MMT Blog

Understanding your current CAD/CAM capabilities is the first step to seeing if it is still the best fit based on your company's goals. Keep in mind that because moldmaking is design and machining, software proficient at both CAD and CAM is key. You want to move seamlessly from concept to design qualification to mold development and onto production. The right CAD/CAM will dramatically reduce mold design time. Some things to consider are speed, accuracy, feature recognition, 3-D simulation and analysis, complex model preparation and data importation from varied sources, automated setup, in-process measurement and inspection, finishing features and collision detection. Here is a slideshow sampling of the latest software developments on the market.

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With continued growth in the area of electric molding machines comes the relentless pursuit of how to maximize on their capabilities to mold plastic parts faster, cleaner and with less maintenance required. This is especially true for those who build and run molds for medical, dental and personal products requiring cleanroom environments for production. Canadian mold manufacturer StackTeck Systems Ltd. recently developed and added its own servo-driven unscrewing system to the list of available molding technologies that fit high-cavitation cleanroom molding requirements.

According to a press announcement issued by the company, this technology enables a more effective arrangement of mold drive shafts, belts and pulleys while incorporating a sealed drive system. Other benefits include improved energy efficiency compared to a hydraulic rack and pinion system, less mold maintenance required, simple system with single pendant and five buttons to control, unscrewing speed is very accurate, faster and is controllable, and compared to hydraulic unscrewing molds, servo technology offers superior part ejection control and reduced cycle time.

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Just after the New Year, MMT was in receipt of an emailed announcement that Columbus, Indiana, mold manufacturer Precise Mold and Plate had changed its name to Precise Tooling Solutions to more accurately describe the services offered there. I wrote an article for MMT’s September issue about then Precise Mold’s use of data-driven systems to more proactively advance how they build and repair molds and to better serve their customers’ needs. The transformation to data-driven technologies were driven by CEO Don Dumoulin, who purchased the company in January 2013.

Don told me that the new name was not meant to change customers’ perspectives about what they do because in the end, they will still focus most of their business on building, repairing and maintaining injection mold tooling. “Almost everything we do touches their tooling environments on some level, whether it’s building new tools, making productivity adjustments to current tools that they own, or manufacturing work cells that they use to build their final products on. They consider most of that tooling. And what we try to do daily is provide solutions to our customers, so it seemed logical to keep the Precise name, and then modify it to become Tooling Solutions instead of Mold and Plate.”

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Back in 2002 the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI), now called Plastics Industry Association, led a trade misison to the maquiladora region to help all businesspeople involved in the plastics industry, including moldmakers, to become more globally competitive and aware of the opportunities that exist around the Mexico/U.S. border.  Representatives from 18 companies attended.  Overall, attendees were impressed with the country's growth and the level of education. They felt that language was not the barrier they imagined it to be. They also acknowledged that there are very sophisticated operations south of the border, yet at the same time noted the lack of efficiency. Read the full article here

For more current insight, you should also check out Michael Taylor's article on Moldmaking Opportunities in NAFTA Markets from 2014. We will be do a state of the tooling market in MMT later this year.  Have you taken advantage of opportunities in Mexico? Do you have insight into that marketplace to share? If so, let me know

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“Anybody can build the small tools, the simple tools,” explains Jim Korenev, system administrator at Cavalier Tool and Manufacturing, MMT's 2015 Leadtime Leader Award Winner. “We’re going with the complicated things, the stuff that nobody wants to touch. There’s a huge learning curve that we’ve already gone through, and we’re making our customers happy.”

In pursuit of advanced technology, Cavalier long ago chose NX™ software from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens PLM Software as its standard computer-aided design (CAD) system. NX is the exclusive mold design system for Cavalier. It includes process automation tools that streamline mold design, from part design to tool design, assembly design and tool validation. With a step-by-step mold design workflow, NX combines advanced automation with moldmaking knowledge and best practices. Mold designs are dynamically associated with part designs, helping Cavalier designers to respond quickly to design changes.

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