Amertron Takes A Big Step Forward Towards Cost Effective Low Volume Over-Molding
Amertron releases a modular over-molding process that will meet the demands of the high mix low volume manufacturing market.
- Orlando, FL (1888PressRelease) January 30, 2011 - The cost of producing molds has made the use of over-molding impractical in low volume applications. When a $5000 mold is amortized over 10 cable assemblies it adds $500 to the cost of each cable assembly. The traditional approach to mold development yields a mold that is suited to only one combination of connector and cable diameter. The chances of utilizing the mold on a different assembly are slim so the cost of a traditional mold must be absorbed entirely by the build of the assembly it is designed for. Amertron and Cavist Corporation have collaborated in developing a modular over-molding system which utilizes greater mold reuse and reduces the cost of producing mold elements thereby reducing the per unit cost and lead time of over-molding short run cable assemblies.
The modular over-molding system utilizes a mold base in combination with two other inserted mold elements to form the complete mold for a particular connector and cable diameter. The body mold element is specific to a connector (or in the case of military circular connectors one of seven custom connector backshell diameters) and the cable gate element is specific to a particular cable diameter. With this approach it is possible to have a single base mold element, 7 body mold elements, and 30 cable gate elements that could be used with 210 backshell and cable diameter combinations. So instead of making 210 traditional molds at a cost of $1,050,000 the modular approach reduces the cost of the mold elements to under $50,000. This (30 cable diameters) is a conservative estimate of the number of possible cable diameters so the cost difference could be much greater.
Another savings achieved by the modular over-molding system approach is a reduction in lead time. Because the modular elements are simpler than a traditional mold they can be produced with a shorter lead time. Also once the reuse of mold elements begins the mold lead time will be eliminated because the required mold can be assembled from mold elements that are on hand.
One compromise must be accepted in order to utilize the modular over-molding system. The convoluted cable end of the mold, intended to reduce the sharp bend radius the cable is subjected to, cannot be implemented. Instead a simple cone shape must be utilized at the cable end of the mold. We don't see this as much of a trade off because in our opinion the convoluted mold section is not very effective at reducing the cable bend radius. Whatever un-measureable benefit the convoluted mold section achieves it appears to vanish when compared to the cost and lead time reductions achieved by utilizing the modular over-molding system.
Following the traditional approach of one mold per connector and cable diameter combination will keep over-molding of short run cable assemblies cost prohibitive. In contrast the enormous cost and lead time reductions achievable with the modular over-molding system makes it clearly a big step forward in making the over-molding of short run cable assemblies a viable option.