Ontario Moldmaker Goes ‘Paper-Free’ With Design Software
In the fall of 2004, the staff at automotive moldmaker Platinum Tool Technologies Inc., in Oldcastle, Ont., knew that, in order to remain competitive, they had to find a more efficient way of designin...
In the fall of 2004, the staff at automotive moldmaker Platinum Tool Technologies Inc., in Oldcastle, Ont., knew that, in order to remain competitive, they had to find a more efficient way of designing molds. By the following September, the company decided to purchase a specialized mold design software program, new computers, as well as set up a training schedule for its approximately 42 employees, in a quest to become more productive and “paper-free”.
“We were at a point when we realized that we weren’t machining the way that we had to in order to get better for the future,” Dan Moynahan, Platinum Tool’s president, said.
After a full year spent considering various software programs, the company selected VISI-Series software, a PC-based CAD/CAM program created for the mold, tool and die industry. Designed by Gloucestershire, UK-based Vero International Software, the VISI-Series program offers a combination of applications, fully integrated wireframe, surface and solid modelling, and comprehensive 2D and 3D machining strategies with dedicated tool design and high-speed routines.
“We picked the VISI software because our CAD department determined that it was a complete manufacturing package, not just a design package,” Moynahan explained.
Platinum Tool invested US$70,000 for the VISI package itself, plus an additional Cdn.$6,000 per computer to upgrade its engineering department’s existing computers to handle the new software, as well money for extra computers for the 16,500 sq./ft. shop floor.
With computers and software in place, a training schedule was set up for the entire staff. The design team went first, training for two to three days a week for two months, followed by the moldmakers and mold-polishers on the floor — whose training is, to date, still a work in progress. Support staff from Vero have been on hand throughout to help with the process.
The younger employees on the shop floor, who were not previously using computers on the job, are thriving on their new training, Moynahan said. “They are hungry for the computers and are picking it up very fast,” he noted.
The investment is already paying off, Moynahan added, by removing the element of human error from mold cutting. “Our employees no longer have to manually input coordinates when cutting molds,” he explained. “And they can use the VISI software and cut a mold section anywhere,” he said. “You just keep moving the mouse and it melts back the image of the mold and leaves what you want to see.”
Additionally, Moynahan noted, the VISI software is also compatible with Catia V4 and V5 programs — which are popular within the mold industry — allowing Platinum Tool to convert design files that are submitted by customers in Catia format.
Moynahan has no regrets about his company’s investment of money and man-hours. “We are being made to compete with these low-cost countries and we view the VISI software as another tool to become more productive.”
Platinum Tool Technologies Inc.
(Oldcastle, Ont.); 519-737-1611