CLEVELAND – Tom Fish loves the rotational molding process, and Little Tikes Co.’s creative director explained to the Society of Plastics Engineers’ how the Hudson, Ohio company uses CAD models and rapid prototyping in a presentation at TopCon 2014 make new toys. Rotational form conference.
“Rotomolding is the best process a designer can work with. The fact that you are making big sweeping turns is a plus, not a minus, ”he said. “Little Tikes is widely recognized for making soft, rounded products. It wasn’t that it was brilliant, you just have to make it soft and round to shape it. ”
Rotomolding also allows for easy color changes, which is more difficult with injection molding and blow molding, he said.
Fish outlined a process he had developed to use three-dimensional CAD to design the spider’s layout – the framework that forms a series of rotational shapes. The goal is to put numerous parts on a spider – for example all parts in a playhouse. This makes efficient rotational molding for the large volume toys.
“The parts are thrown into a chute, trimmed and placed in a box. And in our factory they go on a conveyor belt that lifts them up and they go to the warehouse. Done! “He said.
With CAD, Fish can enter part parameters during the design process and adjust things like the distance between parts and see comparative parting lines. When you make a change, the entire CAD drawing is adjusted.
“As a designer, I change my design as I work through this and I know what fits or doesn’t,” he said.
Early on in the development process, Tike’s marketing department comes up with ideas for a kitchen set, for example, complete with the look, functions and price of competitor kitchens. Then the design team makes a lot of sketches. A group of marketing and consumer service staff come together to answer the 800 number for complaints.
Each component is calculated and you know the maximum size in advance. “No matter how you do it, it has to fit in that box” on store shelves, Fish said.