The project was concerned with plastic moulding SMEs, i.e. mould-makers and moulders in Europe, and deals with the diffusion of tools aimed at the simulation of moulding material flow. It was implemented by a partnership composed of a leader partner (ASTER - I), three intermediary organisations (ASTER - I, Pole Europeen de Plasturgie - F, ALMI Foretagspartner - SE) and 8 pilot companies (three Italian, three Swedish and two French companies). In addition to the pilot companies, other SMEs also became involved and benefitted from the experience gained through project participation.
SMEs in this sector are, in general, experienced in the use of computer systems, mainly oriented to Drafting and Manufacturing. Tools for the computer aided engineering of moulds, able to support the operators in mould design, are available on the market but are not commonly used by SMEs because of cost and application difficulties.
By improving the diffusion of such products in SMEs, two important results will be obtained. Firstly, the costs of the software will decrease, and, secondly, the applicability of the software to SMEs will itself be improved, thanks to the broader field experience.
The project consisted of the definition of a methodology able to support SMEs from the relevant sectors in their approach to usage of computer aided engineering. The methodology allowed the pilot companies to select the best off-the-shelf mould flow software (this selection was based on the analysis and assessment of the real needs of each company); apply the software and train the employees; test the performances of the selected software integrated with their existing CAD system and in the actual industrial context; compare the obtained results with colleagues in Europe; and customise the software (if applicable).
Results concerning the positive and negative aspects of the application of the relevant technology, needs of end-users, required customisation, are available for other small and medium size companies. In this way SMEs may improve their competitiveness and their knowledge of the performance offered by software for Computer Aided Engineering. Moreover, a new market might emerge from the project, namely the market of simulation software tools addressed specifically to small mould maker and moulding companies.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
40068 San Lazzaro Di Savena Bologna