How to Make “Quick-Turn” Your Shop’s Mantra

On top of increasing production capacity, quick delivery standards save as much as five hours per project for a manufacturer of quality “quick-turn” tooling.

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There’s no mistaking it, turnaround time and speed-to-market is increasingly imperative in the plastics industry today. The market no longer forgives long leadtimes. The choice is deliver or move out of the way. Every hour AIMMco wastes waiting on quotes or shipments from suppliers is time lost that they could be delivering to their customers.

AIMMco realized this trend long ago and set out to make “quick-turn” their mantra. But words only go so far; they needed a strategic partner who would provide them with the same fast turnaround that they promise and deliver to their customers. Enter D-M-E Company, a mold technology supplier who provides more than just products, but the means to deliver faster, at a reduced cost without sacrificing performance.

Located in Woodland, WA, AIMMco (Advanced Injection Mold Manufacturing Company) is a manufacturer of quality “quick-turn” tooling. They make plastics injection molds, die cast molds, and blow molds, and offer many other services, but these all have one very important element in common—quick turnaround coupled with quality products and service. AIMMco is so dedicated to speed that its core product is dubbed the “Lightning BaseTM.” It features a unique mold base design that reduces delivery time and overall cost in the production of plastic parts.

 

How to Speed Up Time

AIMMco started its journey with D-M-E nine years ago and continued the partnership because of their quality products, industry reputation and compatible product offerings. “We’re engineering-driven at AIMMco and we always look to incorporate new technology into our operation,” says partner Barry Waatti. “We work with DELCAM software, and D-M-E’s QDS (quick delivery standards) lends itself well to our design automation goals.”

QDS is a proven D-M-E innovation that provides a unique way of cutting time out of the moldmaking cycle without sacrificing quality. Taking a page from Dell Computer’s success in mass customization, this quick turn-around product line allows customers to choose from more than 3,800 popular mold base combinations as well as comparably sized retainer sets and mold plates. The design of this product line ensures that every component is appropriately configured for each customer’s specific needs and for quick delivery. Design engineers can relocate or remove components, add special features and customize their designs in a variety of ways.

Every day, AIMMco leverages D-M-E’s QDS program for mold bases to help them deliver on tight turnarounds. With this program, D-M-E does all the work for them up front on the mold bases—ensuring the bases are ready to go upon delivery. “We found that having D-M-E do all the roughing work for us has eliminated any plate morphing issues,” explains AIMMco partner Lloyd Booth. “It has helped greatly and they have really become an essential resource to our operation. We don’t touch it once it comes in here. D-M-E does all assembly and testing so the mold base is right out of the box ready to go.”

AIMMco leaders say that D-M-E’s customer support team delivers like nobody else. AIMMco can expect a simple quote within two hours of their request, which is a tremendous asset to a business reliant on quick turnaround. If the request is a custom job, the quote will be turned around within 24 hours, not a couple of days like some other suppliers do, Booth says. D-M-E customer service employees do whatever it takes to get something done. This initiative keeps things moving, accelerates delivery, reduces overall cost and lets AIMMco keep up with their customers’ demands. “In our eyes, D-M-E is the best for AIMMco,” says Booth. “They’ve been the best for turnaround, quality, pricing and competitiveness. We use them exclusively and aren’t afraid to ask them for help on any project.”

 

And the Winner Is … AIMMco

AIMMco’s use of the QDS product line has allowed them to keep up with increased demand. If they have a backlog and want to take in new work, but don’t have the time, they can count on D-M-E to step in and get the job done. “We can take on more jobs than we would otherwise be able to because of the mold bases D-M-E produces,” says AIMMco partner Glen Hendrickson.

On top of increasing AIMMco’s production capacity, Hendrickson estimates that QDS saves as much as five hours per project for them, a critical amount of time in the “quick-turn” business. D-M-E is able to eliminate many steps with a consistent approach before the mold base even ships, which is crucial to AIMMco meeting their automation goals, he adds. “With the QDS layouts, I know exactly where D-M-E is going to put certain components,” explains Hendrickson. “I don’t have to do anything to the design because I know they’re going to put it in the right spot automatically.”

AIMMco further enhanced automation of the process by developing special software to match the QDS system. The “Moldbuilder” program has ready-made templates for the company’s standards that line up with the QDS parameters.

The impact that QDS has had on D-M-E customers reinforces their commitment to growing the product line. They have recently expanded the QDS program to offer more sizes of American Standard mold bases, retainer sets and mold plates in both the A-Series and B-Series. Depending on the type, same-day, next-day, three-day or four-day shipping is available.

 

Summary

With responsiveness, quick turnaround times and product customization, D-M-E has been able to save AIMMco valuable time equaling thousands of dollars in annual labor costs while supporting their goal of increased automation. D-M-E strives to remain the first one their “quick-turn” tooling partners turn to when looking for new and innovative ways to reduce time, costs and hassles in their operations.

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