Viewer Software Makes Points Perfectly Clear

Dec. 9, 2004
A visualization program lets tool builders at OEM/Erie Inc, Erie, Pa., comment and question tool details directly on the digitized image.

Viewer software makes points perfectly clear

The auto component will be plastic injection molded. Actify's Spinfire program allows placing coordinates and dimensions on the image so personnel on the project can comment on manufacturing issues.

A visualization program lets tool builders at OEM/Erie Inc, Erie, Pa., ( comment and question tool details directly on the digitized image. The software also lets users there cross section parts and calculate volumes and areas with a single click.

The pictures — generated by Spinfire Professional software, from Actify Inc., San Francisco ( — are often from Moldflow, a plastic-flow analysis program. Commented images can be combined with a viewer and sent to other interested parties. The viewer lets them add their own comments and suggest how to solve molding problems. The feedback eventually comes back to OEM/Erie for use in tool modifications.

Before the viewing software became available, Michael McCullough, a processing engineer with the tool maker, did what he knows he should not have: "I measured and scaled from the drawings. It's a tedious and potentially errorprone process, but I needed the data." To complicate matters, the flow-analysis program produces output few programs other than Spinfire can read.

McCullough now exports results of a tool simulation to Spinfire. There he types in questions and comments, adds arrows and pointers, and sends the images to off-site designers for adjustment. "Its more efficient than faxing prints back and forth, or scribbling notes on a screen shot, and sending it off," he says.

The company also uses the viewing software to see if specific molds will fit on a press. Production personnel match an electronic mold drawing to electronic drawings of OEM/Erie's injection molding machines. "It's easy to line up dimensions and holes, and it works," McCullough adds.

Paul Dvorak

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