The last few decades brought a sea-change to the mold, tool and die industry. The world economy is still recovering from the downturn of 2008. As per the IMF World Economic Outlook, the Western European economies will grow at a slower rate, with higher growth in the United States, and continued growth in Asia. The manufacturing sector is rebounding and continued to improve throughout 2013 and 2014 with some manufacturing coming back to the United States. (Source: CIMdata 2015 NC Market Analysis Report) <click> The introduction of multi-task machine tools to increase productivity and reduce turnaround times is one of the most dominant trends in the industry but it has added more complexity to the process. With more competition producing high quality tools at a low cost, PRICE and TIME have become the critical success factor in the tooling industry. <click> Questions such as: How can I deliver high quality molds to my customers faster than my competitions? And How can I help my customers design products right the first time? Are quite common.
Ultimately the tooling industry is striving to pull together the multiple pieces of the tooling design process, integrate and manage it within their product development processes.
In today’s webinar, I will cover the challenges faced by tool design & manufacturing industry and how the solutions from Siemens address these challenges through advanced automation, process simulation and integrated technology to accelerate the process, reduce waste and cost and improve quality.
One of the obstacles that tooling companies face is poor communication with the OEM. OEMs wants more involvement / collaboration.
To counter this, Early Supplier Involvement is becoming quite common in the tooling companies It is a process that brings you and your supplier together early in the product development process with the shared goal of getting your products to market as quickly as possible with the highest quality and lowest cost. <click> The first step of the process is for mold manufacturers to receive data (commonly referred to as a database) from their customer. The database typically includes a STEP or IGES file. Sometimes the data arrives in a native CAD format and must be translated. <click> Once data is obtained, it is analyzed for data quality (and repaired if necessary), moldability (checking for correct draft angles), and part properties (volume, surface area, wall thickness) which affect the potential cost and quality of the resulting molded part. When issues are identified, they are corrected. <click> If the database is altered in any way, it is important for the mold manufacturer to review the design changes with the customer. After the customer has signed off on the design and any preliminary tool designs, the mold manufacturer begins the detailed design of the tool.
Another development in the industry is the change that 3D printing is bringing about.
PolyJet 3D Printing has made it feasible to quickly create custom injection molds that produce low volumes of parts in the final production plastic. PolyJet 3D printed molds are not production tools. But during the design and testing phase, they offer a clear advantage over conventional injection molding. Product designers and manufacturers can use these molds to perform thorough functional testing without worrying about cost-prohibitive tooling. Flaws based on the final production process, geometry or choice of plastic can be discovered early, when they are easiest to fix. This can reduce costly, time-consuming mold corrections, increase product innovation and speed product development. PolyJet Mold: http://www.smg3d.co.uk/3d_printer_applications/polyjet_injection_molds
Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) is a key technology used to print tool cores (also called mold inserts) for injection-molding processes. This process lets engineers optimize the design of cooling channels. Cooling channels can be printed to any shape and closer to the part than subtractive methods can accomplish. The resulting conformal cooling channels save time, cut waste, and improve quality during the production of injected-molded parts. 3D Printed Conformal Cooling: http://www.fabricatingandmetalworking.com/2013/07/industrial-3d-printing-takes-a-spin/
Given the new landscape, just about every surviving mold and die shop knew changes had to be made. The best in class quickly moved to increase design efficiency. As a result, they reduced their job turnaround times. They then adopted strategies to offer value added services and niche market focus to differentiate them so they didn’t have to compete on price only. <CLICK> As a result of embracing the trends, big performance gaps exist between best in class and laggard shops. The best in class quote accurately and on time on a 96% or better average. <CLICK> They also deliver the tooling on-time with high quality on a 99% or better average. <CLICK> So, how did they achieve this? How are they running a profitable and growing business in this challenging environment? Adopting the right technology along with a combination of people and process is the key. These businesses used integrated CAD/CAM/CAE software along with design automation to eliminate manual and mundane tasks so that they can respond faster. They used simulation and Design for Manufacturability to optimize the manufacturability of the part and tooling. They implemented PDM/PLM systems to manage tool designs and find the right data quickly.
We often hear that there are discrepancies, big gaps, between the product design and what happens on the shop floor, and what is really defined in the system. Another common issue is information silos and problems such as manufacturing not involved in design discussions early enough.
The process starts with input from the part design data – usually a 3D model created using CAD software.
This data is used as input for the manufacturing engineering. At this stage, machining and inspection methods for the part are defined using CAM, CMM and related software.
Eventually this data is used in production to setup and drive the manufacturing equipment on the shop floor.
<CLICK> Bridging the gaps in the process is the key challenge for manufacturers…
It would be a big benefit if companies could bring all engineering and manufacturing information into one place – so everyone can have a clear understanding about how the process is expected to perform and how it is actually performing.
The effectiveness of this sequence can significantly impact the value you realize from your manufacturing equipment.
Starting with Product Engineering…
Some of the challenges identified in ESI…
Mold designers are usually creating mold geometry from existing part geometry. This part geometry can come from many sources, including customers and suppliers, and often it is not in the same data format the mold designer is using. This causes translation issues that make the design take longer and increase the chances for errors.
Turnaround time is a key competitive advantage for mold designers. Having to recreate geometry from scratch increases turnaround time, which makes for higher costs and unhappy customers.
Of course, fast turnaround doesn’t mean much if the design isn’t right. Being able to make sure it’s right quickly not only increases quality, it increases confidence.
With the industry's broadest suite of integrated and proven software for manufacturing engineering, Siemens provides you with unique and powerful advantages…
NX is the industry leader in not just reading data from multiple CAD sources, but being able to work with and modify it. Tools such as Synchronous Technology give NX unmatched ability to work with Multi-CAD data.
Automation and reuse are the keys to fast turnaround in mold design. The NX Reuse Library enables the user to take advantage of existing, proven designs. NX Mold Wizard automates the mold design process by making it easier to follow with a step-by-step approach.
Early validation is another strength of NX. DFMPro and EasyFill Analysis are among the tools the NX mold designer can use to verify their designs and make sure the job is done right the first time.
Now we will take a closer look at how NX enables you to view and work with CAD data from virtually any source.
There are two key areas that we will focus on for Multi-CAD.
NX has the ability to read and modify data from multiple CAD systems and add intelligence to that data. As you can see, along with the major CAD packages, neutral formats such as JT, STEP, IGES, and others can be opened directly. If you have CAD data, there’s a very good chance that NX can open and read it.
Once the data has been read into NX, it can be modified as needed with Synchronous Technology, eliminating the need for slow, error-prone translation. Synchronous Technology in NX offers fast and intuitive design creation and modification. You can easily modify a part – even if you don’t know how it was originally created. And the modification process is amazingly fast and intuitive.
Now let’s discuss how NX can help to automate the mold design process while reusing existing designs.
NX Mold Wizard embeds tooling expertise into NX, enabling you to create molds based on the product model with full associativity between the two.
Using mold base and standard part catalogs, along with integrated Reuse Library, you can easily take advantage of existing, proven designs.
Generating fully detailed drawings for production is a highly repetitive & time consuming task. NX Mold Wizard automates this process. Producing drawings for inspection, shop-floor assembly, NC and other uses, can be done by just a click of the mouse.
NX Mold Wizard applies Process Wizard technology to optimize the mold design process, delivering levels of productivity that dramatically outperform traditional CAD software. Providing a structured workflow based on expert best practices, automation of mold-specific design tasks and libraries of standard mold components, NX Mold Wizard provides a step-by-step process that promotes the most efficient workflow, while integrating complex elements of design technology into automated sequences.
Mold Wizard is built on NX, the industry’s most powerful product development system. As a result, the tools for working with part geometry, creating parting surfaces and enabling automatic updates are among the most robust available. Less capable systems may handle basic parts and molds, but Mold Wizard can tackle the most demanding tasks.
<Mentioning capabilities here is OPTIONAL>
Some key capabilities in NX Mold Wizard Full NX part design capability for “one-stop” customers Comprehensive data import, with translators or native format read to bring in third-party design files Manufacturability checking for molded parts Advanced parting tools driven by the power of NX Automatic core and cavity insert creation Model swap for automatic updates, compare new versions Shrinkage calculation and adjustment Mold base and standard part catalogs Ejector pin post, sliders and lifters Cooling layout, tubes and fittings Automatic bill of material (BOM) creation Automatic drawing creation where required
Sridevi Tool Engineers provide molds to white goods and consumer products manufacturers. Some of their customers include Honda, Yamaha, GM, Maruti, Ford, TATA, Fiat and Stanley.
Due to some design issues with the vendor, Sridevi decided to bring the design work in-house and implement NX because of its advanced functionality for mold design, user friendliness (including an intuitive interface), ease of modifying existing designs, and parametric modeling.
They have seen immense benefits so far: Mold designs completed in half the time Mold development cost savings of more than 40 percent Productivity gains of more than 50 percent
Getting the job done right the first time depends on early validation of your designs.
NX has various tools for ensuring mold and part quality, including the ability to analyze draft, shrinkage, parting lines, cooling, and many others. In addition, DFMPro, another fully integrated tool in NX, doesn’t just check to see if a part is manufacturable, it suggests corrective actions if it is not.
Mold flow simulation is also integrated into NX. Powered by Moldex3D, it allows you to check for mold flow issues before any expensive parts have been made.
Poor molded part design can negatively impact the quality and cost of the tool. NX Mold Design offers many tools to help identify and eliminate the various types of issues highlighted on this slide. It includes tools for analyzing data quality, reporting data quality issues, and suggests how to eliminate the issue. NX modeling tools can be applied to heal/repair inappropriate data.
DFMPro is another fully integrated Design for Manufacturability and Assembly solution within NX. It helps identify design areas that are difficult, expensive or impossible to manufacture and suggests corrective action.
Embedded video showing Mold Design Validation (0:21s)
The quality of the tool can also be validated using various tools provided with NX Mold Design. For example – avoid blow-outs by using NX Strength Wizard or increase the life of the mold by detecting and removing sharp corners on the parts.
In some cases, NX CAE can be used for performing advanced cooling analyses and motion simulation. You can check for interference or collision related issues during the simulation.
(Image on the right is a GIF, animates in presentation mode)
The mold design data from Product Engineering is used as input for the manufacturing engineering in the tool room. Here the machining process and inspection methods to manufacture the mold are defined using CAM, CMM and related software. The output in the form of G-code, inspection programs, tooling data and work instructions is generated and sent to the shop floor.
On the production shop floor, this data is used to setup and drive the manufacturing equipment to machine all the mold components.
So, what are some of the typical challenges that mold and die manufacturers face today…
Inefficient processes can affect production in many ways… For example, when manufacturing companies try to fit separate software applications together, it often results in a process that requires multiple data conversion.
To be competitive in today’s environment, manufacturers need to increase their throughput. The manufacturing software can affect your productivity... For example, when the CAM software doesn’t provide a complete set of CNC programming capabilities, or when it lacks application-specific functionality, it can reduce your efficiency.
And finally, achieving reliability in the manufacturing process ensures consistent production quality.
To be competitive, mold manufacturers need to:
Synchronize the entire manufacturing process, Maximize the machining efficiency, and Hit the production targets
Let’s look at how Siemens can help you address these challenges…
To run a more efficient and nimble business, all the manufacturing activities need to be synchronized.
Siemens PLM provides an integrated manufacturing software solution to support the entire manufacturing process – from CAD/CAM all the way to the CNC controller on the shop floor.
Our model-driven process lets you collaborate and work concurrently…
It all starts with the part model that needs to be manufactured. You just saw the advanced tools that let you create a mold assembly for the part model.
We’ll now see how this part model can drive the entire manufacturing process to machine the mold assembly…
The mold design is the input to the manufacturing process. <CLICK>
The upper half of the diagram describes the process to define the process to machine the mold. Using the CAD design tools, you can quickly prepare the mold for machining and also design the fixtures. The next step is to define the machining for the mold by using the CNC programming capabilities in NX CAM. It lets you achieve high-speed machining and high quality machined surface. To ensure first time machining, the CNC program can be verified in NX by using the G-code driven simulation.
A complete set of shop documentation can be easily generated. You can transfer CNC programs, tool lists, setup sheets, and drawings, directly to the machine tools on the shop floor.
At the same time while you were defining the manufacturing process for the mold, your team can work on the electrode machining, using the same unified NX system, and working on the same data (as shown in the lower half of the diagram), they can design, prepare and program electrodes that are part of the mold assembly. Besides CNC programs, NX lets you create inspection paths to drive CMM machines. The output of the electrode programming step, including CNC and inspection programs, is transferred to the production to drive the manufacturing equipment.
The model driven process ensures: Associativity to the supplied design data, Concurrent workflow, and Accuracy and reliability.
Many mold manufacturers around the world leverage the NX integrated platform to maximize their overall productivity…
Minco Tool and Mold is one of them. Minco is a major plastic injection mold manufacturer in the US, with more than 50 years of experience. To capture a niche in the market for manufacturing complex shaped parts, they use NX Mold Design and NX CAM.
The model driven process in NX, powered by the master model ensures easy and accurate propagation of design changes from product to NC programming.
The integrated solution for mold design and manufacturing is key to Minco’s success. They can achieve high quality manufacturing by maintaining accuracy in product design, tool design and CAM programming. To stay competitive, Minco leverages the advanced capabilities and the integrated platform of NX.
NX CAM delivers real differences through key capabilities such as its advanced programming, integrated postprocessing and simulation functionality.
The optimized CNC programs and the complete shop documentation generated by NX CAM can maximize the productivity of your machine tools.
NX CAM provides a wide range of advanced functionality, from simple CNC programming to complex multi-axis machining, enabling you to program all the parts of the mold assembly by using one system.
The intelligent tool paths ensure efficient machining and increased productivity. For example, you can quickly remove material on your molds with high-speed machining capabilities. Or, NX CAM lets you automatically tilt the tool, so you can use the right tool to improve the surface finish. <CLICK> Advanced feature-based machining provides extra value in programming automation. The system automatically identifies machining features and it applies machining operations. This capability is particularly useful for programming mold plates that can have many features, such as pockets, slots and complex holes. With feature-based machining, you can reduce programming time by as much as 90%. <CLICK> Machining data library and process templates enable you to apply proven data and processes. This knowledge-driven programming can improve your productivity and ensures repeatability.
NX CAM provides advanced capabilities optimized for mold and die manufacturing.
High speed machining for hard materials can significantly reduce machining cycles. For example, the high-speed roughing in NX maintains high metal removal rates while managing tool loads.
Superior surface finish can be achieved by using the available smooth flowing cutting strategies that can follow critical contours of a part, resulting in fine finishes at high feed rates.
Having a full control of the machining process enables manufacturers to reduce risk and improve quality. The Cut Region Control provides a new level of control and ease of use in planning machining strategies for complex molds. You can preview, change, and re-order the regions and the associated operations before generating tool paths.
To increase the throughput, successful mold shops use multi-axis machining, including 5-axis machining. It let manufacturers minimize the number of setups, which results in significant lead time savings, increased tool life and improved surface finish.
The close connection between engineering and planning enables the manufacturing team to achieve the right control of the manufacturing process.
And Siemens offers advanced technology that can connect your engineering and shop floor teams.
Complete manufacturing documentation, including programs for your specific equipment, tool list, setup sheet, and drawings are essential for machining right the first time. With NX, you can not only generate the complete work package, but you can also validate CNC and inspection programs so that you can minimize testing on the shop floor and you can speed up ramp up time.
You can deliver manufacturing the planning data directly to the machine tools and CMM equipment by using the Siemens Direct Numerical Control (DNC) solutions. Extending PLM to the shop floor opens up new possibilities, for example, elimination of duplicate data, and better workflow management from design through to manufacturing.
As the shop floor team uses this data (provided by engineering) to run the production equipment, it’s critical that the latest production data is sent back to engineering. For example, quality inspection results from the CMM machine can be collected and sent from production back to engineering for analysis in NX. This closed-loop solution ensures that the entire manufacturing team uses consistent and up-to-date information that enables a more efficient manufacturing process.
One of the key advantages of having an integrated solution is that it enables efficient design change management. When a new revision of the product model is introduced, the design changes easily propagate throughout the process. So let’s take a look at a short demo of our integrated CAD-CAM-CNC solution to see how it helps mold manufacturers…
So lets take a look at the entire process.
<click PLAY> [Voiced over demo of the entire process using the reciprocating saw]Duration – 4:40 minutes Mold design (0 to 2:44) Mold machining (2:44 to 4:40)
Mirplex Molds Inc. is a manufacturer of molds with more than 25 years of experience. They chose NX because of the integrated CAD and CAM solutions.
With NX, mold design and tool path creation take place concurrently. While the tool designer is finishing the mold, the CNC programmer can start the programming work in NX CAM. This is possible, in spite of the fact that many design changes are still coming in from the customer, because of how easily the NX geometry can be changed.
The efficient manufacturing process driven by NX, enables Mirplex Molds to be competitive. They reduced the overall mold development cycle by 35 percent. And the high-speed and precise toolpaths can be updated 50% faster after design changes.
To conclude, this chart summarizes the breadth of our solution for design and the manufacturing process. As we saw in this presentation, the path from the initial CAD model to the production phase is tightly integrated in NX leading to significant productivity gains across the entire tool development and manufacturing process.
Thank you for your time……….
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