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Bridge Tooling

Bridge tooling is an important part of the development process. Also referred to as rapid tooling, it represents a stage in development that bridges the gap between prototyping and final production when there is a need for molded parts and production tooling is not yet available. The Toolroom offers tool rapid prototyping for projects big and small!

Bridge tooling can be required under many circumstances. For example, your company may have approved prototypes and traditional production tooling already procured. If you have an immediate demand and supply via traditional production tooling is not yet ready, bridge tooling is utilized to fill demand until production tooling is ready to run. Bridge tooling allows a company to create volumes which otherwise would be too time consuming or costly when using production tooling. Furthermore, bridge tooling is useful if you need a “trial run” ahead of production for evaluation or inspection. Both the amount of product needed and costs are considerations when using bridge tooling.

Production tooling molds produce accurate and precise parts with consistency. However, it can take a great deal of time and investment to have production tooling put into place. Permanent production tooling needs to endure high volume use. It is made from extremely durable materials such as hardened steel. Bridge tooling uses material such as silicone and aluminum to fill more immediate requirements.

Silicone, in a process also known as urethane casting, is often used in bridge tooling. A silicone rubber tool is shaped around a master to mimic those to be used in production tooling. Silicone tooling is best for lower production runs of up to a few hundred parts. Aluminum is a material frequently used in bridge tooling for slightly higher quantities. It allows for faster machining and has malleable properties. An aluminum mold can be put into production in about two weeks, and is suitable for smaller production runs of a few hundred or few thousand pieces of merchandise.

Where Does The Toolroom Come In?
We specialize in prototype injection molds, usually single cavity, using aluminum or small master unit die molds. Consider the number of items you need, how complex the design is and how much time you have available when deciding if bridge tooling is the best option. Located not far from St. Louis, Missouri, the Toolroom team is available to answer questions about all of your tooling needs. Give us a call to see how we can support your tooling prototype project!

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