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Delcam’s PowerMILL makes sub-contractor attractive to OEMs

Dan Johansson, founder Stig Johansson's son, operates one of the PowerMILL seats
Machining on the Haas Super Mini Mill with programs from PowerMILL

To stay attractive to OEMs sub-contractors have to offer better technology, greater flexibility, a wider range of products and sufficient capacity – all at lower costs – than the OEMs themselves could maintain in-house. One company that has met all these requirements by investing in Delcam’s PowerMILL CAM system is Stigab AB. Founded 30 years ago in Värnamo, Sweden, by Stig Johansson, a mould and die specialist who still runs the company to this day, Stigab is a precision engineering organisation that continues to thrive where many of its kind have perished. 

Stigab designs, develops and manufactures moulds and dies for OEMs in the automotive, medical and consumer industries – exactly those industries that have proved to be amongst the fiercest advocates for outsourcing parts production to low-cost areas around the world. The company’s largest customer group is the automotive companies, in particular the two well-known Swedish marques who it supplies indirectly via their ‘top-tier’ suppliers. "Our strength lies in our ability to design and make a range of moulds – large and small – for rubber parts, drop forgings, regular plastic, soft plastic and blow-moulding applications,” says Production Manager Bengt Johansson.

Stigab has invested in PowerMILL and a Haas CNC Mini-Mill and, as a consequence, has been able to increase the volume and complexity of the moulds it produces without compromising quality and without increasing cost disproportionately.

"We bought our first PowerMILL system in Autumn 1998,” said Mr. Johansson. "We were so pleased with the results that we bought a second seat in 2001. Before we bought the Delcam software, we were using a less capable CAM system. As a result, we had lots of problems. PowerMILL is simple to use and it always does what it’s meant to do. In fact, these days,” he added, "we use PowerMILL for pretty much everything we machine.”

Equally important to the final cost and quality of the finished part is the machine used to actually make the mould, which is why around 18 months ago, the company invested in a Haas Super Mini Mill – a small, low-cost CNC milling machine with a 10,000rpm spindle. "We chose the Haas for many of the same reasons we chose PowerMILL,” said Mr. Johansson. "Price and performance. The specification was extremely competitive, as was the quality.”

Thanks to the ease with which the two products integrated, Mr. Johansson has had unswerving faith in the PowerMILL software and the Haas machine since the day they were installed. "There was nothing to it,” he remembered. "We just plugged the Delcam system into the Haas and we were downloading programs and machining that day. It couldn’t have been easier.”