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How much can automation impact mold manufacturing?

Mold manufacturing has undergone a remarkable transformation

Mold manufacturing has undergone a remarkable transformation toward productivity, quality, operating efficiency, and cost savings in the last decade, and a fast time to market is a key factor in today production.

One of the most frequent questions that I hear is: how can the whole design and manufacturing process be matched to the increasing demand for performance and cost effectiveness?

Probably everyone today feels a lot more pressure while carrying out what it seems to be the very same tasks of the past. We often wonder why, even if a job is done well, the outcome is not as expected or as we where used to expect. We do the same way, We do well, We also strive to improve, but what We get is not so fulfilling…as it was in the past..

Understanding where the issue resides is not a trivial job. It is certainly not obvious finding the reason why, after a lot of efforts and investments, we still find a hard time to growing. Accordingly is common blaming the global downturn.

Sure a profession such as precision engineering is one of the pillars of modern industry in any country that has a place among world’s economies, and it is not acceptable that those who work there do not have the rewards they deserve.

We may ask ourselves many questions about what will make a difference in the results you get from work, but eventually the answer is quite often putting more energy into the work itself … but there is a limit. Daily hours are 24, and people have needs that go beyond just work.

By living in the age of technology, should be natural having chances to get better results with less effort. Or do we think that technology is only interesting when choosing a new cellphone?

I think that all the elements needed to obtain great advantages already exist, in fact they are already in all companies, first there are skills that people earned through years of hard work, and the machines and systems that have been introduced over the years with all the investments already made.

These are the same resources that can be reconfigured to achieve much more and giving business opportunities, until now, only imagined.

Basically there is nothing new to do but doing it in a different way. My belief is that exploiting all the potential of automating processes in the shop floor it is possible to increase dramatically machine usage, and by extensive use of electronic data processing and smart systems throughout the production process, people can be devoted at more content rich tasks like design and solution finding.

A precious arrival at iMold
A precious arrival at iMold

A modern automated shop floor is normally comprehensive of a number of machine tools physically and logically linked to form a workcell, capable of continuous operation also without human supervision.

Experience tells that average machine usage (tool contact) in “traditional” workshops is ranging from 4 to 6 hours daily in average, while workcells make potentially available all 24 hours of all days of the week.

Thinking running costs on a monthly basis for the largest part as fixed, they would be spread on a much higher number of productive hours, therefore, considering the above numbers, cost per hour can be reduced by 4 to 6 times.