IMold Tooling Technology's Adriano Caseiro (left), president, and Bruce Fishman, manager-North America, tell us the company's fully integrated approach to the process will ensure on-time deliveries of high-quality molds to its international customers.
IMold's headquarters are in a new manufacturing facility in Leiria, Portugal. It has branch operations in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA and Joinville-SC, Brazil. A sister company called Gramaq provides contract machining services for graphite electrodes in both Portugal and Brazil. Adriano Caseiro, president, says, "We are trying to change the basic process of producing tools for injection molding."
In the late 1990s, Caseiro helped develop much of the proprietary software technology and the engineering and manufacturing systems that are the core of IMold's approach. The software integrates everything from CAD and CAE to fully automated machining and inspection. Palletizing designs support automated machining to speed electrode production. The latest equipment is used, including five-axis, high-speed milling and robotics. But the IMold process begins much earlier.
IMold's customer partnering starts with conceptual part design. Design for manufacturability, assembly, and packaging services are provided, in addition to materials selection. Hot runner selection and gas-assist application engineering services are available. "Today we must offer much more than just a mold," Caseiro says.
|'If a customer says he needs a mold in his plant in four weeks, we'll get it there in four weeks.'|
Once the design is set, molds are built with as many standardized components as possible. "Ideally, we engineer the molds with a maximum use of our design standards. Design standards support our drive for reduced costs and on-time delivery, and ensure that replacement components are correct and will fit without needing adjustments," says Caseiro.
The Internet also plays a key role. Presently under construction on its website is IMold Onsite, a virtual office that allows international customers to review a detailed, real-time status of their tools. On the shop floor, IMold has magnetic card readers. Files for every mold project, at the completion of each step, are automatically updated and the information is immediately transmitted to the website.
IMold's concentration is on cores, cavities, and other critical components. Other components are subcontracted. It intends to build about 60 molds this year, and 100 or more annually over the next two to three years. Molds will range up to 5 tons, mostly complex and small multicavity tools. Only one shift will be manned. Caseiro says IMold will not be a labor-intensive operation, but stresses that a well-trained, highly motivated workforce is absolutely essential to IMold's 24-hour process.
"We give people responsibility, incentive, and authority to derive new standards and integrate them into streamlined manufacturing systems," he explains. "This is the way to attract the best, creative minds in the business." He believes that his people, the final link in his fully integrated approach to the moldmaking process, will help IMold meet its guaranteed deliveries. "If the customer says he needs a mold in his plant in four weeks, we'll get it there in four weeks."
IMold Tooling Technology