We’ve helped countless clients design and create their bespoke injection moulding tools or transfer their existing tools to us from abroad. Find out how our in house toolmaking experts can assist you too.
About Mould Toolmaking
What is Injection mould tooling?
An injection mould tool is effectively the mould into which molten plastic polymer material is injected. The material polymer then cools inside the mould, solidifying, and forming the unique shape as per mandated by the design. After the designated cooling time, the tool is automatically separated into the two halves and the components are ejected and removed.
Plastic injection mould toolmaking is an important process in manufacturing plastic products. It involves designing, building, testing, and using tools to create plastic parts.
Mould tools can be manufactured for single or multi-cavity production, and to operate fully automated, semi automated, or to incorporate inserts which are hand loaded. All engineered and designed according to your requirements and the complexity of the part.
We have manufactured tooling for surgical equipment, optical lenses, engine cowlings, air sensors, RF components, overmoulded electronics, fuel connectors, aircraft seating, casings, trim and marine components, to name but a small selection – from one-off manual tooling to fully automatic mass production.
At the outset
When we are initially discussing a project with a client, we will establish the key facts around the end final application. This will lead to the most suitable material for both the mould tool and moulded components, and the structure of the tool.
We can help with the design and ensure the plastic components can be made as required.
We can run a mouldflow programme, which will help identify any potential shrinkage and warpage which may need to be taken into account.
A range of starting points
The start point for our involvement ranges from fully detailed CAD drawings to a physical part, perhaps needed in different dimensions.
Whatever the start point, Our in-house toolmaking & injection moulding experts can help you progress your project.
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Tooling for different applications
All our injection-mould tools are manufactured using the latest software and high-speed, high-precision, automated Röders CNC production cell (more information below). We can produce to the required finish, whether it be mirror or textured.
Our tooling is always metal, but several options are available:
Aluminium: This is sometimes referred as ‘Soft Tooling’.
It is relatively inexpensive and quick to make a tool in aluminium. It is ideal for rapid prototype projects or for intended low volume production. An aluminium tool is typically capable of 20,000 to 30,000 impressions without refurbishment, depending on the plastic polymer being used and the complexity of the part, although some of our aluminium tools have made over 100,000 parts.
There is a common misconception that aluminium tooling is limited to very low volumes (c 5,000 shots), however we are specialists in this field and, whilst the tools remain under our care and handling, we have historically been able to produce 100,000+ parts from aluminium tools in engineering polymers as also advised above.
Many Clients who have ordered our aluminium tools for prototype development use have then been able to use the same tool for production supply.
Our aluminium tooling is used with a very wide range of high end technical and engineering polymers including Ultem, Nickel fill, Steel fill, Nanotube fill, PTFE fill, Electro-conductive, 50% glass filled PBT and Nylons, as well as the more common commercial plastics.
Steel: We make tools in both P20 and fully hardened steel.
Whilst a little more costly and with a longer manufacturing time, these steel tools will be suited to higher volume production. Whilst P20 tooling will be good for hundreds of thousands of impressions, hardened steel will be capable of producing in excess of a million parts.
We offer the full range of high-end traditional tool making with the benefit of using the same quality, speed of manufacture and operational systems; developed by us for First Tier rapid development tooling manufacture.
Because we have an injection-moulding facility in-house and on-site, we can trial new tools quickly with no grey area for dispute between the toolmaker and moulder.
We offer injection-mould tool services beyond just creating from new, including maintenance to extend the life of the tool and preserve the detailed finish, repairs and modifications, should minor alterations become necessary.
Whatever your injection-tooling needs, we can help; just contact us to discuss further.
“Datum Electronics has been dealing with Dudley Associates Ltd for many years. John is always very co-operative and willing to help. The quality of the product is always excellent and is delivered on-time, every time.”
Amelia Lucas, Purchasing Co-ordinator at Datum Electronics
“We were working with Dudley on a complex component that also involved another suppler, almost at the end of the development cycle the 2nd suppler let us down. John and the team at Dudley stepped in to rescue the project showing impressive technical ability and perseverance and leading us to a great end result.”
Will Penfold, Technical Director at Kelda Technology
“I just wanted to share a quick note from myself and the team and let you know that we were delighted that you could meet both the costs and perhaps, more importantly, the timescale we had to work with. Very glad we decided to work with you again. It’s also worth mentioning that the support and advice that Dudley Associates provided to our design team while transitioning from their concept to the final tooling has been fantastic.”
Tony Rainbow, Managing Director at Falcona Solutions
“We have worked with Dudley Associates since 2009 on a variety of projects. Dudley Associates have always completed our work to a high standard and have been able to assist with the design and manufacture in an efficient, professional and timely manner. We look forward to our continued partnership with Dudley’s!
“Dudley Associates has been an important supplier for Palintest for many years, helping us to meet project requirements on time, on budget and within specification. The customer service from the team is excellent and they always go the extra mile to find the right solution. Thanks to everyone involved.”
“For the last 10 years Dudley Associates been considered a highly valued resource for the realisation of our moulded critical components, the expert advice in the final design & tooling we’ve always received and UK based precision engineering continues to provide us with the added assurance that our projects will complete successfully and on time.”
Managing Director of a Medical Equipment Supplier
“We first approached Dudley to manufacture injection mould tools for us as we thought they offered excellent quality at a competitive price, and we were not disappointed. The tools are of excellent standard and delivered on time. Having had trouble free tools delivered, we now also take advantage of their in-house moulding facilities for small production run which again were completed on time without any problems.”
International Fishing Equipment Manufacturer and Supplier
How it Works
Our all-encompassing injection moulding toolmaking service provides you with expert guidance from consultation to completion.
Not all tools are the same. This is why we work with you to gain a thorough understanding of your project, before recommending the best course of action.
We’ll manufacture your tools using a variety of different materials, including aluminium, steel and stainless steel. We can also maintain existing tools.
You retain full ownership of your tool. This prevents your intellectual property from being used under a different brand or by another manufacturer.
About our Röders Automated CNC Production Cell
Our CNC production cell consists of two different sized Röders CNC machines, RXP500 and RXP801 and fully automated robotic system. These high-speed, high-precision machines can operate on multiple different projects without human intervention, with the robot removing and replacing the items to be machined.
These machines offer exceptional accuracy, speed, repeatability and performance, and, using their own control centres, are able to process information much more quickly and accurately giving a superior and tighter finish.
Their high-speed attributes mean both machines can sustain tolerances of 0.005mm, are capable of generating optical finishes, can work on steel up to 70 Rockwell.
All of this considered, it makes complete sense why we are the first choice plastic injection moulding toolmakers.