Merlin-Alltec Mold Making Inc. of Paramount, Calif., has added to its advanced design software to help shorten delivery cycles.
``Through 1998, we accelerated deliveries from 16 weeks to eight to 10 weeks,'' said Ranjiv Goonetilleke, owner and president.
The firm hired a full-time mold designer and full-time mold-making programmer proficient in version 10 of Cimatron's computer-aided-design/manufacturing software. The software, which Merlin-Alltec bought in May, can perform mold splits along parting lines and program computer numerically controlled mills to machine complex curved surfaces.
The company employs 12 and has occupied 7,000 square feet since shortly after the mid-1997 merger of Goonetilleke's Merlin Molds of Downey, Calif., and Al Jaffe's Alltec Mold of Anaheim, Calif.
Merlin-Alltec can handle molds as large as 30 inches by 60 inches and weighing 5,000 pounds. The shop operates a 1997 Femco vertical machining center and three other CNC mills, two Agie CNC electric discharge machines and one Agie wire-cut CNC EDM.
``We offer our customers the option to have molds built in [South] Korea in a shop with which we have [had] a joint venture for 15 years,'' Goonetilleke said.
He estimates that molds made in South Korea and Taiwan cost 30 percent less than those made in the United States, and that ones made in China are 60 percent less.
``The only way U.S. mold making can compete with the Pacific Rim is to train our experienced mold makers to transition from conventional machining to CNC and CNC EDMs,'' Goonetilleke said.
Jaffe, 78, remains active in the business, providing guidance, training and sales assistance. He grew up in New York, worked as a toolmaker in a small shop and survived the sinking of a World War II troop ship in the Mediterranean during his U.S. Army service. Later, he was a toolroom foreman and, in 1970, started a mold-making shop.