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Making the Impossible Possible

By L. James Ashley

Bernard Mould, based in Ontario, serves a great many manufacturers in the greaterDetroit and Windsor, Ontario, regions. It not only competes against numerous small,medium, and large design manufacturing and mold shops, but Bernard Mould is alsoable to razzle-dazzle the likes of the big three automakers and other household-namemanufacturers.

How? Through the reliance on Kubotek’s (formerly CADKEY) KeyCreator softwarefor flexible geometry-based design and tooling. Many of Bernard Mould’s customerscome to the company with designs that look good, but are nearly impossible tomanufacture. Bernard is tasked with making the impossible possible. 

Designs That Can’t Be Made

Bernard designers work in both 2D and 3D, providing faster turnaround. “Our clientsoften come to us and ask us to finish their designs,” says Ed Bernard, presidentof Bernard Mould. “These designs were usually created in one of the major designsoftware packages, but are impossible to implement. We import the design intoKeyCreator, rework the surface points, and develop a toolpath to make the product.Even some of our largest customers, companies that work with hundreds of differentparts and dozens of suppliers, are often amazed at how quickly we can turn aroundjobs.”

“KeyCreator is one of those applications that designers love,” says Tim Atkins,engineering manager at Bernard Mould. “The design and molding process can be eitherfrustrating and constraining, or creative and freeing. Just as with any medium,a lot depends on the tool one is using. KeyCreator gives designers the freedomto be as creative as they desire, but also has the power and technology underpinningsto enable the manufacturing of those really creative designs.”

Outsourcing Compresses Time

While automakers and aftermarket suppliers may appear to have a large numberof resources at their disposal, in fact, the opposite is often true. These businesseshave less time to design, manufacture, and ship out parts for distribution duringtight production schedules. This is where KeyCreator helps Bernard to better serveits customers. KeyCreator is a simple solution to a simple problem—how to ensuredesigns are elegant, doable, and can be rapidly imported and put to use. BernardMould often receives customer designs that were created in other software packages.KeyCreator gives Bernard Mould the tools to edit the designs, regardless of theapplication used to create them.

Since KeyCreator is geometry-based, it offers designers an intuitive approachto drawing, modeling, and allows for the easy exchange of data between other CAD/CAMpackages. With KeyCreator, designers are able to blend solid, surface, and wireframemodeling techniques. This enables businesses like Bernard Mould to offer theirclients a wide range of design and manufacturing approaches—and use the ones thatbest meet the customers’ business goals.

The software also has built-in timesaving capabilities that allow Bernard Mouldto convert properly defined surface and wireframe models into solids as well asextract surface and wireframe models from solids. This flexibility opens up awide range of possibilities for Bernard Mould and its customers.

KeyCreator’s approach extends to entity management. The software gives BernardMould designers the ability to do sophisticated layering with sublevel capabilitiesto allow a simple, unstructured mode of building and modeling. The geometry-basedmethodology allows for sorting based on levels or attributes during the conceptualstage, and allows Bernard to define part relationships and file distribution strategiesat a later stage in the process.

Preemptive Mistake Avoidance

Vital to the success of a small business such as Bernard Mould, is the abilityto prevent mistakes before they happen. KeyCreator has native functionality thatcatches incorrect dimensions before they reach production drawings. This savesboth Bernard Mould and its customers potentially millions in lost revenue dueto flawed designs—a critical factor in staying competitive in both the tight U.S.market and with the growing manufacturing industry in China.

KeyCreator also allows users to quickly extract information from solids—suchas volume data, edge geometry, and hidden line orthogonal views and sections.This feature enables Bernard Mould to significantly speed up the process of creatinga detail or assembly drawing or creating machinery or tooling.

Bernard Mould’s designers have found that KeyCreator frees them to design inaccordance with their personal preferences—it does not impose rigidity into theprocess.

Reducing Machining through Strategic Design

With many customers in the automotive space, Bernard Mould is often asked towork on projects with tight timelines while improving the manufacturing process.One customer, a globally recognized, tier-one manufacturer that specializes inengine temperature control systems, a subsidiary of Tesma International (a worldwideengine, transmission and fuel systems company) had the opportunity to developnew hot water crossover valves for a Japanese OEM.

While Bernard Mould had worked with this customer on parts for two of the bigthree U.S. automakers previously, this was its first collaboration for an offshoreautomobile manufacturer. The existing part was sand-cast aluminum, which was manufacturing-intensive,and therefore, expensive to make.

The tier-one customer reverse-engineered the part and approached Bernard Mouldto design a manufacturing-friendly part. Using KeyCreator, Bernard Mould was ableto design the new hot water crossover valve in less than two weeks. This was aClass-A prototype with seven mechanisms, two of which were sequenced; for allintents and purposes, a production-quality part with a production-capable cycletime.

Within six and a half weeks, the customer was able to fly to Japan, with partin hand, to meet with the OEM.

Not only did KeyCreator enable rapid design and more efficient machining of thevalve, but it also had flawless translators—enabling Bernard’s customer to importthe design back into its CAD/CAM tools. Overall, with the help of KeyCreator,Bernard Mould was able to quickly turn around a vital project for one of its mostdemanding customers.

The different features of KeyCreator have led to successful client relationshipsand rapid product development for Bernard Mould and all of its clients. Over theyears, Bernard Mould has worked not only with the automakers and aftermarket partsmakers, but also with the producers of leading sports equipment, electronics andcommunications, collectible figures and scale models, lighting fixtures, and noveltyitems.

“Ultimately, this business is all about competition,” commented Bernard. “Notonly has KeyCreator enabled us to develop a reputation for innovative productsdeveloped rapidly, but it also has enabled our customers to more quickly respondto increasing competition.”

L. James Ashley has written about high technology since the Carter Presidency. Send your feedbackabout this article e-mail by clicking here. Please reference “Making the Impossible Possible” in your message.

Company and Product Information

Kubotek USA, Inc.
Marlborough, MA

Bernard Mould
Oldcastle, ONT 

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