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August 22, 1998

5 Min Read
Nine weeks, 77 tools:  Diebold gears up and cashes in with rapid tooling

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Seitz's specialty, producing tooling quickly for gears and pulleys, is what attracted Diebold, which needed 77 such tools in just nine weeks

Diebold Inc. was in a pickle last summer. Coming up in December 1997 was the Retail Delivery Show, and the company wanted to debut a prototype of its new automatic teller machine modules. The hitch was that by late May 1997, the North Canton, OH company had no tooling lined up to produce the myriad of gears and pulleys needed to build the machine. "We had very tight project timing," says Diebold's Dale Leopold, manager of polymer manufacturing engineering, noting the company's need for 77 molds to make 60 parts in just 10 to 12 weeks. "We were asking for a complete part in a very short time."

Any molder who's tried to make gears and pulleys knows such parts are a different breed. Parts like these require special attention be paid to concentricity, material compatibility, gear mesh analysis, load factors, and a host of mathematical considerations surrounding gear tooth design, shape, and interaction.

The Gear Place

Leopold says Diebold had used plastic gears in the past, but had never contemplated a new product that used this quantity. Diebold required a toolmaker who could take Pro/E files and turn them into tools in a short time. After an inspection of its facility, Diebold selected Seitz Corp., a Torrington, CT-based toolmaker and molder specializing in gears and pulleys.

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Figures 1 and 2: Subassemblies like this one are the kind Diebold needed for the automatic teller machine project.

Designs were sent from Diebold to Seitz where gear train analysis and engineering were performed before tooling began

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Urgency, geography, and several time zones quickly turned this already daunting task into a testament of the potential the Internet holds for the molding industry. First of all, Diebold wanted to keep the finished product itself a secret and therefore asked Seitz to work on subassemblies. "We were working on a proprietary product, so we were working on subassemblies only," says Paul Dubrevil, senior product designer at Seitz (Figures 1 and 2).

To start, Diebold designed the needed parts at its facility in Ohio. The Pro/E files it generated were then sent electronically to Seitz where the design was assessed for manufacturability, form, and fit before moving on to the toolroom for production. Analysis turned out to be somewhat tricky. The gear guru at Seitz is Zoltan Sostarecz, a design engineer. For the duration of the Diebold project, Sostarecz was in Hungary on leave. Still, thanks to e-mail, he was able to exchange data and supply gear train analysis support.

This sending, receiving, and massaging of electronic files was at times mind boggling, admits Jean Killiany, account manager for the project at Seitz. "It was a good working relationship," she says. "Diebold was very responsive, and so were we. The way we all worked together and stayed informed made this project work."

The Q-Drive

While cooperation and good communication made for a well-run project, Seitz's ability to turn around the 77 tools by the Sept. 1 deadline was fueled by the company's Quick-Drive tooling system. Managed and run by Jeff Jacquemin, Q-Drive/polycavity supervisor, the Q-Drive system, developed by Seitz some eight years ago, uses a base-and-insert design to make quick turnaround possible.

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Figure 3: The Quick-Drive tooling system developed by Seitz uses a series of standardized bases and inserts to make molds quickly. Cavities and cores are either machined or cut via EDM and come in diameters of 3.5 and 5 inches.

Bases are dedicated to a machine, with inserts purchased by the customer and swapped in and out to change parts (Figure 3).

The S-7 fully hardened inserts are either 3.5 or 5 inches in diameter and are machined or cut via EDM to provide part detail. This allows Seitz to produce helical gears, cammed parts, and small square or rectangular parts. For the Diebold project, it allowed Seitz to quickly make-and sometimes remake-tools. "Diebold was making changes continuously," says Killiany. "The company not only ordered 77 tools for the program, but we had to remake some tools."

Tools produced for Diebold via the Q-Drive system were qualified at Seitz on one of the company's 43 presses. Seitz also performed secondary welding, assembly, and machining, and did first article inspection before sending 100 sample parts to Diebold. Of the 77 tools Seitz made for Diebold, only one-with slides and cams-was produced using traditional methods. Technically the tools are for prototyping only, but with a life expectancy of 250,000 to 500,000 parts, Diebold expects them to live through production.

"It's producing not only prototype tooling," says Dubrevil, "but production tooling also." Says Diebold's Leopold, "One of the advantages is that they're high-quality tools made from hardened steel and we have the option to use them in production."

In the end, Diebold had its 77 molds by Sept. 1 and made a successful debut at the Retail Delivery Show. And Seitz never did get to see the finished product. "It really doesn't matter," says Killiany. "We were just proud to do the job."

Contact information


Seitz Corp.
Torrington, CT
Brian Sikorski
Phone: (860) 489-0696
Fax: (860) 496-1949
Website: www.seitzcorp.com

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