MANUFACTURING - The story of throwing away too many plastic soldiers.
To make plastic model making kits and toy soldiers, most manufacturers use the age-old practice of injection moulding. You make a model that you know the market is going to like, then get a toolmaker to produce a steel tool that’s precision-machined to produce the exact form you need. You heat up some thermoplastic polymer, put it in the mould cavity, it cools and there you have a toy soldier. The production process is usually computer controlled and produces thousands of items at a time. For small run production, most of the surplus are wasted and are sent for recycling. You could use a 3D printer, but its very slow and not really applicable to a commercial production run.
This company has developed a new process for making short run plastic models using new materials for tool making. They have managed to optimise the numbers required to sell in their market and substantially reduced their plastic waste.