Mold Shop Leans On Software

Mold Shop Leans On Software

EIMO makes its lean manufacturing cell even leaner using Cimatron software.


EIMO Americas Inc., a provider of plastic molding, tooling and related services, has overhauled the way it builds tools, with speed and cost-effectiveness recognized by both its domestic and foreign customers. Through lean manufacturing practices, continuous improvement and the use of Cimatron CAD/CAM software, the company continually eliminates waste and tightens processes through its entire business cycle from quoting to delivery.

Using the Cimatron (www.cimatron.com) software, EIMO (www.vicksburg.eimoam.com) moldmakers gain a better understanding of the process and can anticipate things they might not have been able to before, making them more proactive and ready to take the lead even before a design is finished. "Our moldmakers can now bring up a database and review a complete tool design for issues that might arise from a manufacturing standpoint that the designer may not completely understand. Designers get a lot more feedback from the moldmakers early on in the process because they can see the designs even before they are completely done," explained Todd DeMint, senior tool designer at EIMO.

According to DeMint, the more the shop used Cimatron to work in solids, the greater its rich library of standard catalogue components, as well as assemblies of lifter and standard mold bases, grew. This library speeds tool designing while allowing EIMO to maintain quality.

Also with the Cimatron platform, the shop accomplishes more work with half the number of designers, said DeMint. "We've become far more efficient in the use of solids, and we have cross-trained a number of people between CAD and the CAM side of the software, allowing us to pull people from design to manufacturing and vice-versa according to the work that needs to get done," he added.

Rob Stewart, who is responsible for business development at EIMO's tooling and technology center, pointed out that the elimination of paper output is also a big part of the lean effort at EIMO. He said almost all workers on the shop floor are now proficient in the use of the Cimatron software. When they started using the software, they were able to function within it to create their own prints. Now, the moldmakers are versatile enough to dimension, detail, check for interferences and get a complete understanding of what a tool looks like in a 3D environment as opposed to looking at 2D prints, which wastes time and is error prone.

DeMint explained that the company has realized similar advantages in the milling and drilling processes and greater efficiencies in its EDM process. "Once we started using the Cimatron software's Quick Electrode module, we have completely re-thought the way we do electrodes. We use more solid functions, which speeds the whole overall electrode process," he said.

The shop has eliminated the manual input of electrode information into its EDM, thus ridding itself of a lot of human error. And with Cimatron's EDM Setup software, it does not have to create burn sheets or rely on manual input to get the information to the machines. The EDM department pulls dimensions from the CAD database and downloads them to the machines.

Lastly, EIMO uses the Cimatron software in its assembly department to check components, verify how parts are assembled and do part detailing.

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