ETM Enterprises

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Lower Cost Tooling

Our in-house tool shop means your tools and fixtures get built faster and at a lower cost.

Multiple production tooling options are available from ETM.  Which tooled process to use is dependent on several factors including part design, part volume, tool fabrication timing available, program life, and finished part surface desired.  At ETM, these factors are reviewed with the Customer and the ideal option, or options, are presented.

ETM maintains an in-house tooling department which provides two primary services for our Customer.  One service is that of fabrication for all production related tooling for new programs.  ETM is capable of fabricating the primary compression mold as well as the necessary secondary tools to complete the part to Customer specifications.  This in-house capability allows for optimized tool build timeframes and better program management.  The other primary service afforded with our in-house tooling department is a tool maintenance process for all production programs.  Tools are reviewed at the end of scheduled production runs, and as necessary revitalized prior to the next scheduled production run.

SMC (sheet molding compound) Tooling

  • Best suited for high volume, long program life, parts where finished surface of the part is critical
  • Machined steel compression molds with internal heat lines, ejection ports, and surface treatment are fabricated directly from CAD data
  • Tool life expectancy is longest – upwards of 100,000 mold cycles.
  • Tool cost is highest among the various options offered by ETM.
  • Part cost in SMC process is lowest among the various options offered by ETM.
  • This process is well suited for higher volume applications, exterior panels, and where design conditions warrant ribs and bosses.

 

Hybrid Tooling

  • Best suited for intermediate volume, long program life, parts where finished surface of the part is critical.
  • This Tooling consists of a machined metal (aluminum or steel) cavity cut from CAD data, with a corresponding  epoxy laminated core.
  • Tool life expectancy is mid-range in volume – upwards of 30,000 mold cycles.
  • Tool cost tends to be 1/3 of the cost of comparable SMC Tooling.
  • Part cost is typically higher than seen in SMC, depending on the part features.  A cosmetic part will be more expensive than a non-cosmetic part in comparison to SMC.
  • This process is well suited for medium volume applications where part surface is critical but the program life is not long.

 

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Epoxy Tooling

  • Best suited for low to intermediate volume programs, where part surface finish criteria is not critical; or where a higher part price can be tolerated to allow for the additional surface preparation of the molded part, offset by a lowered tooling investment.
  • This Tooling consists of a laminated epoxy surface compression mold, fabricated from a master die model cut from CAD data.
  • Tool life expectancy is low to intermediate in volume, dictated by the part surface requirement.  Cosmetic parts can expect up to 8,000 mold cycles while non-cosmetic parts can run up to 20,000 or more cycles.  Tool life is highly dependent on part design.
  • Tool cost tends to be 1/5 of the cost of comparable SMC Tooling.
  • Part cost is typically higher than seen in SMC, depending on the part features.  A cosmetic part will be more expensive than a non-cosmetic part in comparison to SMC.  Part cost is similar to Hybrid Tooling.
  • This process is well suited for low to medium volume applications with short program life expected.

 

tooling in frame

VARTM (vacuum assisted resin transfer molding) Tooling

  • Best suited for low volume programs and/or prototype consideration.
  • This Tooling consists of laminated epoxy skins, lightly reinforced, with internal vacuum chambers to clamp the mold halves and pull the resin through the reinforcement.
  • Tool life expectancy is less than 4,000 mold cycles.
  • Tool cost tends to be 1/7 of the cost of comparable SMC Tooling.
  • Part cost is typically higher than Epoxy or Hybrid options due to the slower processing parameters and materials used.
  • This process is well suited for low volume, short product life projects.