PS-Moldmaker software from Delcam International Inc., Windsor, Ont., Canada (www.delcam.ca), speeds mold design and adds flexibility to manage design changes. The software lets designers of injection-molding tools move from 2D-based processes to 3D-based methods. Realistic representations of the individual components and computer simulations of the mold's operation help ensure that it works as expected. Automating routine and repetitive operations minimize calculation errors, while 3D computer models are much less prone to errors in dimensions and positions than drawings.

Drawings of the general assembly of the mold and the individual components are generated as the design progresses, including a complete, associative set of fully ballooned drawings for all the plates, together with the related hole schedules for drilling cycles. A BOM for several suppliers is generated and updated as the design develops. The software includes several wizards such as the Die Wizard for creating die blocks, Slide Wizard for slide designs, and Cooling Wizard for placing cooling channels.

The software recommends the nearest standard size that can accommodate a change. While this can take longer and require more operator input than a parametric approach to design changes, it ensures that standard components are used as far as possible and so reduces the overall cost and time to produce the tool. It also maintains the user's control over the design. Combining PowerShape with PS-Moldmaker also lets users produce nonstandard components or mechanisms that may be needed for larger or more complex molds.