A product relies on good design and proper engineering to achieve optimal functionality. It is essential that a manufacturer understand the requirements and expectations of how and where the product will be used before beginning the production phase of manufacturing. As important as the material selection is, the tooling dies are just as important. They are used to configure the product into the correct shape, they are used to create welded seams for strength and functionality, and are used to add salient characteristics such as handles, loops, straps, tubes and nozzles, to name a few.
Tooling Dies are Important in the Manufacture of Flexible Products
When it comes to fabricating flexible products that need to contain, inflate or protect, there are many variables in manufacturing that contribute to a products’ success. Products that need to inflate or provide containment require radio frequency welding or heat sealing services in order to form a leak proof, air tight seal. You see these welded seams everywhere, in industrial products, in medical products, and in the manufacturing industry for products that are used within their business activities.
Many Products Require Tooling Dies
There are many processes that factor into the quality and strength of a welded seal. Tooling dies are most often used to complete a seal, but other important factors such as tooling layout, the material thickness, weld thickness and machine control are also critical in creating an effective seal.
Radio Frequency Welding and Tooling
The radio frequency welding process is the best sealing technique to use with tooling dies because it provides a quality hermetic seal with the completeness of the weld. These welds are expected to have great tear resistance and also be resistant to abrasion, which adds long term durability to the product. In the design and/or prototype stages, these welds are subjected to optical tests, pill tests and leak tests to evaluate whether the seal was properly executed.
Material & Die Selection
The tooling die is the biggest factor for completing a seal when combining the right materials to the right welding process. If set correctly, a perfect and impervious seal is attainable with the tooling die in both the testing procedures and the final manufacturing run.
Tooling Dies Are Made To Fit Any Need
Tooling Dies come in a variety of material types such as brass, aluminum or other metals which means they can be quite costly to make. Some are standardized and can be attained easily and are relatively inexpensive. Your tooling requirement may be custom, if the design and application are unique. Making custom tooling dies can be quite expensive so it is important to know ahead of time important factors such as which sealing process will be used and the material selection before a tooling die is made.
Soft Tooling for Prototypes
Soft tooling dies are an option for new product prototyping or re-engineering existing products, and are essentially used to determine if the design and weld procedure will achieve what it needs to, before an metal tooling die is made.
- They are less expensive and made from wood or plastic materials with brass or aluminum electrodes.
- They are typically used for testing new or reconfigured products, as a means to determine whether the design will meet the required results.
- They are used as a safety measure and a way to reduce cost to get the layout, material selection and process requirements right, before committing to the expense of having an all metal production die made.
However, soft tooling dies cannot be used in final manufacturing production runs because they are not made from strong enough materials to handle the repetitive nature of producing large quantities of product.
Type and Purpose
Tooling Dies come in many types, each serving a specific purpose in product fabrication:
- Single Cycle Tooling Sets – are typically used to weld flat seams when positioning is important. More than 2 layers of material are OK.
- Upper Tooling Dies — can be used with machine bed plates for flat welds where positioning is not critical. More than 2 layers of material are OK.
- High Dies — are used to weld a third dimension to a sub-assembly. Typically not used with more than 2 layers of material. Positioning is extremely critical.
- Bottom Action Dies – are used when multiple layers / configurations require exact positioning, more than 2 layers of material are OK.
- Dual Cycle Tooling – is used to create perimeter seals and tube welds in different areas of the product where positioning is critical. More than 2 layers are OK.
AmCraft will provide you with design input, material selection, and the experience to determine the most effective tooling die to use that will successfully meet the manufacturing goals of your product.
RF Welding and Heat Sealing for Custom Products
AmCraft’s Radio Frequency Welding and Heat Sealing options create welds that range from tiny spot welds to large continuous welding patterns. We are certified under a number of customer quality assurance programs and provide workable solutions for the scale and cost targets you want to achieve.
Call AmCraft today to find out the necessary steps you need for the successful manufacturing of your flexible product.