Mold Manufacturer Made $300,000 Annually via Productivity Gains with Automation

January 30, 2019 1:05 pm



Extreme Tool and Engineering, Inc. is a mold manufacturer located in Wakefield, Michigan.

For years, the company has been struggling to find a way to optimize its inconsistent mold-making processes and keep up with the demand.

Here’s how automation helped this manufacturer achieve 100% on-time delivery rating (exceeding their 95% goal), increase customer satisfaction rating, and grow its annual revenues by $300,000 via productivity gains.


Return on Investment with Automation

In an effort to evolve from a traditional mold-maker business model to that of a world-class mold manufacturer, Extreme president Mike Zacharias consulted with Jeff Johnson, Die and Mold Project Manager on the YASDA Precision Product Management Team at Methods Machine Tools. Extreme was aware of YASDA’s reputation for being the most precise machine available but was skeptical that it had the degrees of accuracy, time, and productivity savings, as well as process security, that they needed. Zacharias issued test cut challenges to Johnson, who recommended the YASDA YBM 640V3 3-Axis CNC Vertical Jig Borer to provide high rigidity, precision boring and milling operations for high accuracy mold, die, and complex component manufacturing. Excellent test results encouraged Extreme to purchase the YBM 640V3.


The YASDA Difference

YASDA’s rigidity, repeatability, and thermal stability deliver the utmost in accuracy, precision, and throughput. A reinforcement rib under the machine’s bridge minimizes vibration during acceleration and deceleration, allowing for the heavy duty machining required in mold manufacturing. Machining efficiency is optimized by keeping the weight of the spindle head and saddle as low as possible, and all critical machine surfaces are meticulously hand scraped, providing outstanding mechanical accuracy.

Extreme was able to eliminate many of the offline operations they previously had, and are now often able to go right into abrasive cloth. Frequently, no polishing is required by the toolmakers, due to the net (zero) machining capability. YASDA has an exclusive spindle-bearing, preload self-adjusting technology that provides optimum preload at the full range of spindle speeds. A rugged spindle enables a full range of machining – from heavy duty roughing to delicate fine-finishing – while providing a long tool and spindle bearing life.


Medical Molds Manufactured for Efficiency

Extreme’s customers expect full interchangeability, fast cycle times, and molds that last forever. Having the YASDA in-house allows Extreme to provide repeatable, consistent results and eliminate time-consuming handwork. One of Extreme’s most challenging applications is a 420SS mold for the mammography market, which requires true optical quality finishes on very large, contoured surfaces. In order to maintain the accuracy of the surface, molds must be machined accurately to a very fine finish, with limited polishing required in post machining. This, as well as the molds for the optometry field – where ultra-precise dimensional control is required – could not occur without the precision that YASDA provides.


$300,000 in Savings Annually

With the YASDA YBM 640V3, there is less benching, polishing, fitting, and finishing required when building molds with complex contoured parting lines. Extreme estimates $300,000 in annual savings via productivity gains, increased accuracy, reduced or eliminated operations, and extended spindle and cutter life. Extreme was able to surpass their on-time delivery rating KPI of 95%, reaching 100% in 2014. “YASDA played a crucial role in our transition from a traditional ‘mold-maker’ to the precision ‘mold manufacturer’ that we are today,” summed Zacharias.


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