Spanish plastics manufacturer seeks to boost bottom line
Plastiken targets mold design as key to implementing a new product development initiative
Plastiken wanted to implement a leading-edge product development process, improve mold design and address its ISO 9000 certification.
Plastiken S.L. is one of Spain’s leading manufacturers of injected plastic household, garden and do-it-yourself items. Its product line includes a complete range of offerings adapted for practical, simple and functional uses, combining artistry with resistance to environmental damage (ultraviolet rays and ice), antistatic properties, resistance to impact and complete recyclability. The company is the number-one provider of plastic flowerpots in Spain, as well a leader in plastic products across Europe.
Starting with plastic bottles in 1977, the company quickly expanded to housewares and gardening products. However, as the new millennium approached, Plastiken’s management wanted to ensure ongoing growth and profitability by improving its design process, products and services. This included implementing a quality assurance system according to ISO 9000 standards. As part of that effort, management wanted to upgrade from 2D CAD to a 3D CAD/CAM system with industry-leading mold design capabilities.
Strategy for success
Plastiken implemented the NX™ design solution in 1997. The company found the migration to 3D remarkably smooth. Early in the year 2000, Plastiken identified NX as a core part of the company’s future strategy and success. Company management noted that the technology had taken a different turn compared to its competitors, no longer reflecting a traditional mechanical design automation (MDA) feature/function approach, but rather providing a comprehensive product suite focused on knowledge-driven applications (KDA).
By mid-year, Plastiken made the move to expand its NX design licenses. Management also decided to implement NX Mold Wizard technology, a knowledge-driven application that captures mold industry best practices and presents them in a step-by-step sequence. In addition to automating much of the mold design process, NX Mold Wizard maintains associativity between the part model and mold tooling, speeding the change process significantly.
Plastiken realized a number of important benefits from implementing NX for product design and especially NX Mold Wizard. Drawings and modifications are now accomplished with an ease not possible by means of other MDA offerings the company reviewed. Also calculating weights and centers of gravity is much faster compared to the prior process.
More specifically, by using NX Mold Wizard to automate much of the mold design process, complex mold design time is reduced by a full 20 percent. Furthermore, design errors have been slashed by 50 percent, which translates to significantly reduced mold production time. In addition, the company has been able to boost the productivity of its molds through improvements in the cooling system.
The move to NX also helped Plastiken achieve ISO 9000 certification, making it one of the first companies in its sector to do so. This assures the quality of its products from design and production to their subsequent sale, for the full satisfaction of its customers.