Over the past year Motorola has placed an increased emphasis on adding new software tools to improve its engineering and manufacturing operations. For its moldmaking business, this has meant implementation of new procedures in Cimatron-E—their primary electrode design and programming software—and implementation of a Hexagon PC-DMIS solution on the shop floor to verify as-machined electrodes.
As added benefit of these activities can be seen when you consider that Motorola’s mold manufacturing operations generate between 15,000 and 20,000 electrodes in a typical year. With this year's consistently strong demand for tooling and molding, they may reach 25,000 electrodes.
Another part of the software process has been their implementation of EDM setup, working jointly with Cimatron. This is a utility that lets Motorola perform custom off-line setups for its automated EDM die sinking stations using live CAD data from Cimatron and its inspection data from PC-DMIS, along with pre-programmed workstation definitions. This off-line setup maintains continuity from Motorola’s design data all the way to the actual mold manufacturing steps, and helps them maximize usage of their automation for extended burns of dozens of electrodes on multiple workpieces.
Another benefit of the new system is that manual data entry is reduced or eliminated in most cases, reducing the opportunity for error. The system is now fully implemented for their Makino EDMs, and implementation is currently underway for their GF AgieCharmilles equipment.