Engineering Insights by Hartie Spence

ASH Industries Blog

Futuristic Tattoo

Tattoos come alive and communicate.
Technological developments continue to give the earth’s population a wider variety of tools to prevent and cure disease, to foresee problems in the environment (as in the application of this tattoo system) or in our own health condition, and to communicate more efficiently in order to productively exchange life-critical information.

 Future tattoo

Even as design engineers contemplate a solution to one particular problem, more developments continue to expand their possible solutions. ASH seldom visits with a design team who is not already contemplating the next generations of their new concept solution. These are very exciting times.

Even as the theory and knowhow expand to expose more impressive possibilities, there is an ever present gulf between “solution theory” and “practical application”. While many projects wait the advent of a yet undeveloped plastic material, more often than not, the width of this gulf is driven by the cost of the solution. If the cost of the practical application (either in initial tooling or in production costs), does not make financial sense or offer cost-effective relief from the problem, it will never be manufactured. Many solutions, even the most clever medical devices, never make it to production simply due to the capital outlay necessary to bring these ideas to the broad marketplace. In another twist on the same theme, the money spent developing an injection molded manufactured solution lengthens the time necessary to realize a profit on the project making the product unfeasible. Unfortunately, a large capital outlay also drains the money necessary to market the product.

Some companies have resorted to overseas injection mold tooling to minimize the money spent on tooling. Without direct design control but with the limitations of communication and the long delays in the supply chain, this anticipated savings can rapidly devolve into unrealized savings, tooling inconsistencies, and a product that never meets specifications.

Other companies have tried to minimize their expenditures on tooling by spending less on plastic injection mold materials. For the most part, the cost of material to make an injection mold comprises only the smallest fraction of the mold cost. Short changing the mold material, however, can lead to components whose dimensions unacceptably change over time and tooling that is easily damaged without any feasible means of repair or rework.

ASH’s elegant solution, the SuperMold, has made mass production feasible for any number of new projects. By rearranging mold making so that our process to build tooling more closely resembles mass production than thousands of individual projects, ASH has been able to pass along savings won by increased efficiency while simultaneously producing molds out of the best materials. ASH customers benefit from a minimized timeline, ideal mold material, an unlimited choice of production part material, and a flexible mold configuration.

ASH is excited about the potential for new technologies and welcomes the chance to participate in cutting edge product development.

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