Delcam software gives French mould maker higher quality and faster delivery
The use of Delcam's Power Solution CADCAM software has helped French mould manufacturer Moulin improve its quality and reduce its delivery times. Located in Normandy, the Moulin Group has been designing and manufacturing moulds for more than 50 years. It has always specialised in the most complex glass items, such as bottles for luxury perfumes, alcohol decanters, tableware and crystal decorations.
While the market for crystal items has declined in recent years, Moulin has gained more business from the perfume market. The company has become the only approved supplier of moulds for the bottles for all Christian Dior perfumes, as well as being the main manufacturer of tooling for the Lalique crystal company.
Despite its long traditions, Moulin has always invested in the latest technology. The company’s toolroom contains three DMG five-axis machining centres, two DMU 70 eVolution and a DMU 50V, for cutting the mould cavities, and a Mazak Integrex for milling, turning and drilling the tools. One DMU 70 has an integrated palette changer 3R for automatic overnight machining. This can produce up to sixteen mould halves overnight, depending on the complexity of the design. As well as enabling this impressive productivity, the use of five-axis machining gives better accuracy and easier accessibility into small details of complex moulds, according to company President Jacky Moulin.
All of the tooling design and machining is carried out with a combination of Delcam software. Around 70% of projects now start from drawings, rather than the epoxy models traditionally used in the glass industry. The first stage in most projects is to create a 3D product design in Delcam’s PowerSHAPE hybrid modeller.
For the more complex items that still come as models, Moulin uses a Renishaw Cyclone to digitise the shape. Delcam’s reverse engineering package, CopyCAD, is used to create surfaces from the data, which are then passed into PowerSHAPE.
Once the CAD model has been approved by the customer, tooling designs are produced in PowerSHAPE and toolpaths to machine the cavities generated by the PowerMILL CAM system. While the use of the five-axis machines has reduced the need for electrodes, they are still used when high-quality, textured finishes have been specified. All electrodes at Moulin are designed and machined with Delcam software.
"Since we have been using Delcam software, our quality has gone up and our lead times have gone down,” said Mr. Moulin. "PowerSHAPE is very powerful. Our crystal moulds often have four or five sections and can even go up to eight parts. They have very complex split lines, which PowerSHAPE always handles successfully.”
"Quality is essential to our business. The crystal pieces can cost up to 30,000 Euros, while our customers in the perfume industry would not accept anything that could damage their reputations,” added Mr. Moulin. "The Delcam software is very reliable and accurate. We never have problems in assembly – the parts always fit together perfectly.”