15 September 2010

Extrusion Die Maker. Youngstown Tool & Die in Ohio is TopSolid's oldest US customer. Equipped with 5 TopSolid'Design and TopSolid'Cam licences the company has been using TopSolid since 2000. Founded in 1961 the company has manufactured extrusion dies and tooling for the aluminium extrusion industry since this time. Youngstown Tool & Die is, in fact, classed as one of the Top 5 extrusion die manufacturers in the USA shipping an average of 100 dies per week throughout the country.

The company's first 2D machining solution was GOelan (from Missler Software) acquired in 1984. In the late nineties Youngstown Tool & Die began to look for a 3D solution. The company looked at a total of 18 software solutions in the quest for its ideal 3D solution. TopSolid, not known on the US market at this time, was the software chosen by Youngstown Tool & Die.

TopSolid's first US customer

Being TopSolid's first US customer Missler Software met Eric Houck, the company's CAD/CAM specialist. According to Eric “choosing TopSolid back in 2000 may seem to some companies as being a little risky as it was completely new to the US CAD/CAM market. I would probably agree if I hadn't seen the software in action myself and understood Missler Software's solid presence in the CAD/CAM business in Europe for 15 years before arriving on the US market. We carried out extensive research and benchmarks in 1999 before choosing TopSolid. So maybe we did take a gamble on TopSolid: however, it was the only software capable of doing what we needed even though it wasn't known.”

Important time gains thanks to TopSolid

TopSolid was selected for the following main reasons:

  • No other software solution was able to manage the tapered cutters and 5 axis machining used by Youngstown Tool and Die.
  • Important time gains thanks to TopSolid – before its installation it took 8 hours to make 1-2 parts. Since TopSolid's installation 4-5 parts are made in the same time
  • Consistency – the software is consistent and such functions as the automatic update of parts is guaranteed.
  • Ease of use – after one month's training the company's 7 TopSolid operators were operational.

On an everyday basis Youngstown Tool & Die receives an Autocad file from its customers with the dimensions of the shape of the part. The company adjusts the file to take into account the shrinkage of the finished product. The die is then designed with TopSolid to extrude correctly within the given tolerance. The die is manufactured using TopSolid'Cam (the company's wire EDM machines are still run with GOelan licences) The integration between the TopSolid modules is a big advantage for Youngstown Tools. All parts designed using TopSolid'Design are directly machined with TopSolid'Cam – last minute modifications in the design are not a problem as the same software is used for the entire process. An additional software is not necessary to produce the finished product, TopSolid manages the entire design, manufacture and data management processes.

Youngstown Tool & Die continues to expand its operations. Investing in new machines and technology has always been part of the company's strategy. “We know that we need to keep up to date with the most recent machines and technology. This is what has enabled the company to be successful until now” 3 new machines are due before the end of 2006 and the company plans on increasing its TopSolid stations from 5 to 8 over the coming 9 months.

Regarding TopSolid's hotline and service Mr. Houck can only offer his praise “I have been working with ClearCut Solutions, the TopSolid master dealer in the USA , for 6 years now. The service we get is excellent; there is always an answer to every question. ClearCut has, in addition, put in place new monthly web casts for its customers. This is a great opportunity for our operators to gain knowledge on the software and to learn better and more efficient ways to work."

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