Moldmaker interaction reduces product development cycle

Recently, it has become clear to me just how critical moldmaker involvement is in the reduction of the product development cycle. An OEM came to RMS and required a speedy launch to meet their sales and marketing department’s release objectives. These objectives were necessary to capitalize on a cyclical market and this release date was subject to various agency approvals before it could become available to its sales force for distribution. The program required a high degree of commitment from the OEM’s engineering team and would require most of RMS’ capacity in design/engineering, purchasing, and manufacturing to meet the aggressive target dates. Through well orchestrated cooperation between the two teams’ engineering staffs, the program is well on its way to fruition and a successful debut in its target market. As the first few parts were released for tooling, it became apparent that there were part design issues; a result of the rapid deployment of the parts for tooling. There were part geometries that would create poor steel conditions in the tool, areas unable to be molded, non-drafted areas, and wall thickness issues that would create sinks on cosmetic areas of the parts. Fortunately, the engineering team at RMS was on the case and careful evaluation of each part alluded to relatively simple fixes to these problems that still assured proper form and function of the parts and the assembly as a whole. Additional radii maintained part strength in required areas in lieu of thicker wall sections, part surfaces were drafted to assure proper release from the tool, creative geometries were envisioned to maintain part function yet reduce poor steel conditions, and areas not able to be formed were corrected by careful evaluation and understanding created between both engineering teams and the final results obtained are a testament to the involvement of RMS’ in the product development cycle on this program. This reduction in the development cycle and resulting robust tooling produces quality, functional parts and also contributes other benefits not often considered at the onset of such an involved venture. These benefits are “invisible” costs savings, not recognized until the corporate bean counters dissect a program like this for profitability to prior, more typical launches. These benefits include, but aren’t limited to the costs and timing associated with engineering changes required to strengthen parts and insure proper interaction and function of part features, cycle time reduction, and the elimination of long term tool maintenance issues created by poorly developed part geometry. So, as you consider your next product launch, new product design or product innovation, please be sure to consider getting RMS involved at the onset. There are benefits to building a successful relationship with your tool builder and assuring the tool builder has an intimate understanding of the form and function of your product for future launches. A little more cost and timing up front can pay big dividends throughout the life cycle of that product iteration and the associated tooling required to manufacture its components.

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