Canadian Plastics

Innovation by design for moldmakers

Now more than ever, Canadian mold, tool and die makers need strategies that will set them apart.

June 1, 2007   By Umair Abdul, editorial assistant



Now more than ever, Canadian mold, tool and die makers need strategies that will set them apart.

Fortunately, a professor and director with the University of Waterloo’s Mechatronics Engineering program has a potential solution: Automatic Mold Design & Manufacture, an innovative web interfaced computer-assisted design (CAD) program.

Dr. Sanjeev Bedi proposed the creation of the software after meeting with the owners of Cambridge, Ont.-based Main Plastics last year. “They said, ‘We are facing this intense competition from China, what can we do to survive?'” remembered Bedi. “I proposed a geometric modeling solution to them.”

Solid modeling systems, which are traditionally more complex CAD systems, are designed for the development of geometrical algorithms. Unlike many of the available standardized CAD systems, Bedi’s solution uses these geometric algorithms to assist in mold design.

The project, co-funded by Main Plastics and the Ontario Centres of Excellence, also has the goal of automating a greater portion of the mold design process. Bedi’s program uses geometric queries to identify part topology, split semi-visible faces, draft perpendicular faces, and insert a parting line and surface. It then generates core, cavity and insert designs for the part automatically.

Additionally, Bedi’s team found a way to embed machining information during the analysis process for the designed part. As a result, tool path creation is also automated.

As another benefit, the solid modeling CAD system exists on a platform that allows Ontario manufacturers to retain the product’s competitive edge. “[Most moldmakers] are using a tool that is not intended for moldmaking,” Bedi said. Instead of downloaded programs, the mold-specific algorithms exist on a web interface that follows the same Web 2.0 principles as the Google search engine. The experts and the users are separated, and the moldmaker interacts with the system through the transmission of encrypted data, allowing the involved experts to keep on modifying the software and updating it with improvements on a regular basis.

Above all, the web interface will save moldmakers the trouble of having to repeat the same steps in the process. With completely developed and easily accessible geometrical algorithms, Bedi estimates that a traditional modeling project that once took a week can now be completed in a single day. “[Moldmakers] will see a reduction in the design and tooling creation time and a streamlining of the machining process,” he said.

Dr. Sanjeev Bedi (Waterloo, Ont.);

519-888-4567 x. 32178

Main Plastics (Cambridge, Ont.);

www.mainplastics.com; 519-622-2291

Ontario Centres of Excellence (Toronto);www.oce-ontario.org; 905-823-2020


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