Canadian Plastics

Homegrown software cuts mold design/build time

A new 3D CAM software package from Cornerstone Technology Inc. scheduled for commercial release by the end of this month promises to save moldmakers significant time in an area often overlooked in the...

January 1, 2000   Canadian Plastics



A new 3D CAM software package from Cornerstone Technology Inc. scheduled for commercial release by the end of this month promises to save moldmakers significant time in an area often overlooked in the machining of a mold–programming hours for plate machining. The program, NCLINK, is designed to compliment Cornerstone’s automated mold design software, Expert Mold Designer (XMD), and provide the moldmaker with an entirely paperless communication system for mold manufacturing.

“One magazine recently published a study on well-known software programs and it showed that while the amount of time typically spent on 3D CAM programming for cores and cavities was down to 12 hours, shops still spent up to 50 hours programming the drilling,” says Paul Coleman, Cornerstone vice-president.

Coleman says preliminary beta testing indicates the program can help save 30 to 70 percent, or more, of the programming time for drilling, tapping and other machining details.

NCLINK can be installed on the shop floor or in the engineering office. In operation, it presents a dialogue box that allows the user to organize all the holes in a plate by feature, for example counterboring, or by component. The operator can choose the presented option or override it. The end result is a generic file that gives all the XYZ coordinates of all the components in the plate, which frees the operator from having to enter them manually.

“You wouldn’t believe how many people are still out there bluing up the steel and scribing lines,” says Coleman. “They don’t realize how much time all this takes up. This is where our software can really help.”

Cornerstone was founded in 1988 by John Mateau, a mold designer by training. Mateau’s dream was to develop a software system for designing molds on principles that were logical to designers and moldmakers. XMD, the result of that dream, has been on the market for about three and a half years and sales have taken off this year, according to Coleman, with the addition of the automatic 3D plate detailing feature to the program. Customers include Reko Tool and Mould, Omega Tool and other shops in the Windsor area.

“The thing that stands out with XMD is its speed and its logic,” notes Coleman. “The logic shows it was built by a mold designer. It is something we get compliments for.”

In addition to its Windsor office, Cornerstone has a sales office in Troy, Michigan and recently opened a dealership in Atlanta, GA to serve the Southeast U.S.


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