Moldmaking Report: Maxing Out
It's something of the eternal dream for many moldmakers: To optimize work flow, shorten build times and weed out all the hidden costs that drain off profits. Information, or lack thereof, is the key i...
It’s something of the eternal dream for many moldmakers: To optimize work flow, shorten build times and weed out all the hidden costs that drain off profits. Information, or lack thereof, is the key in attaining or falling short of these lofty goals. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software can play a significant role in capturing and dispersing information throughout the entire shop, as well as helping to eliminate duplication and waste.
Unlike many ERP programs, the IQMS EnterpriseIQ program is specifically developed for the plastics industry. Most of the company’s installations have been at injection molding plants, some of which also have tool rooms.
“The key advantage of using our ERP system in a processing facility that may have secondary operations or a tool room is that the entire system is integrated,” says IQMS vice-president Terry Cline. “You don’t have to make operators and managers use two or more systems with code interfaces. All the information flows together.”
All ERP systems are designed to centralize and manage generic business activities such as generating work orders, checking inventory, monitoring production and creating accounting and financial information. The many diverse operational requirements of plastics processing and, especially, moldmaking, means that the ERP used in these settings must be flexible, easy to implement, and operate in real time, notes Cline.
“In a moldmaking shop every project is unique. It’s not the same as molding a million closures or jewel boxes.”
Cline says the IQMS platform can create a “dispatch list” for operators to schedule CNC or EDM machine time. Such a list may, for example, call for five jobs to be set up and run on CNC “A” over the next five days. The operator schedules the jobs, while the program captures who ran the machine and how long each step took, allowing supervisors to track real time costs.
“This feature lets the manager see if a particular job is within budget or over budget,” says Cline. “If it is over, he’ll know why and be able to take corrective actions.”
Designed specifically for small-to-medium size shops such as tool and moldmaking facilities, JobBOSS integrated shop management software has been installed in over 3,000 plants worldwide.
“One of the challenges mold builders face is that each order is a work-in-progress all the time,” says Patty Marascuilo, JobBOSS regional sales manager. “This program give you the flexibility to design and build a tool as you go along. You don’t need a lot of information to set up a project; you can add data as it becomes available.”
Marascuilo says JobBOSS allows a moldmaker to tie all material and labor costs to a particular project. As the project progresses, any changes to the design or materials are integrated into the project and cost estimates are revised. Labor can be tracked from the design stage to the plant floor by entry of bar codes. This data can in turn be shared with the customer who may wish to have updates on the progress of the tool build.
Money for safety
Safety pays — as in healthy, uninjured workers. But it also pays, as in cash. In 2002 Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board distributed over $16 million in rebates to companies for participating in the WSIB’s Safety Groups Program, which has as its goal, “No one gets hurt”.
The Windsor chapter of the Canadian Tooling & Machining Association (CTMA), with support from the Canadian Association of Moldmakers (CAMM), is continuing to participate in the Safety Groups Program in 2004. Last year over 40 metal-cutting firms participated in the program. Feedback from the companies involved in the program indicated that most realized a significant reduction in lost-time injuries.
Any tool or die maker in the Essex and Kent county area is eligible to join the CTMA-sponsored Safety Group. For more information contact the CTMA at 888-437-3661.