Delcam’s Power Solution relieves pressure on ski boot mould maker
A combination of stylish designs and fast delivery is essential for success in the ski boot business. This brings added pressure onto the mouldmakers working in the industry such as FMW Stampi, operating in Cavaso del Tomba, in the Treviso area of Italy. It means that high-quality CADCAM software like Delcam’s Power Solution has become strategically essential.
"The ski boot business is a mixture of fashion and functionality,” explained FMW Stampi owners Carlo Frezza and Luciano Marchese. "The manufacturers introduce new designs every year, with constant changes in style and colour. Very accurate tolerances are needed on the base where the boot locks onto the ski but, for the upper areas, there is more focus on smoothness and appearance.”
Messrs. Frezza and Marchese both started in the toolmaking industry in 1970. They formed FMW in 1996 and, a year later, introduced CNC machining with Delcam software and a Mori Seiki machine. A C.B. Ferrari 4-axis machine was added in 2000, while, in 2002, the company moved into five-axis machining with a Paventa machine.
At the same time as developing its technology, the company has diversified into other markets to combat the seasonal nature of its ski boot work. While its main business is still in moulds for ski boots and motorbike boots, the company also manufactures tooling for roller blades, office chairs and sunglasses.
The complete design to manufacture process at FMW Stampi relies on Delcam software. Most new styles are supplied from customers as resin models. A combination of a Renishaw Cyclone and Delcam’s CopyCAD software is used to reverse engineer the designs. Then the PowerSHAPE CAD modeller is used to generate the different sizes required and to design the tooling. Finally, Delcam’s PowerMILL CAM system is used to cut the moulds.
All the moulds are made in aluminium, since this is easier and faster to machine than steel. Using aluminium also makes it easier to accommodate design changes by adding extra material and machining back to the new form. Sand finishing is used to give a dull texture on parts of the final surface while other areas are polished to a mirror finish.
The recent move into five-axis machining has been particularly successful at FMW Stampi. "Models are getting more complex with more undercuts,” explained Mr. Frezza. "In addition, two- and three-shot moulding is now used throughout the industry. This is not just for aesthetic reasons. It is also used to give hard and soft areas within the design, to combine strength and comfort with different materials.”
"We have been very happy with the results from PowerMILL and the Paventa machine,” added Mr. Marchese. "The machining time has been reduced but this is not so critical. The main benefit is in the quality of surface finish, which has reduced hand finishing to a minimum.”
"We had no hesitation in choosing Delcam software when we set up our own company since we had used it in our previous jobs. There are many mould manufacturers in this region and they all use Delcam software, so we knew we needed the software to be competitive,” said Mr. Marchese.
"Constant technological upgrading, mastery of the manufacturing process and full attention to the customer’s needs have become essential for a modern company, which has to successfully measure itself against the increasing global competition of today’s market,” concluded Mr. Frezza.