Examining the mold development process itself is equally important for determining how specific tools and development platforms can benefit a moldmaking operation.

Such an assessment will reveal a fact that most moldmakers already know: the single aspect of the mold development process with the most potential for time- and money-saving productivity gains is the interplay between moldmakers and part designers. It’s this back-and-forth interaction between the customer who designs the part and the moldmaker who has to create the mold to produce it that holds the greatest opportunity for realizing the improved efficiencies moldmakers need to save time, reduce costs and maximize profits.

Although some manufacturers follow a concurrent strategy that encourages part design with an eye toward mold development, part design and mold development are typically separate, sequential processes for the vast majority of products. From the initial handoff of the part design to the moldmaker through evaluation of moldability, changes related to production issues, estimating, quoting and incorporation of in-process design changes from the customer,

the interaction between part designers and moldmakers is a highly iterative process that is fraught with opportunities for delay and unanticipated cost. An easy-to-use, flexible 3-D CAD system that includes design automation/communication, parametric modeling and surfacing/geometry manipulation tools can bridge this gap—providing maximum benefits to moldmaking operations.