Ceramco is a turnkey manufacturer of molded technical ceramic products. Bring us the drawing or CAD file1 of your custom ceramic part and we’ll do the rest. Our in-house toolmakers are world class. The tool room equipment at Ceramco blends current technology with our expertise. The result is years of continuous and consistent custom ceramic parts matching the customer’s specifications.
Accurate tool making is fundamental to the heart of our ceramics molding process: near-net shaping. The ability to mold a shape “near-net” requires a tool that yields a green body very close to its final shape, with little waste and requiring minimal follow-up machining. Ceramco’s investment in CNC equipment such as our conversational CNC Lathe and full 3-axis CNC mill and up-to-date CAD-CAM software (Solidworks and Surfcam®) provides the platform to deliver those tools. The finished tooling is the property of the customer, with the associated confidentiality and privacy issues assured.
Matching Tool-making to the Production Run
Near-net shaping technical ceramics follows either small quantity or large quantity production criteria. This is determined by the total number of ceramic parts ordered. Ceramco utilizes low pressure injection molding (LPIM) tooling for small to medium quantities. For quantities of 10,000, or more, Ceramco utilizes high pressure injection molding (HPIM) tooling. Both methods provide the optimum service life, economy and consistently when properly matched to the size of the run.
Low Pressure Injection Molding (LPIM) Tooling
- For injection molding ceramic parts in quantities of up to 10,000 pieces and prototypes (unless tooling-free LCM is used) Ceramco makes the tooling from type 6061 aluminum. Providing both flexibility and value, LPIM tooling can typically produce 10,000 ceramic parts before any maintenance is needed, depending on the ceramic material used. LPIM tooling is useful during the first-article approval process, with revisions and design changes easily implemented. Multi-cavity LPIM tooling is an option to achieve higher volume, or faster and more efficient manufacturing.
High Pressure Injection Molding (HPIM & microPIM) Tooling
- For injection molding ceramic parts in quantities over 10,000 pieces, steel is the tooling material of choice. Although aluminum is an option, in HPIM tooling applications it has limited service life. Tool steel not only delivers extended service life, it does so while preserving near-net shape tolerance at higher speeds. In many cases, existing high pressure tools can be transferred to Ceramco and used with our HPIM and MicroPIM technology.
Other Tooling Considerations
As with most any custom order, the initial purchase price for a custom ceramic part manufactured by Ceramco includes the cost of tooling. The time to make the tooling itself adds to the lead time on the initial order. Both LPIM and HPIM tooling have a usable life. Neither refurbishment nor replacement cost is amortized in the new tooling’s cost. Please contact us to discuss the options with your Ceramco sales representative.
Ceramco seeks long-term relationships with its customers. However if, for any reason, the customer requests tooling be returned to them, any part of the tooling that is Ceramco’s intellectual property will be defaced or destroyed. Ceramco reserves the right to obsolete customer tooling that is inactive for over 3 years. Please contact us for more information on these subjects.
People Making it Happen
While the tooling is fundamental to the entire production process of custom ceramic parts, it is the highly-trained and skilled group of toolmakers at Ceramco that set us apart from our competition. We welcome questions or inquiries regarding Ceramco CNC capabilities, specifics on Ceramco LPIM tooling, HPIM tooling or any of the related processes.
1.The preferred 3-D model file format is .IGS/.IGES but it may not be required. Other drawings must supplement a 3-D model file to include dimensions, tolerances, and other critical specifications.
Ready to Make it Happen for You
Do you need a quotation on your print for a custom ceramic part? Contact Ceramco. You'll be greeted by a courteous customer service specialist ready to provide immediate, personal assistance. Ceramco specializes in manufacturing custom ceramic parts with complex geometries, matching the appropriate forming process to your order's specifications and quantity: