Canadian Plastics

Moldmaking report (April 01, 2005)

Global stats show Canada on track...

April 1, 2005   Canadian Plastics



Global stats show Canada on track

The International Special Tooling and Machining Association (ISTMA) recently released its 2003 Business Statistics Report, which compiles information from 15 member countries, through their industry associations. ISTMA members represent tool makers, moldmakers, manufacturers of jigs and fixtures, and precision machining shops. Total turnover (sales) reported by ISTMA member countries was US$22 billion in 2003, up from US$20 billion in 2002. Average turnover (sales) per employee increased to US$106,832 from US$95,623 the previous year.

OPERATING PROFITS DROPPED IN 2003

Value added per employee as a percentage of turnover (sales) per employee ranged from a low of 41.9% reported by Switzerland, to a high of 68.5% for Great Britain. However, Switzerland came in with the highest operating profit as a percentage of turnover (sales) with 19%. The ISTMA average for 2003 was 8.7%, down from 10.9% the previous year.

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Canada’s operating profit was 11.2%, while the U.S. reported 8%.

Investment in machinery was not a strong point of Canadian industry in 2003. According to ISTMA, Canada’s investment in machinery and equipment as a percentage of turnover was 0.2%. The ISTMA average was 8.3%.

The wage and salary comparison shows that a skilled moldmaker in Canada, on average, receives US$18.85/hr. In the US, the same position pays US$22/hr. In Europe the pay scale is similar to North America, except for Portugal which pays US$11.72/hr. China did not submit figures to ISTMA, but Korea reports an average pay of US$7.02/hr. for a skilled moldmaker.

Bi-national council to promote interests of manufacturers

The bare outline of a Council for Great Lakes Manufacturing is the most concrete result of the Great Lakes Manufacturing Forum held in March. The event brought together nearly 300 representatives of Canadian and U.S. organizations with the aim of establishing shared goals to maintain and increase the competitive advantages of manufacturing in the Great Lakes region.

The Canadian Association of Moldmakers was part of the steering committee for the Forum, and many association members attended the event. Serge Lavoie, president and CEO of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, attended as well.

The Council’s goals are to develop and pursue a common agenda that will result in a regional competitive advantage for the Great Lakes region, and to develop an interactive network among key governmental and educational institutions.

“The province of Ontario and the Great Lakes states have much in common — and one of our shared treasures is the manufacturing strength of this great region,” said David Gavsie, chariman of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Everyone else in the world would love to have it, and if we don’t defend it, they’ll take it.”

Organizers of the Council expect it will work through a lead organization in every state and in Ontario to pursue the goals identified at the Forum, will develop a central Web site, and will hold periodic conference calls and meetings.

The Forum was presented by the Detroit Regional Chamber and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, with planning and development input from the Consulate General of Canada.

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Moldmakers optimistic about business conditions

A small survey of moldmakers conducted for the ISTMA-Americas Business Conditions Report shows that in late 2004, 70% expected a moderate increase in business over the next six months. ISTMA is the International Special Tooling and Machining Association, of which the Canadian Tooling & Machining Association, (CTMA), Canadian Association of Moldmakers (CAMM) and the Mould Makers Council of the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) are members.

For most survey respondents, quoting activity was higher than in the first quarter of 2004, and shipments tended to be higher or the same as early 2004 as well.

U.S. respondents were slightly less optimistic about projected business conditions. When comparing quoting and shipments in the second half of 2004 with those in the first quarter of 2004, more than half of the U.S. respondents said conditions were the same.

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Two missions to Alabama and Mexico

For export-minded moldmakers, two upcoming trade missions could prove valuable. Ontario Exports Inc. and the Canadian Consulate General in Atlanta, GA, are organizing a trade mission to Alabama in June with an emphasis on supplying the automotive industry.

Also in June, Ontario Exports in association with the Canadian Association of Moldmakers, will lead a trade mission to Mexico.

The program for the Alabama event includes participation in the Automotive News Manufacturing Conference in Birmingham, AL, pre-arranged one-on-one meetings with potential clients from the U.S. southeast, networking reception and plant site visits. For more information, contact Trevor McPherson, 416-325-4691 or George Braoudakis, 416-314-0203.

The Mexico event will include individual appointments, visits to manufacturing plants and a visit to the Expo Plasticos trade show in Monterrey. For more details, contact Fred Sheehy, 416-314-8243.

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New Products

DIAMOND-COATED END MILLS

CVD Diamond has extended its line to include metric-sized end mills and lower-priced rigid mills. The diamond-coated metric tools are available in cutting diameters of 0.5 mm to 12 mm. Diamond coated tools are suitable for machining non-ferrous metals, and are often used for graphite, carbon fibre, aluminum alloys and copper alloys.

CVD Diamond Corp. 519-457-9903

FAST, INTRICATE WIRE EDM

The Makino UP32i wire EDM is ideal for machining complex items that require extensive and intricate machining, such as highly engineered plastic molds. Makino’s Crystal Machining Circuit (CMC) provides high-definition surface finishes down to 3 micro-inch Ra with no special tooling, jigs or fixtures.

Unattended machining time is optimized by integrating a variety of auto threading methods, including high-speed, small hole and normal settings.

Makino’s WireWizard operating system provides superior performance and surface integrity without sacrificing speed, allowing for up to 30% faster processing speeds compared with other EDM technologies.

Makino 800-552-3288

CUTTING TOOLS TAILORED FOR ALUMINUM

Emuge aluminum-cutting solid carbide end mills are ideal for machining in aluminum with low silicon content (<5%). The dedicated aluminum cutting geometry provides for minimal contact between chip and tool, ensuring fluid chip removal and minimizing the danger of chip adhesion, and tool breakage. With TiB2, Emuge’s preferred coating for aluminum, these tools provide excellent results in alloys with a higher Si content(<12%).

Emuge polycrystalline diamond (PCD) end mills are designed for machining highly abrasive aluminum alloys (>12%). PCD allows more than twice the cutting speed of standard carbide end mills and over 50 times the tool life.

For rapid material removal in all types of aluminum, Emuge aluminum cutting insert tools are available. The cutters utilize a special design relative to insert orientation. Positive rake angles enhance speed and free cutting action while negative helix angles promote chip ejection and prevent chip build-up at the center of the tool. All inserts feature 20 chip breakers and are available uncoated or with TiAlN, TiB2 or diamond coatings.

Emuge 800-323-3013

DATE INSERTS SUIT THIN-WALL APPLICATIONS

Hasco offers a new line of close-tolerance date inserts which can be installed and adjusted from the parting line (both the arrow insert and the entire insert) while maintaining a precise height. The critical element is a new, high-precision locking mechanism.

The moldmaker need only machine a pocket with threads, per Hasco’s machining information. The inserts screw into the pocket. Each arrow position has a positive
lock so that no movement occurs under molding pressures.

Hasco 877-427-2662

HIGH-PRECISION EDM

Anti-electrolysis technology helps Mitsubishi’s new FA-S Series EDM machines achieve their high precision machining. The FA10S and FA20S incorporate the high-speed PM4 control, which enables full automation from rough to finish machining.

SL (Step Less) Control has improved accuracy for finishing step shape workpieces. Straightness and corner accuracy on complicated parts can now be easily machined with high precision. Another high precision feature of the FA-S Series is the EM (Entrance Master) Control, which reduces the small dimple at the program approach point.

The FA20S has an Angle Master option, which will allow for a taper angle of up to 45 degrees per side by using the new standard long stroke taper.

Consumable and electrical costs have been greatly reduced by using the CS (Cost Save) mode. The 16-Step Programmable Flushing is now standard thanks to the dielectric fluid pump inverter control system. Many self cleaning features that have reduced maintenance time by up to 90% in the FA Series have been enhanced in the new FA-S Series.

MC Machinery Systems 630-616-5920

CAD/CAM SPEEDS, AUTOMATES MOLD DESIGN

Version 6.0 of Cimatron’s flagship CAD/CAM product, Cimatron E, covers the entire toolmaking process, from quotation to delivery. Release 6.0 further automates and streamlines processes and tasks, enabling toolmakers to achieve the shortest delivery times, while still allowing each tool shop to employ its own unique methods and practices.

For example, with Cimatron E 6.0, moldmakers can now design the mold base and generate a rough Bill-of-Material before they begin core/cavity parting. The powerful MoldDesign application is further enhanced in Cimatron E 6.0 to support all types of injection mold layouts, such as multi-cavity or family molds.

The Cimatron E product suite features an advanced tool design application, supporting hybrid modeling for solid, surfacing, and wireframe design. In addition, it features a complete set of machining capabilities, from electrodes and wire EDM to 2.5-5X milling.

Further enhancements to Cimatron’s leading electrode solution enable toolmakers to easily complete the entire electrode process, from design through manufacturing and on to burning.

Cimatron 734-432-6600

MAGNETIC WORK HOLDING MODULES

The flexibility of a set-up block with the clamping force of a milling magnet is the promise of the Permanent Electro Alpha Mill 1*2*3. These 3.7 in. by 3.4 in. modules are placed between the table and workpiece to hold non-ferrous material in place for machining, grinding, polishing, measuring or welding.

The permanent electro magnetic technology means that power turns the magnetism on or off, but no power is needed to maintain magnetic clamping.

Use of the Alpha Mill 1*2*3 in conjunction with conventional clamping can actually improve cutting forces on large plates.

Alpha Workholding Solutions 252-367-3812


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