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How To Make Sure That Tools And Moulds Build Perfect Parts

How to Make Sure That Tools and Moulds Build Perfect Parts

This article discusses how to guarantee that manufactured parts correspond to the production requirements. Article by Creaform.

At the beginning of a manufacturing process, a mould, die, or jig is engineered according to the theoretical CAD model. The aim of this tooling, made precisely from the nominal model, is to produce parts that correspond to the technical requirements. It turns out, however, that there are often differences between the theoretical model and the reality of an industrial environment. Different phenomena interfere with the tooling, causing problems and imperfections on the parts. Adjustments and iterations, therefore, are required to ensure that the tools and moulds, even if they correspond exactly to their nominal models, produce good parts that meet quality controls and customer demands.

Challenges: Non-Predictable Phenomena

The reality of an industrial environment differs from the theory illustrated in CAD models. During the manufacturing process, several phenomena that are difficult to predict can occur. Spring backs when stamping a die, shrinkage when building a mould made of composite material, or thermal forces when welding two elements together are all good examples of phenomena that impact tooling precision. Nevertheless, modelling the removal of a composite resin, the spring back of a die, the impact of a weld remains difficult, complex, and expensive.

Initially, the tooling is built according to the theoretical model, which is developed to create manufactured parts that meet the production requirements. But, in the reality of the industry, the aforementioned phenomena interfere with the moulded or stamped parts. As a result, the parts do not meet the technical demands and must be adjusted, corrected, and altered in order to pass the quality controls.

Starting with nominal models is, of course, a good first step, but let’s not forget that what manufacturers want is not so much a perfect tooling, but good parts that meet technical requirements and customer needs.

Solution: Iterative Process

When unpredictable phenomena alter manufactured parts, an iterative process of quality control starts. The most commonly used method is to work on the part before adjusting the tooling. More precisely, this method involves producing a part, measuring it, and analysing deviations between the part and the CAD model. Hence, if we notice that there are some missing (or extra) mms in one place, we will go to the corresponding surface on the mould, die, or jig in order to grind or add material. Thus, the iteration is performed on the tooling after measuring the manufactured part.

Once this operation completed, we restart the manufacturing process in order to produce a new part that will be measured to verify if there are any remaining deviations. This iterative process will continue on a loop until we obtain the desired part (i.e., when the manufactured part corresponds to its CAD model).

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Accelerate Mould Design-to-Manufacturing Processes To Stay Ahead

Accelerate Mould Design-to-Manufacturing Processes to Stay Ahead

Innovative mould maker uses Siemens solutions to improve part quality, reduce costs and lead time.

Founded in 2013, iMFLUX was created as a wholly owned subsidiary of Procter & Gamble (P&G) as the Ohio-based consumer products giant wanted to improve the technology of plastics processing. P&G saw the need to reduce the cost and lead time to launch new plastic part designs. The company eventually developed a breakthrough new technology that utilized low constant injection pressure, leading to the formation of iMFLUX. 

Injection moulding requires precision tolerances as plastic is going into tools at up to 20,000 PSI and the gaps between the steel has to resist the plastic from going in between them. The process iMFLUX uses is controlled by pressure rather than velocity or speed. From the moment the press goes to move the screw forward, it is controlling only a set target pressure point. Once it hits that pressure point, it will maintain that pressure until the part’s full and packed out.

The iMFLUX injection moulding process involved a specialized controller that enables filling a mould at a lower, defined melt-pressure profile, allowing a variable filling rate that automatically adapts to the part geometry. Advantages include improved part quality, new part and mould design possibilities, sustainability improvements and reduced costs.

Designing a Next-generation of Moulds

The process begins when P&G or an external customer sends a mould design or part design concept to iMFLUX. It then takes the concept from paper sketch through the final qualification of the mould and the part itself. There is pressure to finish the process as soon as possible to meet the customer’s expectations and also start on the next project, avoiding any bottlenecks.

As a result, the time from conception to build is condensed. Despite rapidly approaching timelines, ensuring complete accuracy throughout the process is paramount. For iMFLUX, it is extremely costly to find dimensional or mould action errors late in the process due to imperfect mould design and/or mould build process that was not virtually validated. This is where NX software comes into play.

“NX Mould Wizard helps us accelerate the process by doing an analysis on the part for draft checks and wall thickness,” says Mark Reagan, mould design engineer, iMFLUX. “It establishes a core cavity split upfront and you can determine whether or not it’s really manufacturable.”

NX also enables iMFLUX to pull in predesign mould bases and hardware from the NX Mould Wizard library. As a result, iMFLUX has accelerated its design process as well as its mould building process by 20 percent.

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