L&Z Tool and Engineering
Integrated CAD and NC Software Gives Moldmaker a Competitive Advantage
Industry: L&Z Tool and Engineering, Inc. is a producer of plastic molds, dies and tools.
Location: Watchung, New Jersey

"Cimatron has really helped us stay ahead of the curve when it comes to creating more sophisticated molds, such as those required for products with blended curves. Without Cimatron in place, designing and producing such goods would be nearly impossible."

Thomas LaMarca, Jr., Owner

The Challenge
• Continue a 50+ year tradition of customer satisfaction achieved by delivering high-quality and reliable tools
• Compete more effectively with low cost overseas toolmakers
• Obtain the needed capabilities to efficiently produce more sophisticated products
• Respond to changing market conditions and tap into new opportunities

The Solutions
• An integrated CAD/CAM system enables seamless transition from design to manufacturing
• Cimatron NC streamlines and accelerates production with efficient continuous 3D cutting
• Advanced 5-axis capabilities enable the company to step up to the next level of quality and efficiency

The Results
• With a reputation for quality and reliability, L&Z continues to be the supplier of choice for a growing number of customers in a variety of industries
• More efficient processes have enabled the company to increase production output and give L&Z a competitive edge
• Advanced NC and 5-axis capabilities allow the company to expand its portfolio offering with more complex products

Three Generations of Commitment to Innovation Carries on a Tradition of Quality

L&Z Tool and Engineering, Inc. is an ISO-9001-208 registered producer of plastic molds, dies, and tools.  With each and every one of its products fabricated at its New Jersey facility, the company prides itself on its use of only the finest-made American materials, which conform to the strictest engineering standards.  After five decades of excellence in craftsman and precision, as well as dedication to customer satisfaction, the company has grown to become an industry leader.  

“We are a proud, third-generation American business founded by my father and his partner in 1952,” says L&Z owner Thomas LaMarca, Jr.  “My father came to this country from Sicily at the age of 8.  He started working at the young age of1, doing all sorts of menial jobs in his pursuit of a career as a toolmaker. At one point in time he even had a short stint helping no other than Mr. Thomas Edison himself while working at one of his companies. Eventually, my father joined a major aluminum company that made their own tools.  He quickly rose to the level of a top toolmaker, but his dream was to run his own business, and that’s how L&Z came to be.  Shortly after L&Z was formed, he and his partner parted ways, and with a combination of creativity and skill, he was able to singlehandedly turn this company into the successful entity it is today.”

Challenges: Drive Production Superiority through Innovation

Company founder Thomas LaMarca Sr. understood the importance of progress and evolution, and knew that in order to thrive, his company would have to branch out into other types of tools.  He also recognized that German tool making companies were quite proficient in the process of duplication. 

“My father was one of the first to buy a 3D duplicating machine, which allowed him to rapidly build and trace a model in full detail, and easily scale it up or down. This really came in handy, since the company was doing quite a bit of automotive work, which required an extensive amount of body matching.  He was also the first in the state to purchase an EDM machine,” LaMarca Jr. adds.

As the business continued to grow, LaMarca Jr. joined his father in managing the business. L&Z continued to innovate, replacing manual duplicating with a hydrocopy machine in the late 60s, which automated milling and cutting processes.  They later upgraded further to an electronic impulse stylus, which enhanced production workflows significantly. 

Then, computers came into play.  “CNC machines opened up a whole new world for us,” he continues.  “We began leveraging software to generate cutter paths.  But it still had its shortfalls.  For example, we could create shapes, but were unable to marry them together.”

When a new project came along that required L&Z to create some very complex parts, the LaMarcas saw it as an opportunity to evaluate a new generation of NC software that could help them tackle such projects.

“We had all the vendors come in for demos and they could all do practically miracles with their software,” recalls LaMarca Jr.  “But when we asked them to run our job they all fell flat.” That is until they met the Cimatron team.  “They were able to run the job and create the complex curves and shapes that we needed to deliver.”

Solution: Cimatron Increases Production Speed and Sophistication 

L&Z was one of the earliest users of Cimatron NC in the US.  Selected originally to provide the continuous 3D cutting capabilities the company was lacking, Cimatron NC delivered advanced functionality that has helped the company continue on its quest to make strategic use of technology to improve its operations.

Since these early days, L&Z has continued to expand the use of Cimatron software throughout its entire operations from design to manufacturing.  “We are always looking for new ways to do things faster and better,” explains LaMarca Jr.  “Cimatron has enabled us to produce more per hour, so we can compete more effectively with companies overseas.  And when it comes to the really difficult stuff, no other software can do what Cimatron can.”

With Cimatron, the company has the ability to actively participate the customer in the entire development process—from concept through design and into production. The L&Z team is often relied upon to help a customer come up with a new concept, perfect it, and ensure it is a viable, moldable product already in the early stages of product design. 

And, according to Lance LaMarca, the third generation to run the company, “Where Cimatron really shines is in the area of tool design.  We now have a completely seamless transition from CAD to CAM, with absolutely no translation required.  We’ve also been benefiting from Cimatron’s advanced machining capabilities, including its cutting movement efficiency and its precision in calculating remaining stock.”

“Moving into 5-axis technology has really elevated our capabilities to a new level,” adds LaMarca.  “When you can attack the tool from 5 different directions you get beautiful blends without spending time on multiple setups.  We have top of the line 5-axis machines that do the work, but Cimatron is really the brain behind it.”

Results:  Product Differentiation, Combined with Rapid Production and High Quality Equals Success

“In our business, companies that stay in place simply cannot survive,” adds LaMarca Jr.  “Things just change too rapidly and you need to keep pace.  For example, at one time automotive products accounted for as much as 85 percent of our business. As that industry changed, so did demand for our services. 

Additionally, as the requirements of our own customers have changed and evolved, we need to be able to help them respond to the demands of their respective markets by re-styling products to stay on top of new trends.  Cimatron gives us the ability, and more importantly, the agility to tap into new revenue opportunities by making different kinds of products as efficiently as possible, while maintaining the highest quality standards.”

In one recent case, LaMarca recalls, a customer called L&Z with a complex job that required the use of 5-axis technology. “They initially sent to another shop, but that shop could not get it done with their 5-axis technology.  Using Cimatron, we were able to complete the project and even exceed the customer’s expectations. Following that experience, we realized how powerful of a competitive advantage Cimatron 5-Axis gives us over other shops, and we decided to buy another 5-axis machine.  Cimatron helped us set this machine up in no time so we could be productive right away.”

“We’ve used countless technologies as we’ve continued to innovate and diversify over the years,” LaMarca Jr. concludes.  “Cimatron has consistently proven its value and passed the test, time and time again.”