Vero helps 'smart' tooling production Vero helps 'smart' tooling production Vero helps 'smart' tooling production Vero helps 'smart' tooling production Vero helps 'smart' tooling production Vero helps 'smart' tooling production

PDFVero helps 'smart' tooling production

Based in Hertfordshire, BK Tooling is a thriving sub-contractor specialising in the design and production of mould tools and prototype/low volume plastic injection mouldings.

BK Tooling has developed a 'smart' production method that covers all aspects of tool design and manufacture, and is applied to every job regardless of complexity. Understanding that the fewer times a part is moved, the more accurately it can be made, BK Tooling have formulated a standardised approach to tool manufacture including the use of Renishaw OMP probes, System 3R Refix table and tooling plus a bespoke pallet system for electrodes and inserts.

"Vero’s industry knowledge translates into an excellent product with unrivalled customer support."

“The entire mould was designed, cut and built within 5 weeks.”

Bob Tunks, Owner

"Right first time, is a quote often given but rarely true" claims Bob Tunks, owner of BK Tooling. "However, our strike rate is above 99% and that's down to our production methods, quality levels and continual investment in the latest technology".

Having originally started with manual Bridgeports and XYZ Protrak hybrid mills, BK Tooling have installed a XYZ 1060 high speed machining centre to cope with increasing demands. The 1060 HS has a 1020mm (X) by 610mm (Y) by 620mm (Z) machining envelope and is equipped with a Siemens 840D ShopMill control that looks ahead to convert a multitude of straight lines into a smooth curve. "The machine is capable of running a 6mm cutter at 2,500 mm/min using a 0.1mm step over across parting faces and the two halves of a tool fit perfectly together. Much of the mould tool work involves the high-speed machining of complex 3D data and inaccuracies of just 20 microns would result in part flashing (plastic flowing into the wrong places) and ultimately part failure" explains Bob.

Importantly, investments made by BK Tooling are not only machinery but also include the latest CAD/CAM technology. BK are heavy users of CAD/CAM and have been using VISI products from Vero Software for over 10 years. However, it is the use of VISI Flow that has recently proved to be hugely beneficial during a project for the rear passenger arm rest for a prestige automotive supplier renowned for comfort and style. The part material was a polycarbonate (PC) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene polymer (ABS) blend which combines a unique set of performances commonly required for the automotive industry including easy flow, dimensional stability, low shrinkage and heat resistance.

The client CAD data was provided as a STEP file and imported directly into VISI Modelling as a single solid body. After the model had been translated from car position into line of draw, the split line and core and cavity surface sets were created using VISI Analysis.

"Before starting the tool design" explains Bob, "I decided to run a plastic filling simulation as the component has a thick and thin end so I was a little nervous about filling from one gate position. I was surprised to see how well it filled - in fact, much better than I expected. Most importantly however, the system highlighted areas where sink marks would occur due to internal voids. Historically, the predictive results from VISI Flow have accurately matched the actual moulding conditions so after further analysis, the tool design was modified to core out the problem areas."

The 3D tool design was fully complete within 2 weeks based around a Meusburger die set and standard component library. "The entire mould was designed, cut and built within 5 weeks" continues Bob. "Our 'smart' production method is about project simplicity and standardisation. The 1060 HS mill has a 24 tool carousel but our complete tooling library is only 100 cutters. The advantage is that we always know the neck length for each tool and we always have spares available. Mould machining is all about toolpath quality and not necessarily about removing a few seconds from the overall cycle time. As an example, the core plate alone contains over 25 hours of machining so it is imperative that we produce reliable toolpaths and VISI has never let us down."

Tool Modification
After the first batch of prototype components had been moulded a stability issue was detected during part testing. Under normal stress loading the part was flexing slightly so modifications were made to the model; extending the rib length to increase part rigidity. It was initially anticipated that the extra rib depth could simply be spark eroded into the original core block, but further VISI Flow tests on the model revision showed the presence of gas traps. "The depth of the ribs caused concerns about gas traps and potential ejection issues" explained Bob. "We opted for floating inserts that are fixed to the core plate using stripper bolts. This allows the inserts to move freely for approximately 2mm during the ejection process. The inserts will move away with the part and immediately break the contraction grip and reduce the possibility of surface deterioration through dragging up the wall. This is particularly important when using materials with fillers (glass filled) as they tend to have a reduced shrinkage value."

Concluding, Bob explains that BK Tooling has found its niche position as a supplier of prototype/low volume moulds before companies inevitably move to lower cost economies for higher volume mouldings. "We often deal with complex products and without the use of intelligent software, we could never guarantee project completion and the supply of batch mouldings within such short time scales. Vero are highly regarded in our organisation and have become an integral part of our operations. Their industry knowledge translates into an excellent product with unrivalled customer support."


About The Company:

Name: BK Tooling

Business: Mould Tool Sub Contractor



Benefits Achieved:

  • VISI Analysis used for split line and parting face creation
  • VISI’s analysis tools allow the component to be checked for mould feasibility
  • VISI Flow results accurately match the actual moulding conditions
  • Software simulation identified potential voids and gas traps

"Vero’s industry knowledge translates into an excellent product with unrivalled customer support."

“The entire mould was designed, cut and built within 5 weeks.”

Bob Tunks

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