Speed. For production companies, this simple word can mean the difference between keeping customers—and losing them. Today, high quality parts and prototypes that can be produced with increased speed and at lower costs are what customers are demanding. While at one time, 16-18 weeks was the typical tool-build schedule, now product turnaround times of four to 12 weeks are the norm. This puts extra pressure on toolmakers and design engineers who must struggle to keep up.
RCO Engineering, founded in 1976 and located in Roseville, Michigan, manufactures plastic parts, prototypes and production tools primarily for the transportation industry. It is one of these companies trying to speed up its processes. Recently, the company decided to invest in new technology in order to meet this goal. To do this, RCO purchased new products for high-speed milling, EDM and tool cutting. However, one of the major components of this technological upgrade was Quick-Split software from Cimatron Limited (Livonia, Michigan).
"Quick-Split helps us gain tool building efficiencies and reduce tool timing," says Norm Star, marketing manager at RCO Engineering. "It allows us to go from the early stages of receiving the data to engineering what the tool will look like more quickly. In an industry where our customers' goals are to shorten product development cycles and trim the time out of the process anywhere and everywhere, Quick-Split is a competitive advantage."
Mr. Star explains that by reducing setup time, Quick-Split allows RCO to "get to the tool faster." "The more complicated the job, the larger and more complex the part geometry, the greater the benefit there is from using Quick-Split," he says. "We recognized this immediately when we saw it demonstrated."
With Quick-Split, moldmakers can determine the parting lines in 3D quickly and accurately. They also can find the most efficient split option using any CAD system. This helps to free up moldmakers' time on the shop floor, which means increased productivity for RCO. Since using Quick-Split, RCO has been able to cut up to 50 percent off tooling delivery time.
"RCO has the perfect type of application for Quick-Split software with its large, complex parts," notes Eyal Dolev, chief executive officer of Cimatron Technologies North America. "What really makes the product useful at RCO is the instantaneous visual feedback it provides of the splitting and mold design process. The software can even provide splitting capabilities if original data passed to it is not 100 percent accurate."
Phil Morganroth, general manager of RCO Engineering, agrees. "The function of setting up the data and establishing the parting line requires our most skilled people. It's not something we can put a ‘junior' person on. Therefore, the longer the process takes, the more it ties up our most skilled people. One of Quick-Split's benefits is that it reduces the time that our best people have to spend on setup tasks."
Quick-Split is also easy to use, it has a friendly interface, and it has only a small amount of training time. RCO was able to get the product up and running in a very short time.
"We have quite a bit of interaction with Cimatron on both product development and support issues," says Mr. Morganroth. "Cimatron is very good about getting input from us on our needs and comments on future product developments. It is extremely responsive when technical support is needed."
Today RCO is able to meet the customer demand of four to 12 week tool development time, thanks in part to Quick-Split Software.