Having had a lot of respect for the originality of Ron Pleasant and Round Mate for several years, I was not surprised at his latest innovation: Rush Technology (Sept. 11, Page 1, "Toolmaking in a day.")
But, no matter how ingenious, all methods of making molds depend on two things: clean model files and no changes. This has become the mold builders´ mantra when promising faster delivery than their competitors. You made a mistake in your model? Your customer wants a big change? Back to the end of the queue for you!
This is understandable because I doubt any custom mold builder, if he has any volume of business, has mold designers, programmers and mold makers sitting around ready to pounce on customers´ changes.
This is not to say the Rush system or others like it don´t work; they do admirably well. But unless their practitioners can also adapt to produce mold revisions, say, in 24 hours, their deliveries will continue to be compromised by their customers´ changes.
Ron made an excellent point regarding the burgeoning competition from Asia. They are fast, generally much faster than their American counterparts. But something else makes them much more of a threat: They often incorporate part changes into the mold steel overnight! This is becoming the rule rather than the exception with some of the sources in China that I am familiar with. In some instances, the entire mold core and cavity has been replaced, also overnight.
Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc.