MOLDMAKING AND TOOLING
All mold making projects require design, steel preparation, rough machining, precision machining, fitting and mold sampling.
Did you know that 70% of a product’s cost is expended at the design phase of product development? That’s because a tool is never better than its original design. At Prodigy Mold & Tool, our state-of-the-art technology and experienced engineers ensure that your project gets off to the best possible start with a superior design.
Once your design is finalized, steel preparation begins. The mold base, bushings, pins, and additional hardware are ordered.
As soon as the mold base arrives, rough machining begins. Rough machining is where we remove excess material, building the plastic injection mold to the approximate size, usually leaving just the right amount of steel to be precision machined.
Today’s precision machining relies on three primary technologies for a superior product:
- Computer Numerical Control (CNC),
- Computer Aided Design (CAD), and
- Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM).
These technologies interface with various types of precision machining equipment, such as hard milling centers and electrical discharge machining (EDM).
At Prodigy Mold & Tool, our hard milling center allows mold components to be machined in the hardened state. In many cases, this can eliminate secondary machining steps, saving time and money.
Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM)
EDM removes material from the mold by a series of rapidly recurring electrical discharges between two electrodes. This process is used when working with hard metals, or when trying to create complex geometries that are difficult to produce using more traditional machining processes.
The two primary types of EDM are Sinker EDM and Wire EDM, both of which are used by the expert machinists at Prodigy.
With sinker EDM, an electrode (usually made of carbon) and the mold are placed in an insulating liquid. A current is rapidly passed between the electrode and the mold, discharging a small amount of material from both the electrode and the mold. Varying the strength and duration of the electrical current will remove more or less material from the mold. The mold geometry can be controlled precisely, creating complex three-dimensional shapes.
In wire EDM, a thin brass wire is fed from a spool across the mold. Rapid electrical discharges between the wire and the mold remove material from the mold. Wire EDM is typically used to cut plates as thick as 300mm and to make punches, tools, and dies from hard metals. The upper guide can also move independently, creating the capability to cut tapered and transitioning shapes.
Wire EDM can be programmed to cut very intricate shapes.
EDM Equipment List:
- Makino EDNC 6 with EROWA 196 Position ERC 80 Robot
- Charmilles 350 sinker EDM with 64 position electrode changer
- Charmilles Roboform 55 (sinker EDM)
- Charmilles Roboform 35 QCRi (sinker EDM) with 90 station electrode changer and four station pallet changer
- Charmilles Roboform 30 (sinker EDM) with tool changer
- (2) Charmilles 440CC Wire EDM
- DrillMate 430ia CNC hole popper
Polishing and Fitting
Once the mold has been precision machined, it’s finely polished to remove all machining and grinding marks. This process ensures that we deliver a superior tool--one that meets exacting design specifications for both fit and texture.
Our injection mold sampling process examines and corrects any issues that could affect the moldability of a part. Adjustments are made quickly and efficiently, to ensure that your injection mold is delivered ready to run.
Choose Prodigy Mold & Tool
At Prodigy, our team of engineers and mold manufacturing specialists can help provide the right solution for your most challenging parts. We work to balance mold and cycle-time efficiency with minimal material waste.
Our equipment and our team are all geared for precision. The latest machinery for hard milling, high-speed machining, sinker, and wire EDM, and integrated turn/mill capabilities are programmed and operated by our team of skilled engineers and technicians with a wealth of experience and training.