Ju Teng International Holdings is one of the world’s largest producers of casings for electronic goods. With 40,000 staff and seven manufacturing facilities across both mainland China and Taiwan, its range of operations include plastic injection molding, spray painting, metal tooling and stamping and assembly.
In addition to the production of casings for televisions and handheld items such as ipads and digital cameras, Ju Teng claims over 30% of the international market for the manufacture of notebook casings. Tier-one notebook companies it supplies include Acer, Asus, Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Sony and Toshiba.
As with most electronic products, the market for notebooks is highly competitive with ongoing efforts by the key brands to produce new, ever more powerful models as part of the battle for market share. While this means a regular supply of jobs for Ju Teng as a leading producer of notebook casings, deadlines are usually tight and there is constant pressure to keep production costs to an absolute minimum. However, given the sheer complexities involved in producing the casing molds – an average of 25 molds are required to create all the components for a single casing – meeting deadlines and minimizing costs can be challenging, to say the least.
As part of its ongoing efforts to improve productivity, in 2009 Ju Teng undertook a review of the CAD/CAM software employed in its manufacturing facilities. At the time, three software products were in use, one for parting, a 2D product for mold design, and CimatronE for NC programming and electrode creation.
It quickly became apparent that the use of separate products was creating communication inefficiencies between the CAD and CAM departments. Design data would need to be imported by NC programmers, and any accompanying instructions would be conveyed either verbally or via text documents, rather than by graphical geometry, creating process delays and leading to mistakes. In addition, all aspects of the design had to be fully completed before the CAM department could take over.
Another major issue was the use of 2D software for the mold design. Many aspects of the design were left to the imagination of the designer and mistakes were not discovered until after the manufacture of the mold. This problem was so common that Ju Teng had a department dedicated solely to fixing mistakes in molds that had already been machined.
After an extensive review and assessment of the available products on the market, Ju Teng’s choice fell to CimatronE. The company had been successfully using CimatronE for NC programming and electrode design and production since 2004, and saw the transition to the integrated software for both CAD and CAM as a natural choice. By the end of 2010, the company had a total of 280 CimatronE seats; by the beginning of 2013, Ju Teng had fully implemented the transition to CimatronE, with over 400 seats of the software across its seven machining facilities.
“The benefits of shifting over our entire design and production to CimatronE were obvious,” says Mr Luorongde, Vice President of the Ju Teng Group.
“CimatronE offered strong capabilities for our mold making needs and allowed all of our CAD and CAM processes to be performed with the one software. Working in a 3D environment and using CimatronE’s analysis tools, our staff has been able to accurately design molds for production, practically eliminating the need for trial-and-error on the shop floor. We’ve even been able to close one of our departments that was responsible for repairing mistakes in machined molds.
“It’s always a risk for a company the size of ours to move all of our operations to a new software, particularly given the burden of implementation and training. However, Cimatron China provided an outstanding level of support during the process with onsite training and technical assistance, as well as a willingness to work closely with us at all stages to ensure that the transition was as smooth as possible.”
Mr Luorongde: “Our adoption of CimatronE for our mold design, electrode and NC programming has enabled us to boost our overall productivity by 50%. We can now provide our customers better quality molds delivered much more quickly.”
Ju Teng’s designers were able to employ CimatronE’s mold-specific modules and analysis tools to create molds with few, if any, errors, and to minimize the need for shop floor iterations with full 3D simulation and gouge prevention. No longer would it be left to the designer to engage in guess work during the design, nor would there be a need for the costly and time-consuming repair of machined molds containing mistakes.
CimatronE capabilities, such as streamlined ECO management, and a hybrid solid surface environment for mending and parting, also helped to speed up the design process and ensured optimal quality.
As an integrated CAD/CAM solution, CimatronE also provided Ju Teng with efficiencies in the level of coordination and communication between departments. Data import was no longer necessary for NC programming, nor were written or verbal instructions required between designers and programmers. Files would contain the product manufacturing information necessary to ensure that programmers were fully up to par with the intricacies of the design.
Software integration also meant that, for the first time, Ju Teng staff could work concurrently, with two or more designers working on the same mold on different sub-assemblies, or one designer working on the parting while the other worked on the model design. NC programming could begin while a mold was still being designed.
“Our move to CimatronE was one of the best business decisions we have ever made,” says Mr Luorongde.