OAK CREEK, WIS. — Superior Die Set Corp. in Oak Creek has a new, automated method of flame cutting window pockets in steel plates as thick as 1 foot for injection mold bases.
Pockets typically are machined into mold bases after the bases have been finished.
``Mold base suppliers like ourselves put a lot of care into making the base correctly. Then the mold maker gets it, mills out half the material and causes internal stresses that result in warpage of the base,'' said Mark Ullstrup, Superior's customer service manager.
With flame cutting, the mold base arrives with rough cuts already made for the window pockets. The mold maker then has a minimal amount of material that has to be removed.
Ullstrup said flame cutting is economical compared with sawing or milling.
Scott Basilius, president of Basilius Tool Co. in Toledo, Ohio, has been buying mold bases from Superior for more than 10 years.
``There's really two advantages,'' he said. ``It's cheaper for them to flame-cut the pocket than for me to mill out the pocket, then the plate warps and the pin-to-bushing alignment is no longer accurate. They do all the [pocket] work after [the finishing], solving the instability problems.''
However, the larger benefit, Basilius said, ``is the quality we can maintain because we don't have the distortion problem.''
Jerry Calvacca, president of Die-Mold Ltd. in Chicago, said he realizes about a 50 percent cost savings, and about that much in time savings, by ordering Superior's bases with flame-cut pockets.
Superior claims that it can save customers $500 or more per base, compared with mold base providers who use more costly machining procedures.