Achieve successful first shots by designing molds in-house instead of subcontracting to save time and money and maintain control over the design.
3D Systems Cimatron® integrated CAD/CAM software for mold design and manufacturing
- Saved 15–20% on overall delivery time for projects that include tool design and product development.
- Added customer value by collaborating closely up front for better part design.
- Maintained customer loyalty by easily accommodating ECOs without jeopardizing delivery time.
- Experienced greater control over NC toolpaths and better surface finishes.
- Reduced manufacturing time by picking smaller, successive cutting tools without cutting a lot of extra air.
- Saved 1–2 weeks of time per 10-week project—and therefore money—by identifying potential problems up front with motion analysis.
Synergy MouldWorks, Inc. is a plastic injection mold maker and custom machining shop that specializes in higher-complexity, tighter-tolerance tooling for medical, automotive, and consumer goods including cap and closure, food packaging, and cosmetics. Located in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, it reduced its mold delivery time by up to 20 percent and improved its customer service by offering close, up-front collaboration for better part design when it implemented Cimatron CAD/CAM software.
Designing Molds In-House
Previously, Synergy MouldWorks subcontracted its mold design work to engineering hosts that were using SOLIDWORKS and other software and used SURFCAM in-house for programming. When the shop opened in 2011, it switched to Cimatron for NC programming to get greater control over the NC toolpath. According to engineering manager Dave Wadley, “We noticed the power behind Cimatron and the CAD environment that enabled us to make some minor design changes. And that’s what led us to look into the mold design software aspect of it. Once we had that mold design suite, it was a natural progression for us to start designing our own molds in Cimatron.”
The switch to Cimatron for mold design resulted in a new specialty for the shop. Synergy MouldWorks now adds even more value by collaborating closely with its customers in the early stages of a project on things like improving part design for moldability and performance and mitigating any potentially high-risk part features that could lead to mold function problems down the road.
“We do get involved in a lot of new product development, some inventor-type stuff. It’s often heavily involved on the front end,” says Synergy MouldWorks president Cory Robertson.
Both Robertson and Wadley say Cimatron helps them maintain customer loyalty by easily accommodating engineering change orders (ECOs) without jeopardizing delivery time.
Robertson says that Cimatron helps them remain flexible and nimble during the initial design process. “One of the huge advantages that Cimatron offers is how easily we can accommodate part changes.”
Wadley adds, “Cimatron has a feature called the ECO manager that works well to modify your part and have it intuitively update the mold design as you go. You only have a few strings to pull to make it all come together. That's pretty valuable for us when we have to go through and change these parts three or four or five times as the mold design is kicking off.”
With Cimatron, you can show the actual product change directly in a solid model and then update the design very easily to reflect that new concept and share it with customers. There are a lot more cases where the shop can hold to a timeline as it was originally quoted because the designer was able to update designs easily on the fly versus having to go back to the customer and ask for more time. “So that's a business advantage right there. It helps us with customer loyalty because we're not dropping deliveries or asking for more time. And there's additional value in being able to accommodate their design changes and not have it impact them in any negative way,” Robertson notes.
Wadley also values the revision change alerts in Cimatron. It works seamlessly between engineering changes, design, and NC. As he updates models on the engineering side, the guys on the NC shop floor get a little status icon that comes up and lets them know that there's been a revision change and that they need to know to look for a new revision. “It's great that Cimatron does that,” Dave concludes.
New Mold-Making Features
3D Systems releases a new version of Cimatron every year as well as ongoing monthly updates of catalogs and small improvements, which Wadley says are simple to download and install, and the Cimatron control panel automatically alerts users when there are new software updates.
“I don't like to sit on the updates for the new software versions because generally there are advancements every year that I'd like to see and take advantage of,” concludes Wadley.