The Swedish plastics company PolymerDon AB has achieved significant benefits using SolidWorks combined with a number of specialized software modules in the design and manufacture of injection molding tools.
Swedish plastics company PolymerDon AB recently achieved significantly faster, safer and more streamlined development process. This improved design of plastic injection molds was accomplished with a SolidWorks platform from PLM Group and the addition of special add-on software from the Israeli company R & B Mold & Die Design. At the same time, the construction work in 3D has made communication with customers on development projects considerably more effective and raised customer satisfaction, according to toolmaker Mattias Ehrlund of PolymerDon.
The tools are manufactured using sink erosion machines and five-axis milling machines. For the design of the tools, PolymerDon is using SolidWorks Professional combined with the modules MoldWorks, ElectrodeWorks and SplitWorks.
With the three additional modules for SolidWorks, PolymerDon has created a structured and compressed step-by-step workflow in its design process, which helps to eliminate errors, explains Mattias Ehrlund: «this powerful combination has made our design work much faster, easier and safer. During the design process we have to follow a series of mandatory steps, which means that we cannot proceed to the next step before all errors are eliminated. We cannot just skip a step, so the chances of ending up with a faulty design are reduced,» he explains, adding: «The programs automate the development of new tools and electrodes so we can shift our attention elsewhere. Moreover, it is easy to see what colleagues have been doing while using the software for better collaboration.»
MoldWorks adds a library with a number of basic 3D models of standard injection molding tools from Hasco to SolidWorks. The software also has a number of design and editing options so the standard tools can be modified into the special tools needed by PolymerDon and its customers. «It is easy to make changes in MoldWorks and development work goes significantly faster because we already have the basic 3D models. We are no longer forced to search in thick catalogs to find the base models, we need,» explains Mattias Ehrlund.
Using ElectrodeWorks, PolymerDon designs the electrodes used for machining with sink erosion. «We manufacture many electrodes and we are using ElectrodeWorks a lot. The program gives us a good overview because we get an accurate graphical image in SolidWorks of the electrodes and their holders. In the software they look exactly like they do out of production, which is a great advantage for us,” says Mattias Ehrlund.
PolymerDon has recently invested in the SplitWorks software. This module is used to ensure that the dies are divided in the right way with a split line, so that ready parts can be removed from the molds. Mattias Ehrlund explains that the company has just started on the first project using SplitWorks developing a mold for the manufacture of a product with complex shaping. «SplitWorks will make it easier for us to make split lines especially in connection with tools for making complex parts,» he says.
PolymerDon is also considering investing in SolidWorks Plastics for simulating the injection molding processes, «but we have not reached this step yet,» says Mattias Ehrlund.
Bransjer: Mold, Tool & Die