Vacuum Casting

Paragon's Vacuum Casting service offers you the opportunity to have production intent components using an unrivaled range of rigid and elastomeric polyurethane resins. Vacuum casting produces parts from materials with a variety of mechanical, chemical or aesthetic properties, allowing you to adapt the specification to suit your exact requirements. PU castings through this process can replicate virtually any production material, including polypropylene, polycarbonate, ABS, nylon and silicone rubbers. Parts can be used as rapid prototypes for fit and function testing, one-off marketing and sales aids, or even as low as a volume production alternative.

What is Vacuum Casting?

Vacuum Casting is a well-established technology used to reproduce multiple plastic models or functional prototypes that are comparable to injection moulded parts. Production grade rigid or rubber PU castings are produced from silicone tools, which exactly replicate the geometry and surface detail of a master model.
Our in house colour mixing facility is able to pigment the materials to Pantone, RAL or BS references or even match them swatches or corporate colours. This also applies to the colouration or tinting of clear parts to varying depths of translucency. Subsequent castings will closely represent the colour, surface finish and mechanical properties of the intended production parts.

The Vacuum Casting Process

  1. High quality, accurate master model is 3D printed from a CAD file, often from SLA resin. In some cases, the original industrial component to be replicated can also be used as the master.
  2. The master model is suspended in a bow with the feed and bleeds attached. Silicone is poured around the model and vacuum used to remove all air. This then cured in an oven.
  3. The master is removed from the silicone to form a cavity. The tool is assembled before being placed into the Vacuum Casting machine.
  4. PU resin is added into the machine and mixed under vacuum, then poured into the tool and cured again in the oven. Once cured the part can be removed from the mould, ready for the cycle to be repeated.

Vacuum Casting for Rapid Prototypes

Using Vacuum Casting in the early stage of development offers many benefits. With the initial cost of tooling being relatively low, Vacuum Casting represents a cost effective way to test fully representative and functional rapid prototypes and then easily redesign multiple times to optimize the product.

Vacuum Casting for Low to Mid-Volume Manufacture

Due to lower tooling costs, Vacuum casting is a more economical production alternative to plastic injection moulding for short production runs. The typical expected yield from a silicone tool is 20-30 castings. However, using non-aggressive materials for parts with simple geometries may produce up to 50 components.

Key Benefits of Vacuum Casting

  • High level of reproduction accuracy to simulate injection moulded polymers
  • Quick turnaround for a reduced time to market
  • Functional prototypes with material properties representative of final production materials
  • Wide range of finishing options for many different applications, including colour-matching
  • Textures and other finishes can be achieved by adding powders to the resin
  • Excellent surface detail that requires minimal post processing

Vacuum Casting Machines and Materials

  • 4 x MTT 001
  • 1 x MTT 004
  • 1 x MTT 004 extension chamber
  • Max chamber size 1800 x 900 x 500mm

Properties of our range of rubber and rigid Polyurethane materials include:

  • High Temperature
  • V0 rated flame retardant
  • FDA approved food safe
  • UV stable crystal clear
  • Glass filled

A new comprehensive range of clear rubber materials is also available, raning from 42 shoreA up to 90 shoreA. This allows accurate colour matching of rubber components or elastomeric overmoulding, which has previously been limited by the base colours of the resins. In addition to our in house colour mixing facility to RAL, BS and Pantone references, we also offer pearlescent and "day-glow" colours, ideal for replicating safety equipment etc. Please specify your exact requirements at the time of enquiry.

Why Choose Paragon for your Vacuum Casting?

Growing Capacity

  • Paragon continues to invest in state of art high speed precision equipment, to allow us to deliver accurate parts within required lead times at a competitive cost.

Superior Customer Service

  • We pride ourselves on our technical expertise and strong reputation for delivering superior customer service. Your dedicated Project Manager will endeavour to deliver your project on time to your exact specification. Our aim is to meet your budget, time and quality expectations throughout the process.

Quality and Investment

  • At Paragon, we are committed to investing in new technology and innovations that will further improve our capabilities. As part of our focus on quality, we are now ISO 9001:2015 certified, underlining our company-wide commitment to delivering superior parts for our customers.

Post-Production Support

  • We have a Faro ScanArm on site for 3D Scanning and reverse engineering where CAD is not available. Our dedicated team can also perform 3D part inspections and provide Quality and Validation reports, including full P.P.A.P documentation.

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