Abstract: IST Project 1999-20645 (KBEMOULD)
is concerned with the validation of a knowledge based engineering
tool for the automatic and distributed design of plastic injection
moulds for the plastic and toy sector. The project has the general
objective of developing innovative capacities of SMEs of Plastic
Injection Moulds sector, specially of traditional sector such
as the toy sector and auxiliary industry by the detection of
technological and business needs and the implementation and validation
of technologies for the automation of the digital design of plastic
injection moulds, accessible in a distributed environment, based
on technologies used by other industrial sector (aerospace and
automotive industry) in different countries. The main objectives
of the project are:
- To reduce the Time to Market, specifically in mould design
and construction phase for the plastic injection mould sector
including toy sector.
- To adapt the selected technology for plastic injection moulds
and to reduce the cost of the design of the mould.
- To validate and demonstrate the Selected Technology in a distributed
working environment involving interaction between suppliers (mould-makers)
and customers (plastic transformation industries) to maximise
value and to facilitate the changes in the requirements definition
and development of the design.
IST Project IST-1999-20645
(KBEMOULD) deals with the validation of Technologies for the
automation of the digital design in a distributed working environment
for the design of plastic injection moulds in the injection plastic
sector including toy sector, based on a previous experience in
the aerospace industry. The project integrates different partners
with complementary capacities and intends to offer a solution
that can be used by plastic injection mould-makers and manufacturers
in all Europe. The consortium members are: three Catalyst from
Spain, France and Italy (AIJU, ISMO and UNIPG). Technological
Centres and University from plastic industry (including toy sector)
in order to perform the integration of different elements and
to assist pilot final users in the plastic / toy. Eight SME's
Pilot Users from the plastic and toy sector (mould-makers and
plastic converters industry). Technology Provider: to transfer
work procedures and technology at company level and to promote
its design technology in a wide sector as a plastic and toy sector.
The expected results of the
- To assimilate the procedures
used by other sectors for automatic digital design of moulds
in a distributed working environment. The quantification of this
objective will mean to speed up the design of moulds by 70% in
terms of time.
- To search and implement the best Technology for the automation
of plastic mould design in plastic industry including toy sector.
- To integrate IST/ Design Technologies / CAD-CAM solutions for
plastic component design and manufacturing.
- To design specific production methods for companies involved
in the implementation of the new procedure.
- To reduce the cost of the design of plastic injection moulds
by 60% in terms of time for plastic and toy sector.
- To compare methods of mould design in a distributed working
environment and to offer a good solution for plastic and toy
mould-makers and manufacturers in terms of costs and time to
2. Technology Definition
Phase one of the project addressed
technology definition. In this phase:
- Users' real needs have been
determined by fulfilling a complete questionnaire to the eight
SMEs involved in the Project and interviews and/or surveys to
51 enterprises from each country to detected needs. The real
needs detected by questionnaires, surveys and interviews will
be approved by all the Consortium members.
- An open search for practical
solutions has been made so as to define the existing technologies.
- A comparison of the different
solutions has been undertaken using a set of criteria pre-defined
in collaboration with the users and including technology and
business-related criteria. The consortium has decided the Technology
best suited to adapt. This technology was developed in other
European project which acronym is MOKA.
This is the only phase of the
KBEMOULD project completed at the time of writing.
3. Technology Adaptation
This second phase of the project
will be guided to the adaptation of Technology and preparation
for its implantation in the SMEs. This second phase will be developed
in two stages: The transfer of know-how and equipment to the
Technology Centres (AIJU,ISMO and UNIPG) from Technology supplier
and the technological adaptation to the specific problems of
the eight pilot SMEs.
This phase is based on successful
software (Knowledge Based Engineering Techniques in the design)
integrated in a distributed working environment with SMEs from
aerospace and automotive industries and the analysis of non technical
This phase can be divided into
two tasks, technical activities and non-technical activities:
Technical activities are:
- Acquisition of Technology
and know-how from Technology Provider in selected Technology
for the automation of design of moulds.
- Technological adaptation to the pilot SMEs.
The adaptation problems will
take into consideration different situation which can be found
in other SMEs:
- Different moulds types.
- Specific quality requirements (depending on the types of clients)
- Different production lay-out configurations.
The non-technical activities
are intended to provide information useful for the success of
the whole transfer and validation process and can be divided
in different subtasks:
- Development of technology
audits at eight mould-makers and plastic pilot SMEs in order
to gather data for the subsequent implementation phase, based
on common European methodologies, with special attention not
only to technological aspects (financial, organisational, etc..).
- Pre-evaluation of potential impact on employment at company
level and productivity, by means of normal parameters used by
the companies at internal level.
- Training needs analysis, by interviews to key employees and
with special attention to computer use knowledge, 3D design and
- Evaluation and harmonisation of work procedures for "share
knowledge in plastic injection moulds design" among the
plastic processing sectors including toy sector.
4. Technology Implementation
Once the Technology is adapted
to the pilot cases to the injection moulds design cases, this
phase is intended to demonstrate the advantages of the proposed
technology and generate confidence in other companies towards
the new procedure. All plastic industry from the participating
regions will be informed and will have the opportunity to attend
the pilot demonstrations.
The pilot demonstrations will
- A number of pilot test of
the selected technology showing the advantages of the system
with different types of moulds, commercial requirements, production
technologies and training needs.
- Moulds design trials: about eight different kinds of plastic
- A demonstration of the advantages of the dynamic supplier-client
communication mechanism for electronic design exchange (remote
access Intranet - Internet)
- Teleworking will be simulated with Internet exchange of 3D
models between different countries.
Finally, the pilot actions
will be analysed in terms of impact on the organisation, human
resources, production, productivity and quality through the development
of specific activities.
The human element can be one
of the most critical factors for success of this Best Practice
action. Its economical acceptance in companies is strongly linked
to workforce participation in terms of adaptation and acceptance
of the new situation.
This project envisages the
adaptation of the technology and the training of the personnel
according to the needs of the pilot SMEs. This training will
be provided by the Technology Supplier and Technology Centres
in the framework of the project. Nevertheless, training and expert
advice of additional companies interested in the Knowledge technology
is also envisaged. Three level of human intervention will be
- Knowledge Updating and Automatic
Plastic Injection Mould application Training: Important human
intervention exists during the process of mould design. All this
human knowledge should be taken into account for the adaptation
and implementation of the selected technology, and an integrated
training approach by the technology centres or by an expert consultant
can be very useful. Short technical and organisational training
has been foreseen in the demonstration at the pilot SMEs.
- Management and organizational
training and support: Organisational solutions are usually more
difficult to implement than technologies. Expert consultants
in the management of human resources will guide the active participation
of the personnel in the process of change. As for the selected
application training, also short management and organizational
training is expected during the demonstrations.
- In those case where the training
of internal personnel does not allow to reach the desired level
of qualification, only recruitment of external personnel will
allow to bridge the gap.
- Establishment of control groups
for assessment of: productivity, impact on employment, impact
on business (cost-benefit analysis), impact on the organisation
and management of the company.
- Validation of the work procedures
based on previous technology audits developed at Phase 1.
- Identification of other potential
users by means of demonstrations at pilots and personal contact.
5. Dissemination Activities
The main objectives of the
diffusion activities are:
1. Let the manufacturers of
the countries involved know the validated technology, as well
as the application results of the pilot experiences carried out
in the eight SMEs, with special emphasis in its advantages against
the actual situation.
2. Create a communication mechanism between companies and technology
centres in order to maintain them permanently informed about
the plastic injection moulds manufacturing technological situation.
3. Ensure technological and practice exchanges that enable future
technology transfer agreements.
4. Allow other organizations not directly participating in the
project the objectives, evolution and conclusions of the project.
With this aim, two basic communication
types will be promoted:
- Direct communication actions,
by means of direct contact with potential technology end-users
and TT organisations:
- Demonstrations in the pilot plants
- Participation in seminars and international toy and plastic
- Workshops organized by the corresponding Technology Centres.
- Indirect communication actions,
by means of indirect contact with potential technology end-users:
- Mas-media publicity (press, television,...) & Mailings
- Internet information and demonstration system through Internet.
- Edition and diffusion of multimedia material (CD-ROM)
- Edition and diffusion of video material
The project has not yet reached
completion and therefore conclusions about the success of the
project cannot at this stage be made. Technology adaptation and
implementation and pilot testing still need to be undertaken.
The consortium expects that the technology will have potential
application in a number of sectors where injection moulds are
used. These include Toys; Household furniture and wares; Furniture;
Electronic & Electricity; Domestic Appliances; Packing; Footwear;
Gardening; Sanitary; Any activity where plastic injection components