Newsletter

11.05.2003-»

1. Tool trialing is key part of mould business
Having established 100% on-time delivery, mould and die maker made a profit during its first year and is on course to increase profitability, helped by offering a tool trialing service.
Mark Bourne, MD of Bourne Technical Mouldings is proving that the ability to grasp new opportunities remains, as always, the route to business success. The company, which has already established an impressive record of 100% on-time delivery, made a profit during its first year and is on course to increase profitability in its second year, when sales are expected to increase by 40%.
One of the major strengths of the new company is its ability to provide tool trialing services.
Mark's message is clear, "We want to let UK toolmakers know that we see tool trialing as a key part of the business and we are keen to discuss what our new company has to offer with toolmakers across the country." Mark is also keen to stress the continuity of the new operation and its loyalty to UK toolmakers, who will be asked to quote for all potential tooling.
In addition to production moulding and tool trialing the company is also offering tooling project management services and Mark believes the combined specialist skills of Bourne Technical Mouldings give it a real competitive advantage, as issues are tackled from both a toolmaking and a mouldmaking perspective, resulting in the creation of better solutions for customers.
2. Guide to rotational moulding published
Rotational moulding is a very competitive alternative to blow moulding, thermoforming and injection moulding for the manufacture of hollow plastic parts. It offers designers the chance to produce stress-free articles, with uniform wall thickness and complex shapes. Typical moulded parts include bulk containers, tanks, canoes, toys, medical equipment, automotive parts and ducts.
Rapra's new Practical Guide to Rotational Moulding describes the basic aspects of rotational moulding and includes information on the latest state-of-the-art developments in the industry. A key feature of the approach is the use of photographs wherever possible to illustrate the points that are being made. The Guide is written by Roy Crawford and Mark Kearns, world-renowned experts in the field of rotational moulding.
The industry is becoming more competitive and customers are making increasing demands in terms of part quality and performance. Rotational moulding is becoming a highly sophisticated manufacturing method for plastic parts.
The authors describe the new mould and machine features, and advanced process control technologies being developed. This gives designers, and end users, access to new opportunities to create novel and innovative plastic mouldings.
The ever-changing nature of this industry means that it is very important for those involved in the manufacturing operation to keep abreast of the advances that are being made. The Practical Guide to Rotational Moulding will prove valuable to those new to the industry, as well as those who are experienced in some aspects of the process.
The guide is retailed at GBP50.(post and packing)
3. Products produced directly from electronic data
Laser-sintering, offering benefits such as freedom of design and functional integration, is increasingly establishing itself as the key technology for e-Manufacturing.
At Euromold EOS, the world-leading manufacturer of laser-sintering systems, is presenting a number of new products and their applications with reference to practical examples. Eosint M - Direct Metal Laser-Sintering (DMLS) continues to expand into more application areas, and EOS will be presenting a number of new products to support these trends as well as exhibiting examples to demonstrate the state of the art. In the tooling area (DirectTool), two key trends have been observed recently: rapid tooling is getting more rapid, and ever larger series quantities are being produced in laser-sintered production tooling. EOS recently introduced parameter sets for laser-sintering their "20 am powders" in layer thicknesses of 40 micron and 60 micron, thereby enabling considerable savings in building time. In combination with novel and optimized tooling concepts, DirectTool offers the possibility to produce moulded parts in series quality in a very short time. The other main application area of DMLS is DirectPart, the building of positive parts. Rapid Product Innovations has done several projects where batches of up to several hundred metal parts have been built for their customers with very short delivery times and at low cost. Also here EOS is presenting new developments for increased customer benefit: an advanced support generator enables the quick and easy creation of support structures which are easy to remove from the part. This means that more complicated geometries can be built, and post-processing is reduced to a minimum.
Eosint P - in the field of direct laser-sintering of plastic parts, a tremendous growth of series production is developing. Also within the Eosint P product line, several new products are being presented to increase both the product quality and the productivity, in both cases making the technology even better suited for series production. A new aluminium-filled polyamide material Alumide promises smoother surfaces, even better finishing properties and excellent accuracy in the direct manufacture of plastic parts. Especially for the double laser system Eosint P 700, EOS presents upgrade packages which lead to further improvements in detail resolution and productivity. Higher functionality in data processing - in addition to the above mentioned news for increase of suitability for series production, EOS presents a new generation of its innovative data processing software EOSPACE for automated surface-oriented placing for optimum use of capacity.


11.05.2003-»
1. Laser sintering offers flexible plastics parts
The EOS stand at this year's TCT Show will present to visitors a range of plastics components that have been laser sintered directly using its EOSINT P machines and the latest powders. Noteworthy are the recently evolved materials such as alumina that allow flexible, thin-wall plastics products to be produced that are sufficiently robust to be bent and twisted.
There will also be examples of direct tooling, including a plastics injection mould made from layers of 20 micron steel powder having fine detail resolution and high surface finish, together with the resulting plastic components. EOSINT M machines are manufactured by EOS for these applications. A further recent development is the production cast parts 'live' by laser sintering using the EOSINT S 750 machine.
The flexibility of this technology allows the manufacture of complex sand cores and moulds for prototypes, one-off parts and spare parts as well as small series runs offering high accuracy, resolution and surface quality. EOS has also laser sintered components directly in zirconia silicate a ceramic material normally used for casting aluminium alloys or low-alloy steels. The possibility of manufacturing ceramic cores and shells directly by laser sintering for investment casting and sand casting is of considerable interest to the foundry trade.
The company has adopted the expression 'e-Manufacturing' to encompass volume production as well as prototyping using its laser sintering machines. As part of the TCT seminar programme, on the last day of the show (13th November) at 2.45 pm, EOS' Regional Manager for the UK and Eire, Stuart Jackson, will present a paper entitled "Trends and Prospects for e-Manufacturing using Laser Sintering". The previous day at 9.30 am, an EOS customer from the Netherlands, Freedom of Creation, will talk of their vision of a 'designer' retail utopia where consumer products are stored virtually and only produced on demand for the individual using rapid manufacturing techniques.
2. Diecasting dry release agent speeds cycle times
A dry release agent is Kluber's answer to the high demands of alloy diecasting squeeze casting and " Klubertec HP 1 - " is the latest pioneering novelty to hit the market.
Compared to conventional electrostatically applied aqueous die release agents where extremely slow cycle-time and inconsistent die temperatures are apparent, the new product no only shows faster cycle times and excellent repeatability - blowing and cooling are no longer required and the mould service life is extended too. In addition, the powder system confers a number of processing advantages as experienced during recent trials at the University of Oxford Department of Materials:
1."Excellent cavity coverage: water-based spray systems have proved extremely directional, requiring multiple passes to coat the entire cavity, whereas the electrostatic attraction reduces this to a single sweep."
2."As result of (1) we have found it easier to maintain repeatable lubrication levels and cycle times, particularly important for us in the work we do.
This is not always easy, as we are not casting with the same personnel on a regular basis, so ease of use for new operators is important."
3."We require fairly high die temperatures ( about 300degC and above) for some of our alloys.
The powder system allows us to attain such temperatures rapidly and maintain them; our oil thermal control unit can do its job properly, maintaining and controlling die temperature.“
4."I am sure we are using much lower quantities of lubrication, although as you are aware our low throughput of parts makes this more difficult to assess quantitatively."
A vision becomes reality.
The development of "klubertec - " Provides you with tomorrow's technology today.
3. Latest guide includes nano-filler technology
The use of particulate fillers in polymers has a long history, and they continue to play a very important role today. The aim of Rapra's new Handbook, Particulate-filled Polymer Composites, Second Edition, is to provide a guide to the fundamentals of the use of particulate fillers, which is accessible to people from the many different industries and disciplines who have an interest in the subject.
In the relatively short time since the publication of the first edition in 1995, much has changed and all the chapters have been updated and revised, and a completely new chapter covering the latest developments in nano-filler technology is included. Particulate-filled Polymer Composites begins by considering the selection and use of particulate fillers, including factors such as cost, purity, particle size and shape, and density.
This is followed by discussion of the different types of particulate filler, the characterisation of filler surfaces and their modification. The current practices for preparing particulate filled polymers are described, as are characterisation of the compounds and the relationship between compounding route and material properties. The use of particulate fillers in specific classes of polymers (elastomers, thermoplastics, and thermosets) is described. Effects of other additives, the properties of the filler, and the performance, processing and application of the filled polymer are considered.
The author, Roger Rothon, is now an independent consultant, specialising in the production, surface modification and application of particulate fillers for polymer composites. He previously worked for ICI for over 25 years, where he was responsible for several new product developments, including new types of coupling agents for silica and calcium carbonates and novel conductive and magnetic fillers. After leaving ICI, he was Technical Manager for Flamemag International, where he led the development of a new process for the production of magnesium hydroxide flame retardant fillers. In 1996 he was made a visiting Professor at the Manchester Metropolitan University, where he is now involved in research on filler surface modifiers.
Particulate-filled Polymer Composites retails at GBP 100 (plus postage and packaging.


10.30.2003-»
1. Transfer press die change made in five minute
Die change can be accomplished within five minutes on any size of TMX power press that features a blank feeder that senses and corrects double blank misfeeds without having to stop production. A total transfer system, Aida's TMX is especially designed to meet the demands required by today's automotive manufacturing industry.
AIDA's TMX Series offers faster production speeds coupled with quick-die changing and continuous blank feed systems.In fact, a die change can be accomplished within five minutes on any tonnage TMX.
Equipped with a transfer feed, the TMX's blank de-stacker is able to operate in a continuous run mode for non-stop parts production.The TMX's blank feeding device also helps increase productivity by sensing and correcting double blank misfeeds and reloading without the operator stopping the press. Featuring an extremely rigid tie-rod frame, the Aida TMX's eight point square slide guide and wider spaced slide connections combine for unmatched resistance to slide tipping from off-center loads while maintaining dynamic accuracy during stroking. The TMX also features Aida's unique Hydraulic Overload Protection system. When an overload occurs, an oil-filled chamber collapses, triggering Aida's oil escape system which responds in just 10 milliseconds - the fastest response in the industry.
The Aida link motion - simplified and perfected by Aida, can reduce drawing velocity by up to 40 percent and remains slow through the bottom of the stroke - resulting in improved part quality and enhanced tool life. Aida is a leading pioneer in the metalforming industry with over 85 years of innovation. Devoting five percent or more of its consolidated sales to research and development, Aida continues to provide global metalforming solutions. Recent examples include the tie-rod straightside NST and unitized frame straightside NSU. These high performance presses have been built with rigid construction and are especially suited for multi-purpose job applications.
Exporting presses to more than 50 countries, Aida has built a global operations system that focuses on world markets to foster greater efficiency in all operational activities - from development to manufacturing, sales and service.
2. Moulder's robots reduce cycle times and scrap
Not only have robots proved themselves in substituting effectively for operator skills, they have also made an economic case for usage by giving L and D reduced product cycle times and reduced scrap ratios.Yorkshire-based L and D Moulding has added a 2nd Sandretto UK-supplied robot to its increasing production capabilities.
According to managing director, David Kendall, the family-owned business has been growing at an average rate of some 15% since its foundation in January 1992. 'We needed to automate to keep pace with our ongoing business demand,' he says. 'After visiting Interplas 2002 and comparing some options we decided to go with Sandretto UK. Our first robot then paid for itself within six months.The only downside is that we probably should have done it sooner.' Not only have the new Sandretto UK-supplied robots proved themselves in substituting effectively for operator skills, they have also made an economic case for usage by giving L and D reduced product cycle times and reduced scrap ratios: The first installation lowered the previous product cycle time by over 20% and virtually eliminated a scrap ratio of about 1% from the previous production pattern.
The 2nd installation demanded some ingenious programming from the Sandretto and L and D team.The requirement was to automatically stack an output of 99mm, 14gm circular closures from a 8 impression tool into a 5-row box carton, 34 layers deep. 'Our box packaging format was set and unchangeable,' said Kendall, 'and for a time it seemed that four into five would not go evenly - at least on a simple basis.We needed a production system that could tackle the logic required and also deliver the cost-effectiveness.' L and D set Sandretto UK a challenge to build a system to pack the caps into a box. L and D also needed to use the system for standard pick and place applications when this particular job was not operating. The solution used a standard servo-drive linear robot equipped with a vacuum gripper that gripped the eight caps and reconfigured them within the constraints of the box. A carefully worked programming sequence ensured an even filling of the carton to capacity and the automatic removal of the finished carton from the loading area. The newly supplied robot has also reduced a previous cycle time of 16.5 seconds by over 12% - freeing additional capacity from the moulding press - and has also eliminated scrap issues. The new system is now playing its part in delivering the 20 million plus caps and closures that L and D produces annually.
Chris Whitlam, national sales manager for Sandretto UK's robots and ancillary range believes that the classic design and ease-of-use of the Dal Maschio robots has played a key role in their success. 'There are a set of simple and effective set up procedures that require little interference and maintenance once the job is running. The robot is easy to use - but at the same time can be deployed to handle a complex stacking task such as that recently required by L and D,' he says.
3. Laser very fine grain metal powders to make moulds
Very fine-grained metal powders have been introduced to the UK by EOS Electro Optical Systems, Warwick, capable of forming 20 micron laser-sintered layers when using the company's EOSINT M rapid manufacturing machines. Complementing existing 50 micron layer powders, they enable the production of metal prototypes or tooling moulds that are stronger, have greater detail resolution and better surface finish.
DirectMetal 20 is a bronze-based powder whereas DirectSteel 20, as its name implies, produces sintered steel parts directly from a CAD model. All components thus manufactured may be welded, machined, shot-peened, polished and coated, if required. Applications of the 20 micron bronze material include the production of functional metal prototypes and injection mould tooling suitable for runs of at least a few tens of thousands of thermoplastic components. Improved surface finish reduces the amount of hand polishing necessary and the higher density sintering results in sealed surfaces. DirectMetal 50, by contrast, has a porous surface that can be advantageous for self-venting tooling and allows optional infiltration with epoxy resin. The 20 micron version of DirectSteel enables heavy duty plastic injection moulds and inserts to be produced, capable of tool life up to and above 100,000 parts. Die casting moulds sintered from the powder are suitable for small series production of light alloy components up to, say, a few thousand parts. Owing to its strength, a functional metal prototype made of DirectSteel 20 may be heavily loaded without breaking. Direct metal laser sintered parts are typically built using a skin-and-core strategy, sometimes with an inner and an outer skin.
Parameters for both of the new powders are 20 microns layer thickness for the skin, 60 micron layers for the core. However, for faster build rates, the skin and core layers may be 40 and 80 microns respectively, or 60 microns each.
German-owned EOS presented at the last EuroMold exhibition in Hannover a number of practical examples of the use of these 20 micron layer powders. In one case, a Swedish company built tooling for the head of an innovative golf putter using DirectMetal 20. A prototype series of 3,000 parts was delivered in six weeks and the same tool is being used to produce a further 10,000 heads in PC/PBT (polycarbonate blended with polybutylene terephthalate). Another example was a Belgian firm that used DirectSteel 20 to produce a mould for making 50,000 PA6+15%GF (polyamide-6 plus 15% glass fibre) components for the interior of a Mercedes passenger car; and in a further ongoing project, the company is making more than 200,000 pulley frames per month in POM (polyoxymethylene) using a DirectSteel 20 tool.



10.08.2003-»
1.Learn more about multi-moulding at Fakuma
The Sandretto name will be on show next month at Germany's plastics and rubber exhibition, Fakuma 2003 - held from 14th - 18th October 2003 at the New Friedrichshafen Exhibition Centre in Freiderichshafen, Southern Germany.
Sandretto will exhibit as part of parent company The Cannon Group and to the fore will be Sandretto's capabilities in multi shot moulding, as featured on the Sandretto Nove Multi moulding machines.
At Booth 1300, Hall 1, a three-component moulding cell for in-mould moulding and assembly - consisting of a two-component injection moulding machine Series Nove Multi 220/860/185 from Sandretto and a multi-component retrofit unit PlugXPress WKT - will be seen in production.
Terry O'Reilly, Sandretto UK managing director notes that 'Sandretto's popularity through Europe for technical excellence and multi-shot moulding continues.
Our German sister company, Sandretto Deutschland, is greatly looking forward to showing our capabilities in this area at the Fakuma show.' The Sandretto Multi series - with toggle mould clamping units of 1300 - 4850kN - and five different injection units can be combined with six additional additive units which can be operated independently.
Subject to the moulded part and tool, the additive units can be arranged in three different positions, vertically, horizontally, or angular above the standard Sandretto injection unit.
Quality and reliability in combination with state-of-the-art control technique guarantee an economic and effective production.
The Sandretto series NOVE Multi as well as all other Sandretto injection moulding machines is equipped with the SEF 2000 control device, providing easy and effective handling.
All hydraulic and electric components are conform to the European standard.
As the series NOVE Multi offers a variety of possible options, it can be easily extended and adjusted to various applications.


2.Large fast prototyping system capacity available
3T RPD are market leaders in the manufacture of functional prototypes using Selective Laser Sintering technology, in extremely short leadtimes. With total sintering capacity exceeding that found anywhere else in the UK, 3T run state of the art equipment enabling them to translate CAD data into 3D reality.
Following the recent opening of a Sales Office in Telford to strengthen presence in the North and Midlands regions, Stuart Offer has joined 3T as Technical Sales Engineer to concentrate on developing business in the Southern region. Based in Newbury, Stuart has 15 years Sales and Marketing experience in the Aerospace and Downstream Oil Distribution industries, supplying products and services tailored to meet customers1 needs. Paul Edwards, Business Development Manager, is now permanently based at the offices in Telford, which are just half a mile from the town centre。It is intended to expand upon the existing programme of training seminars by holding future events in Telford, thereby making them accessible to more of 3T1s customers.
With the latest acquisition of an EOS P700 Laser Sintering machine at the facility in Newbury, this further consolidates 3T's commitment to the Rapid Prototyping industry and supports moves made earlier this year to focus on their core business activity. The P700 will allow the vast majority of parts to be built in a single piece, with a build volume of 700 x 380 x 580mm. The build speed of the twin laser system will also have a beneficial impact on delivery times and allow even the largest jobs currently considered to be shipped within 7 days.
Tim Plunkett, CEO of 3T says "With our high volume production capability, the ability to offer coloured and coated components, as well as ongoing research and development into post processing, we are continuing to make technological breakthroughs in the developing Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing markets."


3.Advanced rapid prototyping materials are coming
DSM Somos, world leaders in innovative materials technology for the rapid prototyping industry, has announced that it is nearing commercialization of Somos ProtoComposites, liquid materials containing fillers allowing for a broader range of applications.
ProtoComposites are complex materials in which two or more distinct, complementary substances, especially metals, ceramics, glasses or polymers, combine to produce functional properties not possible using individual components. ProtoComposite materials are a result of spending a significant amount of time and resources investigating the potential for ACT-SL (Advanced Composite Technology for StereoLithography).
Initially, the Somos ProtoComposites family will consist of two product groups: Somos ProtoTool and Somos SolidCast. Somos ProtoTool is a filled material with high heat resistance providing 'best-of-class' tensile strength, flexural strength and modulus plus a high Heat Deflection Temperature (HDT) 。ProtoTool has been developed as an answer to the problem represented by current resins that lose significant strength during the thermal cycling necessary to achieve high HDT. Somos SolidCast, is hollow-spherically-filled material with low density and excellent investment casting pattern properties. SolidCast will enable solid investment casting material that eliminates drainage and sealing concerns associated with a honeycomb structure, enhancing accuracy and surface quality. Moreover, this material is characterized by a low density capable of producing large parts without the weight associated with other resins.
DSM Somos has commercialized an entire range of ProtoFunctional resins to respond to the needs of new product development and industrial design.
Among the newest ProtoFunctional materials to be launched is the Raven 7600 series which creates dark coloured, rigid prototypes with high humidity and mechanical resistance; WaterClear 10100 series, the industry1s first transparent, tough and durable resins; and the Somos 9100 series which allows material properties similar to polypropylene, with superior mechanical memory.


10.08.2003-»
1. Doncaster mould and die maker shows how to win
Mason Pinder Toolmakers has invested more than GBP 700,000 in 'state-of-the-art'machine tools at Doncaster to manufacture injection mould tooling for the European automotive industry.
The two principal machine tools included in this investment, an ONA spark eroder and a Mecof 5-axis high speed milling machine, allow rapid precision machining of individual injection mould tools up to 25 tonnes in weight.
This enables Mason Pinder to make tools and dies for vehicle bumpers, fascias, wheel arch liners and other trim parts up to 4 metres in length.
It also allows full envelope moulding tools for washing machines, widescreen TVs and other large consumer durables, and 'street furniture' such as wheelie bins.
The new capacity, allied to an automated factory management system, gives Mason Pinder capacity to lead European toolmakers.
The ONA, for instance, is claimed to be the largest in Europe and can machine two large tools simultaneously, using fully automatic control and tool changing.
"Over the last three years we have transformed our capability," says Mason Pinder technical director Ken Barrass. "Our 'direct to steel' automated factory management system allows us to cut lead times substantially, as well as enabling very rapid modifications to be built in, sometimes within hours rather than days."
In addition to the two large machines, Mason Pinder has also invested more than GBP 200,000 in the past two years to provide product design and improved tool design capability using 'state of the art' CAD/CAM software.




10.01.2003-»

1.Toolmakers merge to offer total solution service
Kent based Millaber and Folkestone Precision Engineering have combined their 60+ years experience in rapid prototyping, toolmaking, checking fixture manufacture and low volume production to form a new company called Advanced Tooling Systems UK (ATS-UK).
The merging of the two companies individual services places ATS-UK in a unique position in the marketplace as the only UK based company that can genuinely offer a total solution service to the plastics and associated industries from initial concept through to full production.
Adrian Gander-Group Managing Director said "With the formation of ATS-UK we have created a market defining company, a number of our competitors claim that they can offer the level of services that ATS-UK can but none of them offer it all in house and with the level of technical management that comes as standard to ATS-UK. This truly puts us in a class of our own!" Operating out of two sites, Rapid prototyping and Fixture manufacture in Maidstone, Toolmaking and Moulding in Folkestone, ATS-UK currently employs around 50 staff and turnover is expected to exceed GBP 7.5 million this Year.
Mark Terry-Group Business Development Manager said: "Although the main focus is currently centred around large automotive projects we firmly believe that the very high quality of our services and the levels of support and project management demanded by the major Automotive OEM's will be of benefit to many players within the non-automotive sector and this is an area in which we will be actively pursuing new business particularly in the aerospace and medical industries, indeed we have just secured our first aerospace tooling contract for the new Airbus A380 which we plan to expand upon very quickly".
ATS-UK is linked with the European ATS Group within which lies a very strong manufacturing base in large scale Toolmaking (Moulds of up-to 185t have been manufactured!), Aerospace fixture manufacture and Project Management services all of which strengthens ATS-UK' s ability to manage very large and complex projects with each division being centrally managed and contracts being placed according to each sites relevant capabilities.

2.Die spottingin house cut mould tool lead time
'Die spotting press intruduction helped mould maker to shorten total mold manufacturing lead-time - to 30 days for simpler tools and 60 to 65 days on larger, more complex tools.
' Purchasing from a local die spotting press manufacturing company - CMTI - a 2500kN die spotting press at the end of last year proved to be a right investment decision taken by Dukheung Engineering's management.
Before the introduction of the press, all molds designed and manufactured in Dukheung Engineering had to be sent out for spotting to a spotting service outsourcing company.
This not only cost the company much, but also, as the supplier was not using its presses only for our molds, it was consuming 4 - 5 days before the mold was back in house.
Now, apart from other advantages that 180 degree tilting bolster die spotting press gives, like i.e safe for mold working on it, Dukheung Engineering is able to deliver to its customers with tools at least 3 - 5 days faster than before.
The total lead-time Dukheung Engineering are able to achieve now for smaller and less complex shaped parts tooling was reduced to 30 days and for the largest in weight and demanding much work on it molds - 60 to 65 days.
Dukheung Engineering is a medium size, ISO9001/QS9000 certified Korean injection mold and die casting mold maker with an anual turnover close to US$3m.
The company specializes in tools for medium and large size parts with mold weight from 2 - 15 tons mainly for automotive, electronics sector.
Over 50% of manufactured tools are exported, mostly to Japan and Europe。


09.26.2003-»
1. Hi-tech mouldmaker competes successfully in Europe
Since its set up in Sligo,Ireland in 1988, Avenue Mould has become an established supplier of high precision, high cavitation injection volume moulds, competing for business with leading Swiss, French, Italian and US mouldmakers.
A programme of hi-tech investment has seen this progressive company receive the BASF-sponsored Toolmaker of the Year award at the The Plastic Industry Awards, with quality of product, complete project support and investment in design and manufacturing all receiving top marks.
Felim McNeela, Avenue Mould's Managing Director, believes the manufacture of high volume moulds places particular demands on the toolmaker. 'A high volume production mould represents a considerable investment on the part of the customer, both in terms of mould cost and on going running cost,' says McNeela.
Avenue's plant houses a Roders High-Speed machining centre with integrated Fanuc robot, CNC machining centres, CNC turning, surface and cylindrical grinding, two Charmilles Roboform 20 CNC spark eroders, fitted with Erowa tooling, and an automated Roboform 35 fitted with Erowa's PX robot.The Charmilles Roboform 35 with its compact design has proved to be easily programmed and is highly effective when running both graphite and copper electrodes.Wear rates are minimal while key machine functions such as corner locking and orbiting are easily incorporated at the programme creation stage.Fed by Erowa's Robot PX, the large magazine has sufficient room for workpieces and electrodes to keep a machine working autonomously.
Avenue is also perhaps unique among Irish and UK toolmaker's to have a Moldflow flow and cooling analysis system. The company has further enhanced its Moldflow technology with the recent purchase of Moldflow's MPX product in its Mould Test and Validation Department, Mouldflow MPX enables consistent, systematic mould set up, identifying a robust moulding window, monitors process quality and automatically corrects for process variations. On Avenue's shopfloor orderly equipment layout and meticulous housekeeping are a feature.
'We deal with multinationals, particularly many in the health care sector and need to operate to their standards and rely on our suppliers to meet the same high standards. Success in the Awards shows this has been realised and recognised in the industry.' concluded McNeela.

2. Technique simplifies production leak testing
By combining differential pressure with digital mass flow, the new test technique automatically selects the ideal fill and stabilization times based on the volume and temperature of the product under test.
The new technique is ideal for testing products that can have changes in size, variances in flexibility, and differing temperatures.
Lynx Di-Flow model leak testers manufactured by Adar Corporation use the new patent-pending test method. The recently-developed technology improves the overall performance of the tester by precisely controlling the test pressure in a leak tester that uses a thermal mass flow sensor as the primary measurement device. It also has the added benefit of shortening the time to fill the product or to evacuate the product when using vacuum.
"This new test type really cuts cycle time and makes the leak test even more repeatable" says Greg Lewis of Innovative Blow-Molding Solutions, one of the first Di-Flow users. "My testers were already fast and repeatable, but now I simply can't make a mistake. I'm now nearly guaranteed to get the absolute best long-term accuracy at the fastest rate even when my parts drift around in temperature."
Historically, establishing the optimum fill or evacuation times as well as the stabilization phase has been through trial and error or by guesswork. The fill and stabilization intervals are nearly always set too long simply as a safety factor. Now, with the combination of pressure decay and thermal mass flow, these important test parameters are automatically established by the product itself.
The Di-Flow test technique is especially useful for testing parts that are over one liter in volume.
It is also useful in porosity testing and in applications where both speed and consistency are demanded. Adding very little to the initial equipment cost, the new Di-Flow technique can pay for itself many times over in reduced cycle time, increased reliability, and peace of mind.
A scientific white paper explaining the Di-Flow technique is available from Adar Corporation.

3. Robots purpose-built to serve injection moulders
Leading supplier of injection moulding machinery, Sandretto UK, has added a new top-of-the-range linear robot to its portfolio of plastics ancillary and automation equipment.
The Dal Maschio-manufactured 3E 2500 Robot is purpose-built for plastics injection moulding machines with locking forces of 820 -1800 tonne. It has strokes of 3500mm beam 2500 vertical and 1500 demould. All of these axes are servo drive. The new robot has been designed to offer a high level of positional repeatability with minimal vibrationt
The robot comes supplied with pre-set sequences that ensure the most inexperienced operative can program it with minimal training. Once programmed the robot cycle can be optimised while the robot is in production hence ensuring maximum productivity is achieved.The robot control system maintenance page has the routine maintenance schedule built in and automatically notifies the technicians when the maintenance is due. A remote pendant allows the operator to step the robot through the active sequence to a safe place if stopped, due to a fault mid cycle or to check the sequence prior to it being run automatically.
The 3E 2500 Robot now joins the Sandretto UK family of automation and ancillary products.
Sandretto UK has achieved substantial growth in this area over the past two years and continue to grow at an increasing rate.
'It's a distinct advantage,' says Whitlam, 'being able to offer a full suite of automation and ancillary equipment together with the main injection moulding machine.' The Sandretto UK automation and ancillary business is divided fairly evenly between new business and the large constituency of existing Sandretto moulding machine users.
Many of these have come to add a variety of Sandretto UK ancillaries to an existing moulding machine purchase.
The list of Sandretto ancillary supplies also includes; conveyors; granulators; hopper loaders; dehumidifying driers; central materials handling; masterbatch dosing units, mould temperature controllers, chillers and airblast cooling systems.



09.19.2003-»
1.Website for IMD - or FIM – launched
Autotype has launched a dedicated website (autotype.com/imd) that provides important information and guidance on one of the most effective methods ofcreating 3D product housings, component parts and lenses.
In Mould Decoration (IMD) also referred to as Film Insert Moulding (FIM) produces versatile effects and durable surfaces that provide significant cost savings due to the potential for greater component integration and Autotypes new website has been specially created for those who want to know more.Brimming with specific details, the new website guides visitors through the IMD process,describing every stage from flat-film decoration to film insertion and moulding. There is also information relating to application areas and links to key industry events.
One of the main objectives of the website is to highlight the benefits of IMD, including the potential for long-life parts, custom textures and high-quality finishes.
Maurizio Fantato, Marketing Communications Manager at Autotype, said :”the website launch reflected the company's reputation for providing leading-edge support and information. Autotype has been at the forefront of the development of some of the most innovative printing methods, introducing products and techniques that push printing boundaries. IMD is a phenomenal way of decorating component parts and Autotype will continue to lead the industry in this area. This latest development within our main web site is part of a major investment in information technology and e-communication that will allow us to provide fast and detailed response to specific enquiries, and technical staff on-line to assist our customers, wherever they may be."


2.IMD process reduces production sequences

Tim Wright, Business Manager IMD for Autotype International, will be unveiling some of the secrets of In-Mould Decoration at the Plastics in Automotive Interiors Conference, taking place in Frankfurt, Germany, on the 8th and 9th of October.
In-Mould Decoration (IMD) is a relatively new and cost effective process for the production of automotive interior panels, including dashboar, HVAC and PRNDL components and assemblies. Compared to other processes, IMD can reduce the number of production stages and component parts, thereby cutting both production time and cost, while offering the potential to improve the quality, complexity and durability of finished products.
His presentation to the Plastics in Automotive Interiors Conference will focus on the application of IMD for automotive interiors, including the ways in which component integration can reduce tooling and assembly costs and the most recent innovations within this expanding field. Additionally, he will address the way in which IMD technology can successfully replicate wood and metal finishes for 3D parts using the Autotype Autoflex range of films, which were specifically developed for shallow, medium and deep draw applications.
Tim Wright has over 20 years experience in the development and application of plastics and associated chemistry and is one of the world's leading experts on IMD technology.The company produces speciality films and chemicals for the automotive and electronic device markets and for the screen printing and digital imaging processes. Autotype supports its technical innovation by in depth application knowledge and on the ground support for its customers worldwide from its bases in Europe, the Americas and Asia.
This has recently been supplemented by the launch of its IMD dedicated website (autotype.com/imd) that provides detailed information on all stages of the IMD process in addition to highlighting the features and benefits it provides.

3. Dedicated cell uses precision injection moulder
Dedicated cell will produce a high-volume insert-moulded technical engineering component for a Tier 1 automotive customer.
Precision Engineering Plastics (PEP) of Tottenham, North London, has added a Nove S 2200kN Sandretto injection moulding machine together with a Servo Robot loading system and an automatic packing station to the company's sixteen machine (200-3000kN) engineering moulding facility.
This addition compliments the recent installation of 2-shot capability at PEP. The new Sandretto machine is intended for a dedicated cell which will produce a high-volume insert-moulded technical engineering component for a Tier 1 automotive customer. This addition to the higher tonnage range strengthens PEP's position in the specialist close-tolerance sector serving the automotive, engineering, electrical and medical industries.
Mike Cox, PEP Sales Director, explains that the equipment for the new cell is being purchased to meet the specific requirements of an existing customer, as well as to meet PEP's commitment to stay ahead of the field in terms of expertise and equipment. Cox says :'”we have built the business by specialising in technical moulded components and by differentiating ourselves from other moulders in the UK through a ‘partnership philosophy’which we adopt with every client."
Cox is confident that PEP's continued investment in new machinery and a "one stop shop" approach will continue to pay dividends: “'We are a QS9000 accredited company with in-house tooling expertise, modern state-of-the-art equipment and a firm commitment to full project management. We like to think of ourselves as an extension of the customer's operation,committed to moving forward with our customers by offering the complete moulding package.”



09.15.2003-»
1. Injection moulder increases UK sales and spares
Leading supplier of injection moulding machinery, Sandretto UK, has reached the GBP 1 million figure for spares and stock held on behalf of its UK injection moulding customers.
“We realise that a £1m stockholding figure is a large commitment for us to carry, but our customers demand it.” says Managing Director, Terry O'Reilly. ”We believe that it gives security and value - in terms of the time and money saved for the customer. Demand for these items and services is also high.”
Jeff Taylor, operations manager, runs the service and spare parts programme at Sandretto UK. says that the company's pro-active sales and marketing in these areas has not only built up value-for-money service contracts for customers, but has driven down spare part costs. For example, in the consumables area, Sandretto UK filters now cost the customer some 20% less than they did 12 months ago, with heater bands costing some 25% less.
Sandretto Group purchasing has been demanding keener prices from its suppliers worldwide. And where these have not been achieved, purchasing has switched to those suppliers that can offer Sandretto the required value-for-money.
”And it's exactly the same product,Quality, for us, is never compromised.” notes Taylor. “However, we have secured the necessary cost savings for our customers.' For Sandretto UK another keen area for customer care is in the service of the electronic control of the injection moulding machines, in particular; the replacement and service of printed circuit boards (PCBs).”
The key service here is Sandretto UK's Exchange Repair Electronics System, whereby any failed or failing customer PCB is replaced immediately with another that is identical; fit for purpose, warranted, and gives significant cost savings over a new replacement part.
Taylor notes :“The versatility of the exchange programme - 'we supply electronics to all kinds and all ages of machinery - up to 30 years old,' says Taylor - and average savings of 70% over new part replacement have made it a very popular scheme with Sandretto's customers.” For Taylor, low cost spares, exchange programmes and other supplier activities are all part of the benefit that can accrue from a service contract.
It is clear and proven that machines under service contract are far far more reliable than those that are not. We estimate that the likelihood of failure or breakdown is 60% higher without a service contract in place. The likelihood of serious damage occurring - and therefore machine replacement - is also that much higher.

2. Injection mould tools produced even more quickly
With the ever increasing pressures on both delivery times and costs, Toolcraft Plastics of Swindon have set out methods for the quick production of injection mould tools.
The ability to import client drawings from a wide range of formats such as DXF, DWG, IGES, Pro-Engineer, SolidWorks and STL reduces design time. Fully equipped with modern CAD/CAM facility and up-to-date mould flow analysis packages mould designs can be optimised at Toolcraft and any proposed parts or tool changes relayed to the client using E-drawings without additional software on client's systems.
By judicious choice of material grades, tools in aluminium alloys, capable of 100's of thousands of operations can be made often up to 30% cheaper than the equivalent steel product. They are easier and faster to machine, with deliveries typically 50% of normal delivery times. Being lighter they are more easily handled, do not rust and are generally corrosion resistant, particularly against PVC induced contaminants.
Also as aluminium conducts heat four times better than steel, tools run cooler, and can therefore be run faster, resulting ultimately in lower parts costs.
Toolcraft's long term experience enables them to predict areas of stress which where necessary can be strengthened with steel inserts. For further extended life, and minimal cost increase of around 10 - 15% tools can be nickel cobalt coated to a Rockwell hardness of 55. Fast, accurate and reliable tool manufacture then comes from the direct link between design computers and production machines. The final 'edge' comes with Toolcraft's ability to set up quickly and run prototypes, pre-production runs or full production in a wide range of plastic materials.
Toolcraft Plastics have years of experience in all forms of tooling, not just in aluminium and have an abbreviated analysis of tools and their applications "on the web".

3. Five-point toggle clamp opens PET moulds quickly
A five-point toggle clamp operating in conjunction with an additional hydraulic accumulator ensures extremely fast opening and closing of the mould and high rigidity of the PET moulder's clamping system。
The nucleus of every MacPET (formerly Premax) high-performance preform production system is the injection moulding machine, a toggle clamp machine based on the Engel Classic Series.
Equipped with special modules for fast-cycling PET injection moulding, including a special holding pressure unit on the injection side, the MacPET Series comprises five sizes of machine with clamping forces ranging from 2,500 to 5,000 kN. The machine sizes are specially tailored for use with moulds with 32, 48, 64, 72 or 96 cavities.
A five-point toggle clamp operating in conjunction with an additional hydraulic accumulator ensures not only extremely fast opening and closing of the mould but also high rigidity of the clamping system and gentle treatment of the mould. The economically efficient operation of the machine is supported by an energy-saving hydraulic system featuring four servo-controlled variable delivery pumps for all movements of the screw. The injection unit is of space-saving design and equipped with a barrier screw which achieves a high plasticizing capacity while ensuring gentle treatment of the melt.
The economic efficiency of a PET preform production machine is dependant not least on the speed of the demoulding system, In such fast cycling applications, the demoulded preforms are still very hot and hence too delicate to be placed on the discharge conveyor immediately. Consequently, the Engel linear robots used on the MacPET machines are equipped with takeover heads with integrated cooling systems.
Mounted on a rotating mechanism, they perform their demoulding operations one after the other such that the demoulded performs are cooled for the duration of four injection cycles prior to being placed, without risk of damage, on the discharge conveyor.
The Engel robot control system and the machine control system are fully integrated and share the same control panel.This not only facilitates operation but also keeps the necessary time for data exchange to a minimum, as the various interfaces are then optimally co-ordinated, and this in turn makes for even faster cycle times.
Engel is the world's largest single-brand manufacturer of injection moulding machines and at the same time one of the world's leading manufacturers of plastics processing machinery. Today the Engel Group offers all the technology modules necessary for the processing of plastics from a single source: injection moulding machines for thermoplastics and elastomers, moulds and automation equipment, whereby even individual component units compete and sell successfully.


09.05.2003-»

1.Large inbjection mouldings tooled in 8 weeks
SPG Group, leading manufacturer of high precision tooling systems, has introduced the Pre-Tension Tool.
Using technology developed in-house, this proprietary mould system was engineered specifically for the automotive industry, and is capable of producing large car parts such as bumpers. The whole process can be completed in a record 8 weeks, meeting the automotive industry's highest quality demands.
The Pre-Tension Tool utilises the same technology as series production. Built with aluminium product forming inserts in a pre-tension frame, it has all the features of a conventional injection moulding system and is capable of reproducing all current injection moulding processes - delivering large automotive parts of production series quality.
pre-Tension Tool was originally devised for the production of large automotive representative prototypes,However, after fine-tuning and expansion of the technology, the system has demonstrated that it is capable of producing bumpers and other large automotive parts for small series.
According to SPG Group Sales Director Mario Neijts, the new technology has already demonstrated its value, by delivering production quality small series bumpers for Porsche enabling them to start vehicle production a full 10 weeks earlier than originally planned - delivering a measurably faster return-on-investment.
Mario Neijts: "Today, large automotive parts such as bumpers are more complex and are required to meet the highest standards. Thanks to our experience in producing representative prototypes for large car parts such as bumpers, we are now able to introduce the Pre-Tension Tool."
Today, OEMs and systems suppliers are looking to outsource their small series parts production. It is here that SPG Project Management makes the difference. As a fast growing member of the SPG Group, SPG Project Management is specialised in overseeing all aspects of mould development and production.
SPG Group is a leading producer of high precision tooling components and systems for the automotive and connector industry.
The company comprises 9 individual units, each specialised in specific aspects of design engineering, tool manufacturing and production.
SPG Group is an operating company of Kroymans Corporation, an international organisation, active in automotive and industrial markets.
Kroymans Corporation has approximately 100 operating companies throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. The Group employs more than 2,800 professionals who generate a turnover of more than EUR 1 billion.

2.Toolmaker of the year produces 96-cavity moulds

Moldflow Corporation is delighted to congratulate its Irish customer Avenue Mould on winning the Plastics and Rubber Weekly (PRW) Toolmaker of the Year Award, after three consecutive years on the shortlist for this category of the Plastics Industry Awards (PIA).
From its base in Sligo, in the heart of Ireland's mould and toolmaking sector, Avenue Mould has over the past 15 years developed a powerful niche position in production of high-precision multi-cavity injection moulds for applications in the medical and teletronics industry.

Its customers include many leading international names across Ireland, the UK and northern Europe. it was the first-ever winner of the PIA Toolmaker of the Year award; it was the first Irish mouldmaker to move into 96-cavity mould manufacturing; it was the first to use the Moldflow Fusion package in Ireland; and it was the first to implement the Moldflow MPX moulding machine optimisation system.
Avenue's efforts have been clearly recognised in this year's PIA voting, pushing it back to top position once more.The company achieved sector-leading scores from PRW readers in three of the PIA categories - design and manufacturing investment, project support and product quality.
In fact, its performance in the product quality category was far ahead of its rivals.
The company operates a well-equipped mouldmaking shop supported by first-class mould trialling facilities. But it maintains this is only one element in its success. It says that what it does with its machinery investments differentiates it from its competition. Avenue makes full use of Moldflow software to predict performance and to establish mould operating windows prior to delivery to customers.
“Its machining centres are extensively robotised to provide unattended 24-hour operation. However, it is also people that make the difference. The equipment on the market is open to everyone, but it is how we use it that gives us the edge. The better designed we can make the mould, the faster and more efficient it will be for the client, and the less maintenance will be required,” says managing director Felim McNeela.



09.03.2003-»
1.Bottom-line gains drive mouldmaking software usage
Smaller companies saw no value of being networked in the office but could see the benefits of connecting the office and the shop floor, according to a survey of 66 GTMA members.
How ready are British mouldmakers to embrace the technology currently being developed to increase competitiveness?
The GTMA, together with its partners in the emould@work project, recently undertook detailed research with 66 GTMA member companies to find out.
All companies surveyed used email to communicate externally; well over half already benefited from a faster (ISDN or broadband) connection, Internally, most companies were networked, this being the prime method of communicating with colleagues.
Online meetings were rare and therefore tools such as electronic whiteboards and instant messaging were not popular, only one third of respondents planning to use them within the next 3 years. Many respondents used straightforward email as a tool to 'manage' project information, setting up project folders to provide a basic audit trail. More integrated and automated project management systems met with some resistance due to lack of perceived benefits.
Use of the internet for design-related project activities was widespread, with more than half of the companies surveyed expecting to access their customers' CAD data via a secure internet connection, Data exchange between different CAD packages, particularly surface and solid modellers, is already considered to be reliable. Virtually all companies used the internet to search for customers and most already provided online quotations - although via email, not through a secure internet portal.
Julia Moore, GTMA Director, sums up the survey's findings, "The future competitiveness of Britain's manufacturing sector in a global economy depends on companies collaborating in supportive, results-orientated supply chains. The survey clearly indicates that the majority of mouldmaking members are already exploiting communications technology with regard to the use of email and the internet. however,In a still fragile manufacturing climate. While it is true that the more sophisticated online collaboration, where the potential for telescoping the product development process is perhaps the greatest, is still only tentatively being explored, there is clearly a willingness to tap into technology where it can be shown to provide those real benefits.”
The emould@work project will continue to develop mouldmaking management tools and will be addressing the internal and supply chain barriers to acceptance of these tools and how they can best be overcome in a forthcoming workshop to be attended by the survey respondents.


08.29.2003-»

1.Moldflow Further Strengthens Management Team

With Appointment Of Director Of Strategic Alliances
WAYLAND, MA – August 20, 2003 – Moldflow Corporation (NASDAQ: MFLO), the world leader in software solutions for optimizing the design and manufacture of plastic products announced today the appointment of John Twerdok to the position of Director of Strategic Alliances for Moldflow Corporation. John will be based in Moldflow’s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania office.
In his new role, John will be responsible for the development and execution of Moldflow’s channel programs and partnerships. John comes to Moldflow from TechNet International where he served as president and co-founder since 1998. Prior to that, John worked at ANSYS, Inc. where he held a variety of management positions over a twelve-year period, including: Strategic Alliance Program Manager, International Sales Programs Director and Major Accounts Program Director.
Roland Thomas, president and CEO of Moldflow commented, “We are fortunate to have such a highly qualified professional join our management team in this capacity. Our indirect channel is an important component of our penetration strategy, which allows us to bring our software solutions to a broader range of users worldwide. We believe that John’s experience will help us create a channel program to better serve the varied companies that want and need our suite of products.”
About Moldflow Corporation
Moldflow (NASDAQ: MFLO) is the world's leading provider of software products and services that increase the speed, efficiency, quality and drive down the cost of the design and manufacture of injection molded plastic products. Companies use Moldflow's complete suite of products to address plastic part design issues at the earliest possible stage as well as to maximize productivity and profitability on the manufacturing floor. Its collaboration with academia, industry, and customers around the world has led to a reputation for constant innovation in the complete design-to-manufacture process. Headquartered in Wayland, Massachusetts, Moldflow has offices and research and development centers in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia. For more information, visit www.moldflow.com or call 508-358-5848; fax: 508-358-5868.

2.Revolutionary New Process Makes Thick Walls Perfectly Clear
If there was a case for injection blow molding, this would not be it. Yet against all practical molding theory, Merle Norman Cosmetics found the successful blend of processing technique and innovative material for their new upscale Luxiva? brand liquid foundation bottle. Eastman Chemical Company's EastarR copolyester AN004 delivered uncompromising clarity at wall thicknesses unheard of in a clear polymer.
The goal was to find a polymer that could simulate the distinctive clarity and rich substance of thick blown glass. "We prefer to use plastic so that we can create a more unique product," said John Ramirez, Merle Norman in-house molding manager. As it turned out, everything about the application was truly unique, beginning with the process.
This was not your typical injection blow molding application-a clear, thick-walled bottle ranging in thickness from 0.50" to 0.150". The blow molding technique was equally as unique as the extreme wall thickness. Without using a preform, Merle Norman broke new ground by simultaneously injecting and blowing the bottle from a 0.200"-thick parison.
The material met FDA requirements and passed Merle Norman's rigorous fitness-for-use tests that included submerging AN004 in a liquid foundation for 24 hours at 50°C. "I never knew copolyester had such good chemical resistance," noted Ramirez. He added that the ability to achieve these thicknesses was a big step in minimizing product weight loss。
What they also discovered was that it was very easy to process. "I tried different copolymers, but AN004 was more forgiving and easier to process," explained Ramirez. Eastman's technical support team worked closely with Merle Norman throughout the entire project. Ramirez said, "We had Eastman's support from day one from tooling to processing."


08.22.2003-»
1. Plastic Parts in Five Weeks
Massachusetts company uses innovative plastic casting process to create medical parts with distinctive textures
Rockland, Massachusetts -- Casting is a process that usually brings to mind large foundries and molten metal being poured into steel molds. But just south of Boston an innovative company is moving into new territory by hand-pouring liquid resins into silicone rubber molds. The company is Polymer Liquid Resin Casting (LRC), a division of Polymer Corporation, and the plastic casting process they have mastered has become a much sought-after means to produce complex plastic parts very quickly (5 weeks from concept to reality) and cost effectively (thousands of dollars rather than tens of thousands).
Polymer Corporation consists of Polymer Injection Molding (Monson, MA) and Polymer Liquid Resin Casting (Rockland, MA). The corporation specializes in rapid production of high quality complex plastic parts for high tech industries such as medical, semiconductor, scientific and electronic instrumentation, and defense.
“Polymer LRC makes short run plastic parts and components and we’re pretty unique in our approach,” begins Rick Gould, Polymer’s Engineering Manager. “There are less than fifty companies in the country that do production plastic casting like we do”.
Gould explains that three quarters of the plastic parts that the company produces are for the medical industry. “We make grips, handles, and brackets, often for very expensive medical equipment like magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] machines,” Gould says. “So we’re talking about any kind of device that a doctor or medical technician is going to hold in his or her hand.” The challenge, Gould explains, is that the parts are often small and quite intricate, and there’s a heavy emphasis on surface texture and aesthetics. “In years past,” Gould continues, “people didn’t react well to cold, metal components in hospital settings. So the industry has been moving towards producing more and more components made out of plastic, and putting a heavier emphasis on touch, feel, and aesthetics.”
Traditionally, plastic parts have been the domain of injection molding companies, but that approach is cost effective only in large runs. In recent years, another market segment has evolved called rapid prototyping – but so far the emphasis is on prototypes rather than runs of actual parts. Polymer LRC occupies the space in between, focusing on short runs of very high quality plastic parts. “We’re talking about 500 or so pieces at a time,” says Gould, “which would be cost prohibitive to make using plastic injection molding. It’s quite practical using a plastic casting process.”
2. CAM Program Incorporates
Extensive Machining Database
TechSolve's CUTDATA, a machining database, has been incorporated into the new KnowledgeBase? featured in the CAM software application ESPRIT 2003 from DP Technology. The ESPRIT KnowledgeBase utilizes workpiece materials, machining operations, cutting depths, and cutter materials to select the best known spindle speed and feed rate for a given cutting situation.
CUTDATA offers more than 100,000 recommended cutting speeds and feed rates for 22 machining operations, 12 different cutter materials, and over 3,700 different workpiece materials. Shops can also extend this list to include their favorite cutter and workpiece materials.
The KnowledgeBase determines the optimum spindle speed and cutting feed rate, guiding users through the process by means of dialogue boxes that let them select the material class and condition, the type of cut, and tool material from drop-down menus. If the desired cutter and part material is not included in ESPRIT's extensive database, users can enter customized settings.
3.ToolBox Signs Agreement to Sell
Pro/Engineer Wildfire in UK
ToolBox UK Ltd. has signed an agreement with PTC to become a value-added retailer for PTC in the UK for that company's Pro/Engineer Wildfire product development software. The addition of Pro/Engineer Wildfire complements ToolBox's existing product range and makes the company an independent technology provider, capable of offering best-fit solutions.
Based in High Wycombe, ToolBox has over eight years of experience in providing CAD and CAM solutions in the UK. It services a wide industrial base in many complex applications including 5-axis continuous machining.
ToolBox will be forming a division to support this new opportunity for product-focused design and manufacturing, central to the philosophy of PTC. To launch this new initiative, the company is holding a series of "test drives" around the country.

08.06.2003-»
1.Detroit APEX for Tool/Mold and
Die Industry Gets New Name
From September 9th to 11th, the Novi Expo Center in Detroit, Michigan, will be the site of the Midwest Machine Tool Show 2003, organized by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). Formerly known as the Detroit Advanced Productivity Exposition —an SME tradition since 1938—this will be the largest metalworking and manufacturing exposition held in the US Midwest this year.       
One of the show's main highlights will be an "Industry Summit" meeting on the first day entitled "Tools, Dies, & Molds: A Look into the Future of Michigan's Tools, Die and Molds Industry." This will bring together members of interested key organizations, legislative bodies, state agencies, and suppliers.
The Midwest Machine Tool Show will also feature several presentation in the SME's ongoing "Lean Manufacturing" series. These will include a panel discussion called "The Lean Transition: The Human Effects of Lean"; a technical forum on "Machining Strategies for Lean Manufacturing Operation"; and a presentation entitled "Lean Manufacturing for Job Shops."           
The Midwest Machine Tool Show is an annual event cosponsored by SME, the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association (AMTDA), and the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT). This year's event has new hours, starting at 10 a.m. each day and running till 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 9th; 6 p.m. on Wednesday, September 10th; and 4 p.m. on Thursday, September 11th.
2.Cimatron, German Institute Colloborate on
Micromilling Research Project
Cimatron Ltd. is now partnering in a European Community research project on micromilling. The project is being conducted under the auspices of the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology of Aachen, Germany. The project will develop the micromilling process for the manufacture of high-precision injection molds with complex 3D structures and high surface qualities.                          
This micromilling research project seeks more economical alternatives to existing process chains, including EDM, silicon etching, and LIGA technology ("LIGA" is an acronym based on the German words for lithography, electroforming, and molding). Findings of the research are intended to eliminate current problems faced by mold makers, including restrictions on geometric structures and the high cost of production materials。
"The production of microplastic parts for the medical and optical fields represents an expanding market for the tooling industry," says Wolfgang Muller, general manager of Cimatron GmbH. "As a dedicated software partner to the tooling industry, Cimatron will provide improved micromilling strategies in its software. Our close working relationship with the Fraunhofer IPT project management team, and with other partners in the consortium, will yield quality results.
In order to meet industrial demands on the production of microstructured molds, the project will cover the entire manufacturing process chain, including the machining process itself and the development of milling machines and cutting tools. It will focus on the adaptation of CAD/CAM software systems, and verification and implementation on sample molds.
The Fraunhofer Institute is an important force for applied research in Europe, undertaking contract research on behalf of industry, government, and the service sector. It provides rapid, economical and immediately applicable solutions to technical and organizational problems. Within the framework of the European Community's technology programs, the institute is actively involved in industrial consortiums that seek technical solutions to improve the competitiveness of European industry.  
3.UK agent for Turkish press brakes appointed
Sheet metalworking equipment specialist, Tamworth-based Press and Shear Machinery, has been appointed sole agent in mainland Britain for press brakes and shears manufactured by Baykal, Turkey.
This is to all intents and purposes a new brand name over here, as previous sales through UK vendors has been on a very small scale.
The range encompasses electronically balanced CNC press brakes, mechanical torsion-bar models, upstroking machines, variable-rake guillotine shears and hydraulic swing-beam shears.
Says Mark Britton, MD of Press and Shear, "We are hopeful of selling large numbers of these machines, as they are keenly priced at up to 20 per cent less than the equivalent competition. "
“The equipment is nevertheless of good quality, utilising component parts from well-known suppliers such as Bosch Rexroth hydraulics, Heidenhain encoders and Delem controls."
“A particular target for us is the user that may be considering a second-hand machine, as a new Baykal press brake may be acquired for just a little extra investment.”

07.24.2003-»

1. Updated Engineering Fair to Focus on
Product Lifecycle Management
A new name, a new date, and a newly extended scope are the order of the day for Germany's CAT Engineering trade show, which is now called CAT.PRO. Subtitled "The International Trade Fair for Innovative Product Development, Data and Process Management," CAT.PRO will take place October 7–10, 2003 at the Messe Stuttgart in Stuttgart, Germany.
The new name encompasses the important disciplines of supply chain management, customer relationship management, and enterprise resource planning. The objective of CAT.PRO is to be a central, international meeting place for everyone working in the field of product lifecycle management (PLM).
CAT.PRO will include user-oriented theme sections such as a "Simulation Network Park" where visitors can witness individual simulation technologies in an engineering environment. A forum called "PLM Is More than Engineering" will offer practical solutions in the areas of product development and marketing/sales; collaborative engineering and distributed product development via the Internet; product development and production; product development and customer service; and environmental protection, safety, and recycling.
The show organizers point out that CAT.PRO is an event that will have a strong appeal to small and medium-size companies.

2. New Balzers Coating Vessel
Reduces Turnaround Time
Balzers Inc. has installed a sixth coating vessel, an additional BAI 1200 model, at its coating center in Agawam, Massachusetts, USA. The new vessel represents an investment exceeding $1 million.
With the new vessel in place, the Agawam center is able to run significantly more batches and offer faster turnarounds, with a 25% improvement in capacity. The center currently operates with an average 2?-day turnaround; the new vessel will reduce lead time to less than two days for standard BalinitR coatings.
The new coating machine has the flexibility of applying both traditional and high-performance coatings including: Balinit A (TiN), Balinit B (TiCN), Balinit Futura Nano (TiAlN) and Balinit X.Treme (TiAlN). The BAI 1200 is the largest vessel Balzers uses for tool applications.

3. Two Senior Appointments at
Milacron Focus on Global Business
Milacron Inc., which supplies tooling and equipment to the plastics processing industry, has two new senior managers for its injection molding and blow molding machinery businesses. The changes create global business unit platforms. Dr. Karlheinz Bourdon has been named Vice President for Global Injection Molding. He will be headquartered at the company's facilities in Batavia, Ohio, USA. Bourdon will concentrate on consolidating Milacron's position in injection molding machinery by leveraging the collective strengths of its Ferromatik Europe and Ferromatik North America divisions.
At Uniloy Milacron, meanwhile, Jim Moore has been named Vice President for Global Blow Molding. In this new position, he will retain his leadership role with Uniloy North America while adding Uniloy Italy to his overall responsibilities. As an important first step toward the eventual creation of a worldwide blow molding business, Moore will concentrate on coordination and integration of product development and marketing between the US and Italian operations. Guido Re, Managing Director of Uniloy Italy, will report to Moore.
Leadership for the Ferromatik organization in Europe will continue under Dr. Michael Koch, who has served as managing director of Ferromatik Europe since January 2001. Dale Werle continues as president of Ferromatik North America. Both Koch and Werle report to Dr. Bourdon.


07.14.2003-»
1.Union Tool Europe Expands Its Distributor Network into Finland

Union Tool Europe SA, a supplier of end mills for the mold and die industry, has extended its reach into Scandinavia with the appointment of FMS Oy of Espoo, Finland, as its new distributor for Finland and the Baltic states.
FMS Oy is a respected solutions provider to the Finnish market and has extensive experience in the high-speed machining of hard materials for the mold and die sector. The agreement was also influenced by a joint project FMS has with the RAL Industrial Institute of Helsinki. The project involves high-speed machining techniques to reduce cycle times and extend cutting tool life.
"We were amazed at the quality achieved with the Union Tool end mills in difficult cutting conditions," says FMS president Jan Rehbinder. "Not only did the project deliver its objectives on productivity and cost, but we also noticed a high quality of surface finish to a workpiece. This convinced us that we had to work with these products in the future."
Union Tool already has an extensive European distribution network, and the addition of Finland and the Baltic states is seen as a key part of its growth strategy. Work has begun on building a local warehouse in Espoo.

2 With New Share Purchase, Sandvik Approaches 100% Ownership of Walter AG
Sandvik, a Swedish-based high-technology engineering group specializing in tools and materials related to metalworking and machinery, has acquired additional shares in Walter AG, a German firm noted for its CNC and grinding machines, cutting tools and NC/CNC control software. Sandvik now has 96.44% of the shares in the company, including the 5.18% owned directly by Walter. Sandvik intends to continue acquiring shares in Walter AG with the goal of 100% ownership.
Sandvik reached an agreement two years ago with the primary owners of Walter regarding purchasing the shares. Following approval of the German competition authorities in December 2001, the acquisition was initiated, and Sandvik became the majority shareholder in February 2002. Seven months later, Sandvik made a public offer to the other Walter shareholders for all outstanding shares in the compan?


3. Swiss Temperature Sensing Firm Appoints New Officers
More than 37 years after founding Sawi Mess- und Regeltechnik AG, a Swiss manufacturer of temperature sensing products, Johannes Wild has retired from the company's operational management. He remains as chairman of the board and will continue to hold top corporate responsibility.
New company managers are Beat Wenger, technical and quality manager; Peter Urweider, manager of production control, marketing, and sales; and Heinz Schartel, manager of finance, human resources, and administration. Each is a proven specialist dedicated to ensuring that the company will continue to be a reliable partner in temperature sensor technology.