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ASH Industries : CAE Services
Founded in 1991, ASH Industries (Lafayette, LA) specializes in part engineering for manufacturability, mold manufacture, thermoplastic injection molding, component integration into assemblies, DOE, IQ/OQ/PQ, clean-room assembly, ultrasonic welding, epoxy bonding, pad printing, hot stamping, custom packaging, and drop shipping. Its operations include the implementation of JIT and TOC programs to limit inventories for production runs of ten million assemblies to one thousand custom parts. ASH Industries' equipment ranges from 20 to 700 ton capacity and is capable of producing parts from 0.1 gram to 2,500 grams.
Steve Andrepont is ASH Industries' Engineering Manager. He says he and his colleagues are engineers addressing the needs of engineers. "Our customers know their applications and desired outcomes while we understand manufacturability and processing capability."
Recently, ASH Industries contacted CAE Services (Batavia, IL) to perform Moldflow analysis to confirm and apply mold and process adjustments on a plastic part. The analyses were performed to predict potential processing challenges. As a result of the work, CAE's analysis shortened the cycle time of the project and eliminated wasted resources.
"Prior to conducting the analysis," says Andrepont, "we knew the process window would be very tight, room for adjustment non-existent, and our customer was intolerant of variability. We needed predictable molding results very quickly. We expected to have a window into the process that reflected our experience and warned us of aspects we had not considered. CAE Services offered us insight not found by any other means."
He says that the Moldflow simulations did an excellent job of predicting reality. "The results were so good that we used the CAE as a benchmark of what the process should be," Andrepont adds. The costs associated with the analysis results were justified in time-line compression alone. He explains that when mold modifications and trial and error methodologies that would have been necessary without the analyses were considered, the analysis was a small price to pay. While quantifiable figures were not measured, Andrepont says that the CAE analysis did eliminate the typically expected difficult aspects of the project.
Andrepont and his staff are CAE advocates. They say other manufacturers that face tough engineering and processing challenges while trying to reduce lead times, costs, and scrap rates should strongly consider using CAE simulations. "If you anticipate a tight processing window - either because of material choice, mold configuration, or intolerance in typical part variability - CAE mold analysis will fortify your project with knowledge and eliminate costly and delayed-filled guesswork. I would not be tolerant of a result that did not conform with our experience. CAE will help narrow, however, process window expectations," Andrepont notes.
Mold-Vac on the shop floor
In addition to relying on CAE Services for Moldflow analysis, ASH Industries purchased a Mold-Vac unit from CAE Services. Prior to implementing the Mold-Vac 4000 unit, ASH Industries was tasked with manufacturing a part of typical material in a typical mold configuration. The demands of the product function, however, were completely intolerant of variation from cycle to cycle. The parts have very thin lens features that were unsuccessfully molded in previous tooling attempts. Mold-Vac made this feature possible. Andrepont says his team needed to eliminate as much variability as possible.
As a result of installing the Mold-Vac machine, ASH industries has narrowed its processing window to an extreme. Its customer is quite satisfied with the parts produced via Mold-Vac assistance, and ASH Industries is strongly considering purchasing more Mold-Vac units for many other areas at its facility.
For more information about ASH Industries, go to www.ASHindustries.com. For more information about CAE Services, go to www.caeservices.com. To contact the writer, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Laura Carrabine