Sweet solution

04 July 2014

Chocolate mould manufacturer DPS Designs reduces cycle times and increases quality following the introduction of 3D scanning technology from Steinbichler

DPS Designs, a Gloucestershire-based supplier of moulds for the chocolate industry, had been reviewing its processes and looking towards moving to ‘digital engineering’ of its designs and the inspection of mould tools.

The foam model is 3D scanned using the Steinbichler L3D system

At the time, a foam model would be manufactured from sketches and once approved by the customer, it would be drawn in 3D CAD to replicate the foam model.

It was time consuming and difficult to make the CAD model exactly represent the foam model.

The resulting STL file is sent electronically to the client for review

Realising the benefits that 3D scanning could bring to this process, Leigh Down, DPS Design’s managing director, contacted Steinbichler UK, a supplier of optical measuring and testing technology.

Following a demo together with testing and benchmarking, Down placed an order for a Steinbichler L3D system.

Improved process

The 3D Scanning is used alongside Delcam’s Artcam software. The foam model is hand sculpted based on the customer sketches, photographs and technical requirements.

Upon approval, the STL file is imported into Delcam Artcam where the final details are sculpted

Once the foam model is deemed to be as per ‘customer requirements’, the foam is 3D Scanned using the Steinbichler L3D system and the STL file sent electronically to the client for review.

This process can be used as many times as required until the client approves the overall shape, proportions and posture of the model.

Upon customer approval, the STL file output from the L3D Scanner is imported into Artcam where the fine details are sculpted electronically with any draft angles for manufacture etc. added on in readiness for manufacture.

The tooling is created using Delcam Powermill

Delcam PowerMill is then used to design the final tooling for manufacture.

“The acquisition of the Steinbichler L3D system has enabled us to speed up the development process significantly,” says Down.

“We are also using the scanning to be able to provide 3D STL files to customers enabling them to review models electronically and efficiently. The L3D system is key to the company’s future growth plans.”

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