In order provide a quotation for the piece prices and tooling, our CAD team had to design the tools we would need to compression mold the parts. We utilized the approved CAD model of the actual pad to derive the tool design. The tool model is essentially the negative image of the part.
Because of the heat and pressure inherent in the compression molding process, we design most tools to be machined from 6061 aluminum. More complex matched tools can also require machined and hardened A2 steel plates to serve as a surface to cut against. In this case, only machined aluminum tool cavities would be required to mold this part.
The Engineer/Develop phase of our product development process also includes determining which foam materials will provide both optimal functions and be as cost-effective as possible. In this particular case, our customer simply told us which materials had been used to mold this part in the past and we chose a very similar material from the foams that we already stock.