Faster Prototypes Speed Production, Build Confidence

Faster Prototypes Speed Production, Build Confidence

Design grows more reliable for machine shop/fabricator with digital prototyping solution

digital prototyping

Using Autodesk Inventor digital prototyping, Glaze Tool designed and manufactured a press feed machine for an automotive suppliers at one-third the normal development cost, which decreased the customer’s production time by 75 percent.


Glaze Tool & Engineering Inc. is a machine shop and fabricator with a simple philosophy: strive for 100 percent confidence in product functionality. According to the staff and operators there, it’s an approach that promotes customer satisfaction and ensures long-term success for the company’s line of specialty equipment, precision machining, and dies and molds.

The New Haven, Ind., shop operates a wide range of CNC machines — including vertical machine centers, boring and milling machines, lathes, grinders, and EDM machines, and various others — to produce high-quality custom equipment for automotive, appliance, construction, and electronics customers.

Behind all the machinery is expert planning. Glaze Tool & Engineering uses Autodesk® Inventor® software and digital prototyping to reduce overall development costs (by up to 66 percent); manufacture products that decrease production time by 75 percent; and bring high-quality designs to the marketplace faster.

Autodesk is a prototyping software that lets manufacturers move their product drafting and development into 3D design. Manufacturing workgroups create a digital model that is relevant and reliable at every stage of production, bridging gaps that may exist between concept and engineering, mechanical design and manufacturing. It means that manufacturers spend less time perfecting physical prototypes, reducing design and production costs.

Glaze Tool’s customers require precision machine parts delivered quickly, and at a reasonable price. Many of its products are one-of-a-kind designs, so it is important that Glaze Tool gets it right the first time. Among the many types of specialized mechanical equipment designed by Glaze Tool was a press feed machine for a major automotive supplier, which aimed to optimize production cycles for fabricated window seals.

To produce a faster press feed machine cost effectively, Glaze Tool began with a concept design and finished with an Inventor model. “You can start with a 100-foot design, and if you’re off a fraction of an inch, you can end up with a transfer arm off by 15 feet,” explains Michael Forkert, manufacturing engineer. “Inventor software enables us to visualize and simulate our designs without spending valuable time and materials on physical prototypes.”

concept design

Glaze Tool began with a concept design and finished with a digital model. “You can start with a 100-foot design, and if you’re off a fraction of an inch, you can end up with a transfer arm off by 15 feet,” explains Michael Forkert, manufacturing engineer. “Inventor software enables us to visualize and simulate our designs without spending valuable time and materials on physical prototypes.”


Forkert continues: “Since Inventor has set file extensions and drawing standards already in place, I’ve adapted our job number and file system to work hand in hand.”

By creating a bill of materials, Forkert can transfer the data into other file types with no errors in part numbers. This not only lets the purchasing department know exactly what to buy, but Glaze Tool is able to use a standard job number to track labor costs from initial concept to completed product.

Thanks to Inventor software, Glaze Tool designed and manufactured a press feed at one-third the normal development cost, which decreased the customer’s production time for the automotive window seals by 75 percent. Forkert explains that the original machine hand-fed four strips of cut-to-length rubber. The press would mold the corners, and then the operator would remove the two joined pairs. This cycle was repeated for the remaining corners, producing about 250 units per shift.

The new system built by Glaze Tool automatically cuts the strips of rubber and feeds them into the press. The two joined pairs are removed by a robot and picked up by an operator, who then places the free ends into the press. In reducing the operator’s steps by more than two-thirds, each shift can now produce one thousand units with 100 percent confidence.

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