Shortening Production Times and Keeping Up with Customer Expectations with Integrated 3D Solids Design and Manufacturing
Established in 1989, Diamond Tool & Engineering specializes in the design and building of intricate, tight tolerance injection molds for the medical, electronic, recreation, consumer and automotive industries. Diamond has made its reputation as a reliable tool maker, often called upon to help customers with their most sensitive and critical projects. Today, the company operates two facilities with 30 employees located in Bertha, Minnesota
and Englewood, Ohio
“We provide high quality products backed by excellent customer service and support. Our short lead times and the ability to do complicated tooling and complex engineering work leads to high customer satisfaction. Customers know they can rely on us when they can’t afford any failure,” says Kent Smith, Diamond’s Founder and President.
Challenges: A Streamlined Process for Accuracy and Faster Delivery
With a growing share of part design done in solids, working in a 3D wireframe environment was increasingly proving to be a challenge for Diamond. Priding itself on high quality of craftsmanship and rapid turnaround, Diamond was finding it more and more difficult to effectively and efficiently handle the 3D design files provided by its customers.
“If we had a customer that had a solid file coming in, we struggled with transferring it over to our CAD system. If we had any outside designs done in solids, we still had to convert them over to fit our NC software,” reflects Gary Quinlan, an engineer and designer at Diamond. “We were ending up with a translation of a translation of a translation. By the time we got the file into our system, it was not very clean and hard to manipulate.”
In addition, working in Mastercam meant that many tasks were done manually, such as splitting parts or creating printouts, adding multiple days to each job. With growing customer expectations, Diamond Tool & Engineering needed a solution that would help the company continue to meet the demand for faster delivery times while maintaining product quality.
Solution: Cimatron Provides Seamless Integration from Design to Programming
Diamond Tool & Engineering looked for a powerful yet economical solution that would enable transition to 3D solids while offering seamless integration from design to programming. “We have been looking for the right software for many years,” says Smith. “We tried other solid software, but without good transition between design and programming, you end up having to translate from a solid into wireframe surfaces and you never get a good clean translation between the two. We took a hard look at Cimatron because it offers an economical integrated solution that enables us to move into solid design and work that through programming seamlessly throughout the shop.”
While having the vision of a complete integrated solution in mind, Diamond worked with Cimatron to come up with a phased implementation approach that would ease the transition and fit the company’s budget targets, starting off with CimatronE Electrode. “Pulling and programming electrodes in Cimatron is way faster than Mastercam ever was. It does a lot of the work for you, fixing corners for example. We can create a template and reuse it. Then we just print the setup sheets and the numbers are there,” says Jamie Banister, in charge of programming.
Following their initial success with Cimatron, Diamond moved on to implement CimatronE MoldDesign and Cimatron NC
Cimatron offers the ability to work on solids from design to programming. Therefore there are no discrepancies between the start of a part, the design, and what is sent into programming. “Cimatron is making us more efficient. We are not stumbling over issues. We are not spending time to get things cleaned up. Splitting parts, for example, is very, very easy compared to other software, where you have to do it manually and it can take days to split a complicated part. Cimatron just does it for you.” explains Quinlan. “We have a cleaner, better part to start with, which makes a huge difference down the line,” adds Banister.
Transitioning over to Cimatron has proven easy for experienced and novice users in design and programming alike. “It is not just the use of solids, it is the way that Cimatron does things that really helps on the design end,” says Quinlan. “Even for someone who had very little solid experience, it took no more than 2-3 weeks to jump on board and see the benefits of it.”
Results: Quicker Design and Production Impacts the Bottom Line
The Cimatron solution has offered Diamond a wealth of benefits. Processes are consistent from design to programming, resulting in greater accuracy and speedier delivery. “The design process is30-40% faster than it used to be and as much as 2-3 times faster on some molds,” says Smith.
Time savings are also being realized on the programming side. “Cimatron has real knowledge of remaining stock, enabling more accurate cutting and reducing our use of electrodes. Cimatron’s templates are helping us do the programming faster, and the integration with design leaves less room for errors,” notes Banister.
Other efficiencies include a virtually paperless environment. Questions are quickly and easily answered by viewing the information in real-time in Cimatron, whether in regard to electrodes or milling. “The flow from design to manufacturing is much smoother, shortening our delivery dates, making us more efficient and improving quality,” adds Smith.
Customer satisfaction is high. Not only do customers receive their molds quicker, they are also able to use the software to view the work in 3D solids throughout the process, ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Maintaining the information in solid format allows customers to make changes to the design at their end with greater ease and enables Diamond to quickly and reliably incorporate these changes.
Last but not least, the integrated 3D solids environment enables Diamond to land more business and improve business performance. Says Smith: “Our efficiency has been increasing incredibly. I know it has impacted our bottom line. We can take on more business, because we are not spending as much time in design. If design can do things much quicker, it benefits the company throughout. To me that is a big, big plus.”