Canadian Plastics

Tooling-focused software gets the nod at Magna

When Magna decided to start an in-house apprenticeship training program for metal-cutting trades, it needed a CAD/CAM software supplier. Naturally it had no shortage of candidates. After evaluating th...

September 1, 2000   Canadian Plastics



When Magna decided to start an in-house apprenticeship training program for metal-cutting trades, it needed a CAD/CAM software supplier. Naturally it had no shortage of candidates. After evaluating the various product lines, the company chose the software package of Cimatron Ltd. (Livonia, MI), purchasing 30 seats, which were installed in Magna’s new Technical Training Centre last year.

According to Cimatron’s Peter Bolger, manager, new products and strategic accounts, Magna’s decision to use the company’s CAD/CAM software was based on its reputation and track record in the tooling industry, as well as Cimatron’s commitment to servicing the new Centre’s training requirements.

“One of the strength’s of Cimatron’s software is its capabilities for complex surfacing,” says Bolger. “This was a good fit for Magna’s needs because toolmaking is mostly about designing and building complex structural shapes.” Bolger notes that the CAD/CAM software also contains a number of cutting-edge features, including a specific program for doing very fast splitting of cores and cavities.

Cimatron has also recently introduced a new CAD/CAM application package for quick modeling of EDM electrodes, called QuickElectrode (see Moldmaking section, page 37). The software package can be used for burn area selection, electrode design, management, documentation and manufacturing of solid or surface geometry. Such advanced features are especially useful in a production setting, says Bolger.

Magna’s training program is based on the trade apprenticeship training programs of the German and Austrian educational systems. In the metal-cutting areas, the objective is to train apprentices for the tool and die, moldmaking and millwright trades. The Centre also offers programs in industrial electronics and robotics/hydraulics/pneumatics. Students receive 4000 hours of comprehensive, multi-discipline training over a two- to four-year period. The program emphasizes hands-on skills training and learning by doing. Instructors from Durham, Conestoga and Humber colleges provide the training. Students receive a designated number of hours of training in a variety of areas, which include, among others, welding, electronics/robotics, hydraulics, manual cutting and milling, CNC, wire EDM, as well as coursework and theory. The Cimatron software used at the training facility has some customized features, but is otherwise functionally similar to the software used in a production setting.

“These days there is as much design expertise going into the design of the tool as there is in the design of the part,” says Bolger. “When we’re training toolmakers we feel we’re really training designers.”


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