By: Cynthia Kustush 21. July 2016

Throwback Thursday: Four Steps to CAM Selection

Follow these tips for choosing the right CAM solution.


There are so many choices when it comes to software for machining that it’s almost overwhelming. It might seem easier to just pick one and trust it produces the results you need in the areas you need them. Your guys can make it work, right? There’s no time to dig deeper into the options. Think again.

Time spent properly evaluating different CAM software packages before purchasing will pay dividends in the long-run, according to this week’s Throw-Back-Thursday article. While these tips were published in the March 2011 edition of MMT, the advice provided by Vero Software is still relevant today.

So whether you are looking to buy your first CAM software or upgrade your current system, take a few minutes and brush up on important steps to take for evaluating and choosing the right CAM solution for your company. You’ll find our article here.


By: Christina M. Fuges 20. July 2016

Can You Prove It?


International Mold Corporation (IMC), a Clinton Township, Michigan-based prototype and low-volume production mold builder, has taken over an industrial park with six existing plants—focused on machining, prototyping, tryout, injection molding, blow molding and assembly—and is establishing a new location down south that will mimic its Michigan operational model. The technology and processes I saw during my visit help the shop live up to its motto: If you take care of your customers and give them the best products at an affordable price, you’re going to do well.  We are here to prove it!”

When you hit the floors of the various plants you see quite an assortment of technology, but a few stand out.  One piece of equipment I don’t often see in a mold shop is waterjet technology, yet IMC has a Wardjet waterjet machine for its manifold and ejector plate work. It provides drilling and tapping on one machine. Having this technology in-house has opened up a service business for them. A six-axis Makino machine has been added to Plant 1, which is capable of machining instrument panel and fascia size tooling, and a five-axis gun drill is used for water lines. IMC says “it’s the closest thing to conformal cooling”.

IMC’s big differentiator is laser scanning parts immediately (within an hour) after sampling their molds.  This information is reviewed with their customers and meaningful direction can be given the same day.  Part warpage is reviewed and process changes can be made on the fly.  This is valuable “reverse engineering” information that carries into their production tooling and/or changes to any prototype tool.  

Its newest facility is Plant 7, located in Greer, South Carolina on 10.5 acres. The location was selected to provide local support to its southeastern customers, which makes up half of IMC’s customer base. For example, BMW and Honda. They also have a partnership with Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CUICAR) and retain an office there. The company hopes to break ground in the next month or two and anticipates the facility will open in February or March.

IMC’s 110 full-time employees help build 500 to 600 prototype, low-volume production injection molds, along with prototype and production blow molds. Seventy percent of its customers are in automotive with the rest coming from a variety of other end markets. When it comes to workforce development. They use Expert Tech for training and employees regularly cross train between plants.

You can check them out more here.



By: Christina M. Fuges 19. July 2016

SLIDESHOW: Technology Showcase, AM and Materials

                                                                                                                        Mitsui Seiki USA has the Vertex 55X-H, a hybrid machining center that combines additive and subtractive processes on one machine tool platform. " />                                                 DMG MORI offers a hybrid additive manufacturing machine, the Lasertec 65 3D. " />                                                                         Methods 3D, a subsidiary of Methods Machine Tools, offers the ProX DMP 320, part of the company’s growing line of direct metal 3D printers from 3D Systems. " />                                                                                                 Hurco offers its 3D Print Head, an optional, spindle-powered wireless accessory for Hurco VMCs that extrudes plastic PLA filament for 3D printing directly on a CNC machine. " />                                                 Sodick’s first foray into direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) is the OPM250L, a metal 3D printer that incorporates high-speed milling so that workpieces can be machined before printing is complete, with alternating passes of laser sintering and milling. " />                                                 Alro Steel’s Super Square pre-squared materials are precision-milled as two-, four- or six-side bars." />                                                                         Ellwood Specialty Steel supplies a full line of mold and die steels, including P20, HH, LQ, H13, S7 and stainless grades stocked in a range of sizes. " />                                                 Bohler-Uddeholm’s Buderus Thruhard Supreme tool steel is designed for increased wear resistance, higher thermal conductivity for reduced cycle times, and greater texturing reliability and polishability over conventional P20 steel. " />                                                 PCP Canada produces and supplies high-quality cast aluminum blocks and tooling plate for the mold and tooling industry, specializing in AA5083 cast plate and block; AA2000 series blocks and plates; and aa1370 bus plate, block and bar products. " />                                                 Vista Metals’ Duramax-10 is a forged, heat-treated and stress-relieved aluminum mold plate of high strength and high hardness in thickness ranging from 10" to 16". " />


Additive manufacturing is changing the way we think about making things and anything mold material-related remains a hot topic for MMT readers. Here is a slideshow with a sampling of some machine tool builders offering AM solutions as well as a few mold material products you may have missed.


By: Cynthia Kustush 18. July 2016

What You Put Out There Comes Back to You

Geoff Luther (front, center) is presented with the SPE Mold Technologies Division's Mold Maker of the Year Award by, from left. Greg Osborn, Cynthia Kustush and Glenn Starkey. (Photos courtesy of Creative Technology)


Surely there is truth in this headline. I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes, most recently when I participated with the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Mold Technologies Division as Chair Glenn Starkey of Progressive Components presented the division’s Mold Maker of the Year Award to Geoff Luther, owner and president of A-1 Tool Corporation in Melrose Park, Illinois. The award was well-deserved.

For several years now, Luther has worked tirelessly with both East and West Leyden Township high schools as part of an advisory committee to help them develop a first-class metalworking curriculum that exposes hundreds of students to advanced manufacturing career opportunities each year. His company provides tours for the students and instructors, plus he has recruited several students from the school to bring them into mold making and machining apprenticeships at A-1.

Greg Osborn from Synventive Molding Solutions, who serves as Education Committee Chair for the SPE Mold Technologies Division, nominated Luther and also attended the presentation. “Geoff is very well respected in the mold making community as the leader of one of the largest and most technologically advanced mold shops in the Midwest,” he says. In fact, not only does Luther lead an impressive moldmaking operation, he has demonstrated his commitment to his employees’ well-being, professionally and personally, by updating his company with new, state-of-the-art machinery; providing clean, organized and well-lit work areas, spacious break rooms and kitchens, a fully-equipped gym and even a sauna.  

I happen to serve with Geoff on the Education Committee of the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) Chicago Chapter, as does Greg Osborn, and I can say that there is no lack of enthusiasm or energy in the way Geoff gives of his time and experience to help us reach out to other school districts, their instructors, advisors and students.

“Geoff has inspired us all by sharing his experience with building solid relationships at the Leyden high schools,” says Francine Petrucci, AMBA Chicago president and chair of its education committee. “His strategies for recruiting apprentices is so valuable and has provided our committee with a strong foundation for launching similar efforts on a wider scale across northern Illinois.”

As part of his recognition, Geoff was presented with a plaque for himself and a scholarship check for $500 that must be given to a trade-related school or program of the honoree’s choice. Luther has chosen Leyden Township’s metalworking program as the beneficiary.

As I said earlier, you get back what you put out there, and I believe Geoff Luther is a fine example of someone who gives back to his industry without reservation and our industry is most willing to recognize and thank him for his efforts. Congratulations, Geoff.

By: Cynthia Kustush 15. July 2016

Robust Process and Part Design: How Do You Ensure Success?



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