Michigan-based tool and die maker Jamesway Tool and Die has released a case study demonstrating how the use of CimatronE programming has improved its business.
Because of its size (the company employs 20 people) Jamesway needed to become more efficient to compete against larger businesses for jobs, Mark Gortsema, a die designer for the company, said in a video the company distributed with the case study. The company had previously designed its stamping dies in 2D using AutoCad, but soon found out that practice had various flaws. Gortsema said the detailing process was too tedious, and as a result, the company was overlooking many sheets. The company also struggled to provide quality products on time when working with flawed part data.
To improve business, the company turned to CimatronE 3D, and so far the decision has paid off. For Jamesway, one of the greatest benefits of using Cimatron 3D is the technology’s ability to function even when it’s given imperfect CAD data. “Cimatron doesn’t care if part files are solid or not,” says Gortsema. “It grabs whatever information it has including non-stitched models or poor quality imported data, and stiches that data together so that we can use it.”
The flexibility of CimatronE saves time for both Jamesway and its customers, as the company is no longer forced to ask a client for new CAD files when the originally submitted files are of poor quality. Avoiding the dreaded request also makes Jamesway more profitable.
“We recently received from a customer die files that were far from perfect,” Gortsema said. “We didn’t have to do any development work on it before cutting it, and it just worked perfectly. As a result, we were able to build this die a week and a half ahead of schedule.”
In the last year, Jamesway opted to restructure its mold, die, and NCNC programming processes into one CimatronE-backed system. The move has made the company more stable and has afforded it the luxury of not having to translate in and out of various CAD systems.
The major overhaul has also allowed the company to use its employees in ways that promote efficiency. “For example, if a mold design is going a little slow, we can help out by developing some of the detail blocks and cutting them,” Gortsema said. “With multiple people working on a variety of operations simultaneously, we are able to reduce our lead times and increase our competitive advantage.”
Gortsema hyped CimatronE’s “spring back feature,” which he said provides a greater idea of where the spring back is coming from, allowing the company to correctly forecast its stock allowance. The enhanced predictability has saved the company from spending several more days on product development.
Another feature, “blank on binder,” has made the company more efficient by allowing it to unfold freeform shapes onto 3D geometry with enhanced precision. The feature accomplishes this task by assisting the development of intermediate binder blanking and surfaces, which are then extended onto the faces. For example, a distorted surface can be fed onto another surface with the result still being a blank layout that is precise. The ability to accept a bent surface saves the company time and money.
Prior to using CimatronE software Jamesway wasn’t able to accept several intricate jobs at the same time. Now, because of the analytical abilities of CimatronE, the company is in a better position to predict issues before they occur, which once again saves time.
“When we see red we know we have a problem,” Gortsema said. “We can run through different scenarios that allow us to adjust the die and eliminate these red areas, so that we get the part performing correctly without having to cut steel later on.”
To ease the task of taking on an increased workload, Jamesway has implemented a number of viewing stations onto its shop floor in an effort to help its workers visualize the tool they will eventually create. The viewing stations not only improve communication within the shop, but also between the company and its customers. “Now we can communicate better with the customers by sending them an actual virtual layout and ask for their input in case we think we need to tweak the part a little,” added Gorsema. “This reduces the back and forth with the customer and saves problems down the road.”
For Gortsema, one recent situation where a customer placed an order exemplifies how the company has been able to take on complex tasks. The request involved a two-out die that creates 3 to 4 inch parts spirited with a three-quarters inch web exemplifies how the company has been able to take on complex tasks. In addition to its diminutive size, the parts possessed various other intricacies that made it complex. It’s forming wasn’t straight, the stock was thick, and cam piercings had to be made on both sides of each part. Because of Cimatron, Gortesma said the company was able to successfully take on the job.
“With Cimatron, we visualized the work in a small amount of space. It allowed us to actually see the problems so we knew right away what we had to tweak, and the strip layout was developed almost right on the money.”
Filed Under: Rapid prototyping