Software Increases Tooling Manufacturing Productivity

The Simoldes Group has standardized on Delcam’s PowerSHAPE CAD software and PowerMILL CAM for the manufacture of its tooling.

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The Simoldes Group, Europe’s largest moldmaking company, has standardized on Delcam’s PowerSHAPE CAD software and PowerMILL CAM for the manufacture of its tooling.  The Delcam software has allowed the companies within the Group to increase productivity to the extent that many users claim it has been pivotal to their success.  For example, Fernando Loureiro, the production manager at IMA, one company within the Group, states “I have no doubt that acquiring PowerSHAPE and PowerMILL software was the key to success for our company.”

From humble beginnings in 1959, with one small plant in Portugal, Simoldes has grown to be a large multi-national corporation with around 4,000 staff operating in seven countries and exporting to more than 30 more.  It is now considered to be Europe’s largest moldmaker.  While Simoldes has kept its main offices and plant in Portugal, the company aspires to expand its operations to more countries to become a truly global organization.

Today, Simoldes consists of seven production units in Portugal, one in Brazil, one in Argentina and one in Germany, and five ACS–Advanced Customer Service offices, with nine separate companies contributing to two divisions.  Simoldes focuses on the automotive and motorbike sectors but also makes tooling for the houseware, electronics, material handling and packaging industries.  The company uses mainly large machines ranging from two to five metres in length, and offering everything from 2D drilling up to five-axis roughing and finishing.

A typical project for Simoldes is the interior of a car door, where there are several parts that must all fit seamlessly together to create the finished product.  The company also produces moulds for creating rubber seals around glass panels and for extremely detailed speaker grilles for in-car entertainment systems.

João Vieira, CADCAM Director for IMA, claims that this complexity presents no difficulty for Simoldes, explaining that: “With our Delcam software, we have a cost-effective solution as we have integration, we have standardization, we have accurate finishing programs, and we have smooth programs that protect the machines.”

Rui Ramos, a CAM Programmer for MDA, another company in the Group, explains that “here at Simoldes, we have a philosophy to make things as quickly and as efficiently as possible and PowerMILL allows me to do that.  I can develop macros in PowerMILL for the operations that I need to do most often in my everyday work.”  Ramos adds that “As a user of PowerMILL, it’s important for me that everything I program runs on the machine on the first time with no problems.  PowerMILL offers me the strategies and simulation tools to give me that confidence.”

Fernando Loureiro, IMA’s Production Manager, also explains the importance of PowerMILL and PowerSHAPE for Simoldes when electrodes were needed.  “At Simoldes, we try to automate as much as we can to produce parts more quickly and more efficiently.  When we got PowerSHAPE, the time required to create electrodes reduced dramatically.  We used to have a number of people modelling electrodes; now we have just one person.  Modelling is quicker, less information is required for the EDM process and the data we get is of higher quality. There simply are no more errors. Non-conformities have been reduced to a very low number, while the speed of electrode creation is fantastic."

“We have also introduced palletization so we can now machine a huge number of electrodes in one go.  We are now starting palletization of the smaller steel parts as well.  I have no doubt that acquiring PowerSHAPE and PowerMILL was the key to our success in reducing the time taken for machining in both cases.”

When asked about Simoldes relationship with Delcam, Vieira replies: “We are partners. Partnership is not just about buying a licence of software but includes development of customised solutions specific to our company’s needs that can be flexible enough to deal with different projects to produce large and small moulds.”  

Vieira adds that “With Delcam, we now have a better solution for all parties: for our customers and for us.”

To see why visit www.delcam.tv/simoldes.