MoldMaking Technology

OCT 2018

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Case Study / Machining 28 MoldMaking Technology —— OCTOBER 2018 By Cynthia Kustush Midwest Mold Services (Midwest Mold) in Roseville, Michigan, used to outsource bor- ing mill and gundrill work to companies that service the overflow from mold builders with more work than they can handle. It became clear over the last two years that with the boom in automotive jobs came elongated lines of shops waiting for that work to be done and returned. Once the work came back, the rush would begin and overtime became standard, as were extended lead times. Because of this, Midwest Mold became the •irst mold shop in the United States to purchase a CNC machine from Cheto Corp. S.A. (Oliveira de Azeméis, Portugal), an investment that brought the outsourced work in-house and solved mul- tiple challenges, according to Midwest Mold President and CEO John Hill. Plastics engineers founded Midwest Mold in 1994. They were seeking to provide sup- port to automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their Tier 1 custom molders. Hill says, "I came from a large production mold builder, and every time we would get these emergency repairs or engineering changes, it would interrupt the flow of the new tool builds and jeopardize delivery dates. We saw that as an opportunity." Going down that path was a very good MIDWEST MOLD SERVICES PROBLEM: Outsourcing gundrill and boring mill work significantly extended lead times and affected delivery dates, requiring a lot of overtime and expense. SOLUTION: Midwest Mold Services invested in a Cheto Corp. S.A. IXN2000 deep-hole drilling and milling CNC machine. RESULTS: Midwest Mold Services gained the ability to perform both deep-hole drilling and milling on one machine, which significantly reduced lead times and costs. CNC Deep-Hole Drilling with Milling Transforms Moldmaker's 2D Machining Processes opportunity, he says. However, it became very cyclical in nature—when molds were not breaking, less work was avail- able. Before long, regular customers began asking for new molds, and because Midwest Mold had all the necessary equipment (like the ability to receive and process mold data, CNC machines, programming software and a skilled work- force), the company began building new molds. "The rest is history, as they say," Hill says. "Today, about 75 percent of our revenue is new tool construction, and then a portion of that is prototypes, repairs and engineering changes to tools that we have built." In 2006, the company began offering low-volume molding of non-automotive plastic parts in an effort not to compete with its customer base. Vendor Capacity Dried Out "For the past 20 years, we've been designing and building high-volume production tools without a gundrill or boring mill on our premises," Hill says. Midwest Mold began using the consulting services of Harbour Results Inc. (HRI), which forecasted two years ago that automotive OEM demands would exceed the capacity of Tier 1 and 2 mold suppliers. Midwest Mold Services purchased this Cheto IXN2000 deep-hole drilling and milling CNC machine for its ability to perform all required 2D machining in one setup, saving a significant amount of time and money in addition to reducing lead times. Midwest Mold is the first U.S. moldmaking company to own a Cheto. Images courtesy of Midwest Mold Services. VIDEO Access the related video under the Videos tab at MMT online.

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