If you’re a moldmaker or contract molder, this scenario might sound familiar. Someone drops a 3D-printed part on your desk and says he wants to mold 10 million of them in a year, because, you know, this is going to take the world by storm. As you examine the ornately structured part, the first thought that comes to mind is, this is not moldable. It’s because of situations like these that NyproMold (Clinton, MA) has developed the Foundations Development Tooling program. Robert Irwin, Director of New Business Development, explained the concept to PlasticsToday from the company’s booth at last week’s co-located PLASTEC West and MD&M West event in Anaheim, CA.
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The Foundations program was established to help customers achieve accurate parts earlier in the development cycle and drive better designs and more-productive mold solutions. “Our approach is to look at that part from a moldability perspective and determine how to provide the aesthetics and functionality that the customer wants,” said Irwin. It’s a fundamentally different approach to prototyping, he stressed. “Prototypers are looking to deliver the part as fast as possible,” whereas the Foundations program relies on concurrent engineering to optimize part and tool design, deliver production-quality parts and draft a design-for-manufacturing review in a matter of weeks.
The Foundations methodology includes creation of the development tool using precisely machined steel inserts that feature cooling, gating and mold ejection that are consistent with a production mold. Using this tool, the team molds and validates production-quality parts in quantities up to 10,000 units, and presents a scale-up plan for manufacturing. Customers can choose to purchase the complete tool, or only the inserts and molded parts for use in market analysis or testing.
The program was launched a couple of years ago and was initially offered exclusively to a select group of NyproMold customers. It’s now being run as a specific business and is available to any company that sees value in improving mold cycle time and part quality.
A 24-cavity continuous cam servo unscrewing threaded mold.
In Anaheim, Irwin also spoke about an innovative servo unscrewing system that the company will officially roll out at the Amerimold show this summer in Chicago. The servo mold technology for high-output cleanroom molding is built around a “unique design that eliminates the rack superstructure and makes the mold more compact,” explained Irwin.
“We have become experts in replacing existing hydraulic functions with servo motors,” said Irwin. Over time, NyproMold engineers began to consider rethinking the mold operation by leveraging the precise, repeatable operation and flexibility of servo motor technology, and not just using it in retrofits. “That led us to a new patent-pending design for unthreading threaded closures, or any unscrewing part,” said Irwin.
Medical molding is the primary target of this technology and that has been one of the big drivers, said Irwin. “It’s designed to be retrofittable and we take into consideration any special requests a customer may have, but a lot of them are coming back and saying, ‘we won’t put hydraulic cylinders into our cleanroom any more. You get leaks and contamination just by handling them.’”
At the end of the day, added Irwin, all of these innovations serve a common purpose: “To shorten the overall launch cycle and make sure the customer is getting a better part.”