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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Particulate-filled Polymer Composites retails
at GBP 100 (plus postage and packaging.
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
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
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
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.
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."
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
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
DSM Somos has commercialized an entire range
of ProtoFunctional resins to respond to the
needs of new product development and industrial
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Over 50% of manufactured tools are exported,
mostly to Japan and Europe。
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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".
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
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
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 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
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
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.
inbjection mouldings tooled in 8 weeks
SPG Group, leading manufacturer of high precision
tooling systems, has introduced the Pre-Tension
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
The GTMA, together with its partners in the
emould@work project, recently undertook detailed
research with 66 GTMA member companies to find
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
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.
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,
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
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.
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
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
Plastic Parts in Five Weeks
Massachusetts company uses innovative plastic
casting process to create medical parts with
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
1. Updated Engineering Fair to Focus on
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
"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.
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