SuperMold To The Rescue
ASH Industries (Lafayette, LA) is taking advantage of recent advancements in Mastercam software to dramatically streamline its processes for making the tools used for molding medical parts. The first CNC programs for cutting mold plates can be delivered to the shop floor in as little as 15 minutes after the completion of the mold design. In some cases, the advanced cutting strategies incorporated in these programs make it possible to mill all of the mold plates within a single day.
These improved manufacturing efficiencies are the basis for the company’s SuperMold Program that offers a production quality mold (guaranteed for life) and 1000 molded parts for a set price. SuperMold parts are available within three different size envelopes and pricing varies accordingly. Small parts that fit within a 2″ x 2″ cylinder start out at $4900. First articles for these are delivered in three weeks. Larger SuperMold parts take longer, up to eight weeks. However, shorter lead times are negotiable under special circumstances.
According to ASH Industries’ president Hartie Spence, the ability to get molded parts so quickly and inexpensively is making medical device manufacturers think twice about using intermediary processes like stereo lithography and 3D printing for prototyping. The big advantage of this approach is that the medical device company can have a production mold ready to go as soon as necessary approvals have been obtained.
He said that improved manufacturing efficiencies that allow his company to offer such competitive pricing and fast turnarounds derive from a very skilled and focused manufacturing staff in combination with advanced features that began to appear in its Mastercam around 2009.