A mold maker producing tools for thermoplastic materials and die-castings uses Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence VISI Analysis module—a mold tool design solution, to discover critical areas at an early stage of the design process, which simplifies their work.
The company, Mecca T.P. which serves a variety of industry sectors, such as medical and automotive, produces between 40 and 80 molds a year using a variety of molding metals. Co-owner Antonio Tognon said their molds have to be produced swiftly and accurately, first time every time, without the need for changing them unless requested by the customer. And in those cases, the amendments have to be carried out quickly.
VISI Mold is used to carry out the design of molds, while electrodes are modelled and machined with VISI Machining 3D, which is also used for cutting plates and molding parts, along with Machining Strategist and VISI Wire.
“Our in-house team follows the mold design, adopting various solutions for mold movements, conditioning circuits, injection and extraction systems,” Tognon said. “In order to optimise the final product and the molding activity, we pay precise attention to the analysis, proposing possible improvements.”
Used in the preliminary stage, before the design process begins, VISI mold is used to analyse details such as drafts, undercuts and thicknesses, and to draw up possible dimensions of the finished molds. “We import customer STEP, IGES or Parasolid files and analyse the geometry in depth, to define the quality of the mathematical model, while correcting incomplete or inaccurate geometries.”
They move on to create the mold basement and define details, before sending the component parts to the different CAM stations for milling, wire cutting, and electrode modelling and construction.
The company has developed a stainless steel mold to replace an existing mold used by a medical sector client. “The mold was to produce a small circular component with a diameter of approximately 40 mm. The part had to be molded in a white chamber on eight impressions, in a complete discharge cycle of less than 20 seconds.” The product is described as being complex, with irregular surfaces and a different front and back finish, and a shiny, mirrored surface on one side.
“Our proposal optimised the intrinsic characteristics of the impressions, and the operational flexibility, ensuring the highest level of productivity. Each imprint has a completely interchangeable matrix and punch, which are fixed to the mold by screws. This means we can replace them when they are worn out, without changing the entire mold, even if the mold is inside the machine. It also means we can produce different products using the same mold.”
The main challenge was to find a way to free undercuts; also, to create the movements necessary to obtain a high-quality piece—molded from soft adhesive PVC – in the correct way, avoiding possible wastage.
The VISI Mold handled the design process and provided them with specific automation that guided the operator throughout the project’s development. Thus, this optimised the process from design to delivery, which allows compliance with increasingly tight delivery times.
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