Changing to Delcam software keeps toolmaker competitive

Creating a Bottle Mould with the Help of PowerMILL & 5-Axis Machining

A change to Delcam’s Power Solution software has helped Italian toolmaker Meccanica Tecnica remain competitive in an increasingly demanding market. The company, which was one of the pioneers in the use of CADCAM in Italy, has recently replaced its previous systems with PowerSHAPE for tooling design, PS-Electrode for electrode design and the PowerMILL CAM system for machining.

Meccanica Tecnica was founded in 1968 by Guiseppe Ferrari to make injection mould tools and smaller press tools. Although Mr. Ferrari now plays a smaller part in the company, it has remained a family business, with his sons Nicola and Luca, and his daughter Nicolletta all working within it.

While Meccanica Tecnica has continued to produce a wide range of tooling, it has specialised in blow moulds for bottles, and injection moulds for caps and re-sealable tops for drink cartons. Its customers include many of the largest packaging companies in Europe. "Other companies do not have our experience in this sector and so don’t have our ability to solve problems or to give our high level of quality and service,” claimed Nicola Ferrari.

Meccanica Tecnica was on of the earliest adopters of CADCAM, CNC machining and EDM in Italy. The company acquired its first CAD system in 1981 and integrated CADCAM software in 1989. "Fifteen years ago, when we first started using these methods, not many toolmaking companies had this kind of equipment,” remembered Mr. Ferrari.

"This early move into computer technology helped us become the exclusive supplier for some very large companies,” he added. "However, that did not mean we could become complacent. With so many important customers, we must continue to have the best equipment. We changed to Delcam systems because we knew we needed something more efficient than our existing software.”

A key factor that prompted the change was the introduction of five-axis machining with a C.B. Ferrari machine. "I had heard that PowerMILL was very powerful in five-axis and that has proved to be the case,” commented Mr. Ferrari. "In particular, the surface finish we can achieve is much better.”

"Our customers expect a quick response and PowerMILL gives shorter programming times and faster machining,” he claimed. "For some of the most popular caps, we have to make hundreds of cavities for a new design. In these cases, even a small saving in the machining time for each cavity can have a big effect on our productivity and delivery times.”

"With assistance from Delcam Italia, the transition to the new software was very fast,” he added. "Within six weeks of the software being installed, all of our toolpaths were being created in PowerMILL”.