With an experience of thirty years in mold design, Mauro De Paris has experienced the changes that have taken place in technological development due to the entry of IT into production activities and mold design.
He started working with the drafting machine, today he takes advantage of the possibility to study the mold components in 3D from the computer screen. Once he decides the layout of the mold according to the presses on which the molding will take place, he foresees the steel components to be processed and the normalized steels that will be used.
From your vantage point as a mold designer, which changes have you observed over the years?
“I witnessed an epochal change, which occurred in the 1990s, when computer-aided design (CAD) software became widespread. Before, we used drafting machines, the transparencies became drawings on the basis of which the mould was made. At first, we worked with softwares on workstations, computers that were slow and laborious in their commands. Later, the computing power and interface of the computers improved, and the design became faster and faster. What is now accomplished in 20-30 hours, in the days of the drafting machine took weeks. But speed was not the only advantage brought by the computer.”
What other advantages and evolutions has it paved the way for?
“In the second half of the 1990s, thanks to computers, CAD went beyond the technical office of companies, arriving for example in the department where the mold is produced, the workshop. The other crucial step was going from two to three dimensions. Initially we had to deal with mathematics that described the profile of the piece, its shape, but without distinguishing solid and empty parts. Since the early 2000s, thanks to the solid modeler, this criticality has been overcome. We have libraries of normalized solids available on the market. And the project can pass from CAD to CAM, that is, to the software that manages the machines, in our case both milling machines and EDM machines”.
What are the next innovations in mold design?
“Simulation software is gaining momentum, which will save even more time, the most valuable resource. They simulate mold filling and component movement. They can help us optimize the process even more by anticipating critical issues that today we face only at the testing stage.”
The most innovative companies always pose new challenges to their partners who, like Stamplast, contribute to the production of certain components. What are examples of needs you’ve noticed related to this push for innovation?
“We are all driven by curiosity especially in this industry, we are open to learning and to the innovation. I see two types of customers, which pose different challenges for us to grow. On the one hand, there are companies that have very clear ideas and a high level of know-how to transfer to their partners, such as Stamplast. On the other hand, there is a growing number of companies that have wonderful ideas, but which need to be developed, and ask for support that we are very happy to be able to guarantee. The continuous improvement in skills and technologies at our disposal allows us to face these challenges successfully. We have a solid base, with more than thirty years of experience of the founder Elio Pierobon, and a team that works as a team“.
The designer of moulds for plastic materials must find solutions that take into account time, resources and technical feasibility. How do Stamplast’s solutions araise?
“Solutions are born from everyone’s collaboration because it is essential to make the most of the lead time of mould construction and moulding. It means minimizing criticality in the testing stage.”
Can you tell us about a successful project that has given you satisfaction as a mold design professional?
“Among the most recent and particular ones, I would mention the molding of two plastic elements, two cylindrical bushings for the medical sector. On this occasion, for the first time, we used electric movements to make undercuts. A movement was needed to cut female threads in a clean room. The electric motion system ensured that there was no dust. It was a challenge overcome with a new and interesting solution that was simple and beneficial.”
Selecting the right polymers to use in a project depends on many factors. What are the emerging trends regarding materials?
“One factor influencing choices, hopefully momentary, is the limited availability of raw materials and delivery times not always in line with expectations. Looking at longer-term trends, I would say that we are increasingly looking at sustainability, the origin of materials and recycled raw materials. On these issues we are facing a path of growth in skills and innovations to be proactive with our partners.
For us, it is fundamental to understand the customer’s environment and technical needs. Some products come into contact with the body while others are destined to contain liquids for human consumption and must therefore be compatible and comply with the strict international standards that regulate these sectors of application”.