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French publisher Romain Pages has used the rapid injection moulding service from Proto Labs to quickly produce a chocolate mould to go with a cookbook.

Romain Pages’ book of chocolate recipes was written by the firm’s chocolatier and finance director Anne Deblois.

The company wanted to sell the book during the Christmas trade-buying season in July.

The book was to be pre-packaged with a mould to produce chocolate bars, but by the end of May the company had still not found anyone who could make the mould in the time or quantity needed.

‘Romain Pages had not worked with plastic before, so we really needed a reliable sub-contractor,’ said chief executive and editor Jean-Pierre Duval.

In June, he came across two websites: one for Protomold, the rapid injection moulding service of Proto Labs, and the other, Forum International de Plasturgie (FIP), a trade show in Lyon that month.

Within 24 hours of emailing Protomold, Duval received a call from Bernard Faure, Protomold’s technical sales manager in France, who outlined the possibilities of rapid injection moulding and arranged a meeting at the FIP show 10 days later.

Duval met Faure in Lyon on 17 June and provided a clear idea of what he wanted for the mould, including his own 2D designs.

A few days later, he was discussing tweaks and reviewing pricing using the online Protoquote service.

Protomold delivered the first 50 samples within two weeks after placing the first order.

As a result, Romain Pages had the samples ready for the trade buyers and were able to secure orders from major retailers in France.

Romain Pages could not afford to order large volumes in advance, so were particularly attracted to the fast and flexible low-volume production runs made possible by the Protomold process.

The publisher had produced two versions of the book: one with and without the mould.

Romain Pages had expected to sell more of the lower-priced books without the mould, so had only ordered 10,000 moulds.

‘In the first month we sold just 4,000 without the mould but 8,000 with the mould,’ said Duval.

It was obvious the firm would need more moulds – and fast.

Protomold’s rapid injection moulding service gave Romain Pages the flexibility needed to respond quickly to demands.

The first batch of moulds had arrived and another 5,000 moulds were promptly ordered.

Three weeks later, the second batch arrived and Romain Pages was able to repackage those books without a mould as books with a mould.

Proto Labs

Proto Labs delivers fully functional prototypes in production-intent materials to dramatically cut the cost and time normally associated with product development. This empowers designers and engineers with the means to rapidly develop, test, and get their products to market first in an ever-competitive global market place.

Proto Labs delivers fully functional prototypes in production-intent materials to dramatically cut the cost and time normally associated with product development. This empowers designers and engineers with the means to rapidly develop, test, and get their products to market first in an ever-competitive global market place.

Protomold delivers injection-moulded parts from moulds manufactured utilising state-of-the-art high-speed CNC machining technologies. Parts can be moulded using almost any engineering-grade resin and are ideal for prototyping, bridge tooling and low-volume production.

First Cut satisfies the need for functional prototypes much earlier in the development cycle for quantities of 1–10+. Because First Cut delivers prototypes in engineering-grade resins and aluminium they will have real material properties and improved surface finishes. In other words, they will be functional.

When you submit your 3D CAD model, Proto Labs’ powerful super-compute cluster creates an interactive quote giving pricing options and where appropriate, suggesting changes to improve manufacturability. You simply interact with your quote online, tailor options such as material and delivery to your requirements and with every change, the pricing information automatically updates. This built-in ‘what-if’ analysis enables last-minute project refinements to be accommodated at the click of a button.

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