The Excelsior Group has its own in-house sheet steel toolmaker, Crossfield Excalibur, which is a huge advantage when dealing with customers. Crossfield are one of the UK’s leading steel toolmakers with a very longstanding and excellent reputation for quality throughout the Worldwide roto moulding sector.

Sheet Steel Tooling

Sheet steel tooling is typically more suited to more straight forward products in terms of their detail and design. Steel tools are less expensive than either cast or CNC aluminium tools and are fabricated by welding sheet steel sections together and hand machining the welds to avoid visible seams on the finished product. Although sometimes limited, it is possible to create detailed and complex forms from sheet steel and we will usually have a very good idea from the outset as to whether or not a product design is suitable for steel or requires aluminium. One important advantage is that lead times for steel tools are usually shorter meaning that products can be available on the market more quickly. A typical steel tooling lead time is around 8-10 weeks.

Crossfield Excalibur are one of the UK’s leading steel toolmakers and have vast experience in the manufacture of not only tooling but also in roto moulding “rock and roll” machines which are used by many UK and Worldwide moulders. If steel is suitable for your project, we strongly recommend that Crossfield are involved at the design stage, design companies sometimes have no roto moulding experience so it will potentially save time and money to involve Crossfield as early in the design stage as possible.

Cast Aluminium Tooling

Cast aluminium tools are more expensive than steel and allow for a greater degree of detail within the design which makes more complex products easier to produce. A pattern is produced initially in the shape of the desired product before impressions are created to replicate the look and detail of the required tool. Those impressions are then used as patterns for the casting process. This process involves several stages, and this provides an opportunity to see the patterns before committing to finished tools, so if there are any tweaks to be made to the design, this is the time to make them.

Unlike steel tools, on cast tools there are a large range of surface finishes to create textures available. This is often done by what is called shot peening whereby metallic particles are fired at the tool at a very high velocity to modify the surface of the metal and, in effect, create a rougher texture. The rougher texture can help to improve the aesthetic look of a final product.

CNC Aluminium Tooling

CNC aluminium tools are machined from solid blocks of aluminium, making this form of toolmaking the most expensive by far, but also the most accurate. They are usually created directly from CAD drawings which avoids the need for patterns. If we receive an enquiry for a complex product that requires a high degree of detail we will usually recommend CNC for that because it guarantees a very high level of accuracy. Where a product is made up of several parts which have to work together, this is another situation where CNC is by far the best solution, and it is always worth the investment when the customer sees the final product. The surface finish and seam lines are better than on a steel or cast tool, and lead times can be quick due to the speed that the aluminium can be cut. We work with many CNC tools and the quality and finish of both tooling and product is always fantastic.

We would love to hear from you if you have a contract rotational moulding project in mind

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