Tooling boards or modelling boards are material boards used to make master models and prototype tools. Plastic tooling has replaced metal, wood, and other traditional materials in the industrial tooling sector due to the improved efficiency, faster ramp rate, and reduction in overall cost for many industrial processes provided by the former. Epoxy resins are high-molecular-weight polymers that usually contain at least two epoxide groups. Tooling boards are employed in many industrial tooling applications to manufacture molds, models and master models, laminates, fixtures, castings, and other industrial production aids. These boards offer better machinability, i.e. they can be easily cut, adhesively bonded, and shaped with conventional hand tools or automated machining equipment, in shorter lead time. They are machined at a faster rate and are available at affordable prices.
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The need for low manufacturing costs and augmented production rate in various industries such as automotive, marine , and aerospace has been a major driver of the global tooling market due to its impeccable material properties and low cost. The unique property of epoxy or polyurethane tooling board to offer reduced autoclave curing time required for manufacturing advanced composites parts and molds, particularly in the aerospace industry, is also driving the market. However, development of mined mineral composites can be a major restraint of the epoxy or polyurethane tooling board market.
Epoxy tooling boards have high plasticity, strength, and toughness compared to other materials. The usage of epoxy material lessens the machining cycle time, reduces production cost, and improves productivity. Polyurethane tooling boards offer competitive performance compared to epoxy tooling boards. In addition to their exceptional properties, polyurethane tooling boards are cheaper than the epoxy tooling boards. Hence, tooling boards made from polyurethane hold majority of the market share followed by epoxy tooling boards.
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Tooling boards are used for making models, prototypes, and durable and reusable tools. They are employed majorly in the automotive industry. Other industries using tooling board include aerospace & defense and wind energy. Tooling boards used for different applications are of different grades. The grades differ in density, size of the tooling board, and the overall geometry. Grades also depend upon the selection of construction techniques and materials for making tooling boards.