Case Studies

Over the years we have provided mechanical and electronic engineering solutions to a UK-wide client base that spans a wide range of sectors. For a more detailed insight into how we have helped some of our clients achieve their design goals then please see one of our case studies from our project portfolio below.

'Reverse Engineered' Plastic Components - a Sanstec Design 'case study'.

The Challenge

Our client, a manufacturer of DIY products, based their extensive collection of injection moulding tools for their plastic components, with their previous supplier in China. For a number of reasons, production of the components had to be transferred to a different supplier/s and location/s.

With extensive previous knowledge working with various manufacturing companies of injection moulded components, the client spoke to us about the challenge they needed to overcome.

The Solution

We liaised directly with the engineering project manager, in charge of the transition of the tool transfer to the new supplier, to ensure that the current manufactured components exactly matched the most recently available Pro/Engineer/CREO CAD data, so that up to date and accurate CAD files could be provided to the new tooling manufacturer.

We accurately evaluated the plastic components against the Pro/Engineer/CREO CAD models, in what was essentially a reverse engineering exercise, to ascertain what and if, any changes needed to be made to the injection moulded component CAD models.

The Process

Checklist

We understood that there had previously been some technical issues with the data transfer process which had potentially led to some of the latest revisions of the CAD models reverting to older versions of the 3D files. Additionally that the most recent changes to the Pro/Engineer/CREO CAD data had possibly been lost. We were also aware that some physical changes had been made to the injection moulding tools and their subsequent plastic components, to facilitate timely and accurate manufacturing assembly of the products that they fitted to, without the corresponding changes being made to the Pro/Engineer/CREO CAD files.

The painstaking process of comparing the actual component with the corresponding Pro/Engineer/CREO CAD file was completed over a number of weeks. Attention to detail was crucial at this stage, especially when most of the Pro/Engineer/CREO CAD models consisted of between 700 and 1200 individual features on each part, and were relatively large in size.

In total we worked extensively on about 12 individual plastic components, in 'size sets'......typically being a left and a right hand case, half of the overall product assembly. As we were dealing with both the left and right hand halves of a ‘mating’ assembly, it was critical that we carefully checked that each feature correctly corresponded to the opposite part of the product. This meticulous checking ensured that during production, and post the injection moulding process, the two opposite parts would correctly fit together.

The Results

In the end, the considerable amount of detailed effort we went to whilst working with the customer meant that after the new tools had been completed, components were successfully moulded from the new tools during a phased re-introduction program.

Over this period, the customer was confidently able to ramp up production on the series of new tools and start the process of removing the old tools from production scheduling.

They were delighted with the results and recognised that the several months of the overall program required to update the CAD data from the existing components had been an excellent investment. Following the development of the new 'family' of products, the manufacturing process could now be appropriately supported into the future.

 

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