midlands. Their ‘without limits’ philosophy means they’ll offer a solution to meet your needs no matter how complex the component design or process. RP manufacture what you’ve designed, no changes just a simple solution.

RP Technologies are the UK’s leading manufacturer of aluminium tooling, injection moulded prototype and production components.

Their service prides itself on the fast turnaround of complex aluminium prototype tooling, injection moulded and CNC machined components from their UK based manufacturing facilities in the West Midlands. RP are unique in this sector as they have a ‘without limits’ approach when it comes to offering solutions to their customers. Their ‘without limits’ philosophy means they’ll offer a solution to meet your needs no matter how complex the component design or process. RP manufacture what you’ve designed, no changes just a simple solution.

From purpose designed premises, RP Technologies work to ISO 9001:2008 and offer a proactive service to a global market, with customers across Europe, the Far East and the United States. Their simple ethos of “partners not suppliers”, paired with ongoing investment in the latest technology and the knowledge, experience and skill set of their employees, ensures a first rate reputation for high quality at a competitive price.

It’s not just about prototyping for RP, they also support low to medium production moulding volumes from our tooling with a guaranteed tool life, through to full series production from new or existing tooling & CNC machined components in most polymers & metals.

RP Technologies have invested heavily in state of the art equipment, from 5 Axis CNC machining centres right through to the most modern injection moulding machinery available. This paired with our dedicated and experienced team means that we can offer the following services:

Aluminium Tooling : to support prototype, pre-production, and production volumes

• Single or Multi Cavity tools
• Bridge tooling
• High complexity
• Cavities up to 1000mm x 600mm x 600mm
• Hot runner feed systems
• Steel cavities / features
• Threads (internal and external)
• Internal undercuts
• Sliding and hydraulic cores
• Finishes including Texturing, graining, polishes
• Engraving
• Modifications
• EDM – Spark Erosion to achieve intricate detail

Plastic Injection Moulding: in any production intent polymer to cover prototype, pre production, and production volumes

• Grade specific polymers
• Colour matching
• Insert moulding
• Over moulding
• Value added operations including: assembly, plastic welding, painting, decorative finishes, and printing.

CNC Machining : perfect for low volume prototyping

• Machined components in most metals and polymers
• Low volume, from 1 part – perfect for prototypes
• Maximum size: 1200mm x 600mm
• High complexity supported with ISIR documentation

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