MoldMaking Technology

NOV 2018

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Page 24 of 51 23 "We knew that the machines had to run at least , hours per year. This machine uptime was essential for us since it is a large investment and our customers count on us," Schweiger says. "When making a selection of machine tools, production capacity, cutting accuracy, cost of the equipment and its reliability and perfor- mance are major con- siderations. However, the availability of replacement parts and factory service and sup- port are very important criteria when consid- ering the appropriate machine type and manufacturer." Schweiger machines many large injection molds automati- cally in one setup, machining to hours and sometimes as long as - hours non-stop. One of Schweiger's main focus areas is milling large, complex molds that weigh up to „ tons. The cavities are often very deep. They typically are between … and millimeters deep and are sometimes as much as or millimeters deep. Equipped with appropriate pallet automation, the machines run around the clock, seven days a week with Deckerform manufactures molds that weigh up to 25 tons. Before investing in new equipment, the company first listens to other shops describe their experiences and suggestions before it starts its own research. Good service is always on top of the list when it comes to a decision. one-person shifts. On the week- ends, the machines run completely unmanned. This requires the high- est process reliability across all rel- evant components and functions. DMG MORI and Schweiger Formenbau are both based in Bavaria, Southern Germany. For Schweiger, his company's proximi- ty to the machine-tool builder and the completeness and availability of the builder's stock of repair parts were important factors when buying the two large machining centers, which was a signi'icant investment for the medium-sized, family-owned business. "The DMG MORI machines were certainly not the least expensive ones," Schweiger says. "But, in relative terms, the initial machine price is not what counts. What counts is machine availability, reliability, productivity and support in appli- cation engineering." Sometimes, a "subjective" evalu- ation is more important than the objective process. A subjec- tive evaluation takes into account requirements such as tool capacity, work envelope, horsepower, control type, compat- ibility with existing equipment and the number of available machining axes. On top of that, certain machine tools just have a feel, a reputation and a company structure with which people are comfortable. "We have to feel comfortable with the company and the people with whom we are working," Schweiger says. "Our company and our machine-tool provider need to be on a level playing 'ield." Shared Experience, Service and Life Cycle This subjective evaluation was a starting point for Hans-Jürgen Koppolt, production manager at Deckerform Production Systems (Deckerform) in Aichach, Germany, as well when he was looking to increase production capacity by investing in larger machining centers capable of 'ive-sided complete machining. "We often talk to other mold shops and toolmak- ers, and many of them are friends rather than competitors," he says. "So, when it comes to investing in new equipment, we listen to other shops describe their experiences and then start our own research." For instance, the company has invested in a BFRš… 'ive-axis machining center made by Swiss machine-tool maker Reiden— not one of the most known brands. "The machine is ideal for "When making a selection of machine tools, production capacity, cutting accuracy, cost of the equipment and its reliability and performance are major considerations." Image courtesy of Barbara Schulz.

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