Delcam software reduces time to market for plastics injection moulds
By using Delcam’s PowerSHAPE CAD software for mould design, Synergetic M2M Group (M2M), a Canadian mouldmaking company based in Wallaceburg, Ontario, has reduced time to market by weeks for complex plastics moulds that meet or exceed customer expectations.
Established in 1979, M2M specialises in plastics injection moulds, casting dies and trim dies for automotive and consumer products. With more than 80,000 sq. ft. of space in three separate facilities, and international liaisons in eight countries, it is a major producer of large complex moulds, and high-quality prototype and production tools for companies like Delphi, General Motors Canada, Ford Motor Company, Magna Corp, Lear Corporation, Collins and more.
"Our objective is to continually reduce lead time to customers in the very competitive business of mouldmaking,” said Mac Mazurek, M2M CAD coordinator. "A tool to make an air dam for a large vehicle, for example, used to be a 22-week build; we now have it down to 16 weeks and it’s shrinking as we automate the process.”
"To do a large air dam part previously, we would have had to produce seven or eight different files,” Mr. Mazurek pointed out. "With PowerSHAPE, we can develop sub-assemblies of the tool independently and bring each back into a single large file. This is much more convenient for us than the old way which required us to refresh the entire design if a change was made to any piece of it. Delcam software, while it allows us to create files as large as necessary, takes less computer time and also speeds tool development.”
M2M now utilises a growing library of intelligent mould bases. "From this library, we can select an intelligent mould base shell into which we can place any mould component we require,” said Mr. Mazurek.
With PowerSHAPE, M2M can produce a preliminary layout in one to four days and a complete plastics mould design in only one to five weeks depending upon tool complexity. All the components are registered in the data base. When M2M wants to itemise them, it can easily print out a list for review by its engineers, customers, and machinists or assemblers.
Once designed, the next challenge is manufacturing. Delcam has helped there, too. Using the PowerMILL CAM system alongside PowerSHAPE has streamlined mold production at M2M. "The combination has worked well for us and taken weeks out of our design to production time,” reported Mr. Mazurek.
On the machining floor, M2M is pursuing automated plate machining and lights-out production. PowerMILL recognises whatever is specified in PowerSHAPE and creates the appropriate tool path based on the M2M library of standard tools.
"We were a 2.5D company, meaning we would model in 3D for machining purposes but our holes were done in 2D,” Mr. Mazurek said. "Now, we are just about fully integrated so we have the option of taking our previously designed mould bases and inserting our new jobs into them, saving up to 40% of the time it took to design moulds previously.”