Olan Plastics also provides prototyping services.

Smart designOlan Plastics also provides prototyping services. These services allow the client to expedite the development process and bring the product to market in the most timely, efficient and cost-effective manner possible. Olan Plastics is where global and local customers bring their product development challenges. Through our unique in-house capabilities and networked resources, complemented by early supplier integration and concurrent processes, Laser enables established OEMs and start-up companies to speed from concept through prototyping and production — faster and more accurately.

It’s more than knowing about design or manufacturing. We know rapid prototyping and the trade-offs between innovative design, choice of materials and available production processes. Because of our unique skill set, and years of experience at making these trade-off decisions on thousands of prototypes, we can advise our customers competently on optimizing their product solution.

Making the customer’s concept real prior to making production commitments is the critical step in the Laser product development process. A 3-D model clearly validates the designer’s ideas, proves out concepts, gives life to drawings and brings power to sales and marketing presentations. A prototype model captures the emotional attachment a customer might have with an innovative new product.

We understand the value of industrial design, and the contribution it makes in the product development process, but taking a two-dimensional design and transforming it into a 3-D model is where we really excel.

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The most popular Rapid Prototyping technologySLA is the most popular rapid prototyping technology, an “additive” versus traditional “subtractive” machining process, where a laser, driven by a 3-D CAD file, impacts and hardens a photosensitive liquid resin, “building” the part with mathematical slices, one thin (0.002 to 0.006 inch) layer at a time. Intricate and complex prototype parts, not easily produced with conventional methods, are typically created in two to three days, with an average cost in the hundreds, not thousands, of dollars — with no tooling. An ever-expanding selection of materials is available, with properties ranging from soft elastomers to rigid, high-temperature ceramic filled resins. SLA parts are often used for study models, master patterns for tooling, exhibit displays and customer evaluation. The technology enables designers, engineers and mold makers to hold and evaluate 3-D models of the end product, prior to investing in production tooling — avoiding costly and time-consuming design iterations during the production process.

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Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)SLS offers the advantage of making functional parts in essentially final materials. A variety of thermoplastic materials such as nylon, glass filled nylon and polystyrene are available. Surface finishes and accuracy are not quite as good as with stereolithography, but material properties can be quite close to those of the intrinsic materials. The method has also been extended to provide direct fabrication of metal and ceramic objects and tools.

The Selective Laser Sintering process is similar to SLA, where a laser beam is traced over a surface of tightly compacted photosensitive powder to selectively melt and bond it to form a thin layer of the object. The fabrication chamber is maintained at a temperature just below the melting point of the powder so that heat from the laser need only elevate the temperature slightly to cause sintering. The process is repeated until the entire object is fabricated, one layer at a time. Unlike the SLA process, it may take a considerable length of cool-down time before the part can be removed from the machine, especially large parts with thin sections.

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Cast urethane technology is not new and is technically straightforward, but it is not simple and requires significant experience in mold making and material formulation to produce consistent high-quality parts. There are many urethane materials with a wide range of properties. Laser often works directly with urethane material providers to develop custom urethane blends for products that fit unique customer requirements and often, to simulate production plastics (like ABS, polyethylene, polypropylene). Our experienced team of mold makers and laboratory technicians develop efficient and cost-effective molding solutions, when multiple prototype parts are needed or specific material properties are required for functional evaluations. The latest automated mixing and casting equipment, precision vacuum and pressure casting vessels, innovative RTV tooling, complemented by proprietary hardware and processes, enables Olan Plastics to produce truly outstanding parts.

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CNC Machinging (Computer Numeric Control)CNC machining (computer numeric control) is an effective process for creating prototype concept models, when the configuration of the product is not complex and specific material properties are required. Unlike stereolithography, a laser-based “additive” process, CNC machining is a “subtractive” process, where material is removed to generate the required net part shape. The technology has been refined over the years to incorporate multiple axes, “high speed” processes, advanced numerical controls and tooling, improving speed and accuracy.

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Manufacturing is where Olan Plastics excels. The company was founded as an independent manufacturers’ rep agency over 20 years ago. Expert knowledge in materials, especially plastics, and intimate experience with injection molding, extrusion, blow molding, vacuum forming and other processes, enables the Laser manufacturing team to specify and qualify production sources, and manage the entire product development process.

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Success Stories

Olan Plastics made a monumental task a seamless process in a very enjoyable way...

Michael Morrow
President
Carton Flow Slotting Systems
www.EZSlotter.com

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