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Speed Up Injection Mold Tool Corrections With Reverse Engineering Software

The molds for high-quality injection-molded parts must be extremely precise: a component tolerance of less than 30 micrometers, for example, requires tool tolerances of less than 10 micrometers. Horst Scholz GmbH & Co. KG has mastered this challenge by ensuring that the design, tool making, injection molding and measuring technology are perfectly in sync as the company continues its quest to develop new innovations that help its customers succeed. Since the manufacturer started working with ZEISS Reverse Engineering software, they have been able to correct their highly precise tools significantly faster and more efficiently.

The challenge – Shortened Development Times

Every year, around 1.5 billion components are produced on the injection molding machines at Scholz. The injection-molded tools required for manufacturing these parts are created in the company’s own mold making process by approximately 40 highly skilled employees. Since 2009, they have achieved micrometer precision (1 millimeters). The company’s designers have helped make this possible. When undertaking complicated corrections to the injection-molding tools in the past, the designers had to manually transfer the deviations between the scan data of the first manufactured parts and the CAD data to Excel files to evaluate them – a very time-consuming and error-prone process. Performing five or more correction loops was not unheard of at Scholz GmbH for extremely complicated parts.

Scan data from the first manufactured test parts are compared with the CAD data. Errors can be quickly identified thanks to the false color display.

The Solution: Reverse Engineering

ZEISS Reverse Engineering software processes unstructured 3D point clouds, and it makes no difference if the data were obtained using contact measuring machines, computer tomographs, laser scanners or optoelectronic systems. The software then uses the point clouds to detect the underlying geometries. Thanks to the algorithms developed by ZEISS for surface reconstruction, the software is particularly well-suited for companies like Scholz GmbH that want to convert their highly precise measurement data into an exact CAD model. There is another factor that makes the ZEISS software so useful for Röder, an engineer in the Design department at Scholz, and his colleagues: “Currently, there is no software for reverse engineering that features specially integrated functions for tool manufacture.”

The benefit: Getting a Jump on Batch Production

“Thanks to ZEISS Reverse Engineering software, we only needed two correction loops for the injection molded tools used to manufacture a patch pump – in spite of the challenging geometry and two different plastics being involved,” says Röder. Fewer correction loops meant the company started batch production for the pump more than five months earlier than normal. Every year, Röder and his colleagues process around 15% of all customer orders using the ZEISS software. “In particular if we want to push the limits of what is technically and physically possible. In these cases, we either have less-than-perfect results or economically inefficient processes without this software.” Karl-Herbert Ebert, the company’s Technical Manager, could not agree more. For Ebert, ZEISS Reverse Engineering is another important piece of the puzzle for fulfilling the company’s goal of “offering maximum quality without losing sight of the costs for our customers.” 

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