Lowery Enterprises is a full service design and prototyping company that can help take your idea or concept to reality. Our specialty in design involves making manufacturing fixtures to aid in our customer’s manufacturing processes, and we have worked with many clients from a wide range of industries, including automotive, consumer, hardware, medical, electronic, packaging, safety, and many more.
We are happy to assist our clients through the entire product development cycle, beginning with design. With various CAD programs to accommodate our customers, 3D models are created to accelerate design efforts and support rapid prototyping. By doing this, your ideas can go from concept to prototype in a matter of days rather than weeks or months.
Much of the cost of any project is controlled in the design phase of the product development cycle. Our engineering staff can help you meet cost objectives and offer strong mechanical solutions to tough problems.
Rapid prototyping is a technology that is used to build physical models and prototype parts from three-dimensional computer aid design (CAD) data. It allows designers and engineers to create a tangible prototype of their design, and these models help decrease the development time by allowing corrections to be made early in the design process. Because flaws can be corrected and changes made while it is still inexpensive to do so, rapid prototyping saves time and money as well as enhancing the quality of the final product. There are two ways this can be done, RTV molding and urethane casting and 3D Printing.
RTV molding and urethane casting
RTV molding and urethane casting provide economical ways of making accurate multiple prototypes. It is the least expensive and fastest way to create prototype parts. Urethane castings are produced using silicone molds called RTV molds. The urethane casting process begins with a pattern. Usually the pattern is a SLA prototype, but it can be any part. The prototype is suspended in a box or frame. The silicone is poured around the part and is allowed to cure. Once the silicone has cured, cuts are made into the mold to remove the part. The mold is then put back together and urethane material is poured into the mold to create a urethane casting. Once the urethane has hardened, it is removed and the mold can be used to cast additional parts. Generally ten to twenty-five parts can be shot from one mold.
Urethane models are great for customer evaluations, market focus groups, product testing, and design verification. Our vacuum casting machines can accommodate mold sizes up to 36”x24”x36” and can cast a part up to ten pounds. Additionally, many specifically formulated polyurethane resins are available to simulate most engineered plastic materials, such as nylon, ABS, polycarbonate, polypropylene, and many others. Also, most of our urethane resins can be colored by using pigments.
3D printing allows you to convert a CAD drawing into a three-dimensional object in only a few hours. The process begins with creating a 3D model of your prototype in a CAD program. The printing apparatus is then connected to a computer, and the CAD model is then “sliced” horizontally into thin layers by the 3D printer. An ultraviolet laser traces the first layer of the prototype on a metal platform that is submerged just below the surface of a vat of epoxy photopolymer. The liquid solidifies wherever the laser touches it. Once the layer is traced, the platform sinks the thickness of a layer below the surface level of the liquid. The layer is usually .004” thick. Each layer bonds to form the three-dimensional prototype.
There are many benefits of 3D printing. It is a way to rapidly manufacture your product, enabling you to test your product, catch errors, and improve design for less time and money than other techniques would cost you. We now offer nickel armor plating of our 3D printed prototypes.
CNC machining is available as well, providing a service that can perform a wide range of manufacturing tasks. A CNC machine is another way to generate prototypes or parts from a digital software file, and is particularly suited to jobs requiring a high level of precision or repetition.
A 2D or 3D CAD drawing is conceived first, then translated to a computer code with instructions for the CNC machine to execute. After a trial run to make sure there are no mistakes in the coding, a block of material is placed in the machine, and a variety of machine tools can be used to make highly detailed cuts within minutes. CNC machines are less limited by materials than other forms of manufacturing – copper, steel, aluminum, brass, plastic, and many others are all commonly used to produce parts or prototypes.
Because everything is automated, there is a very low margin of error, and it is easy to efficiently and rapidly manufacture parts on a larger scale, with a consistency that would be impossible to replicate manually.
Our customized models are assembled with great attention to detail and care. Displaying your implants in our transparent bone models helps the implant’s unique features stand out in a clear, professional, and aesthetically pleasing way, and each implant is placed carefully to replicate true surgical technique. These models can be used for training, education, marketing and promotion, or displays in medical offices or trade shows.
Though our catalog is focused on the spine, we aren’t limited to manufacturing only one area of the body. We can make hands, knees, feet – whatever you need, we can provide with the same precision and quality as we do our spinal models.