Advanced Engineering Centre
Precision moulds are accurately machined equipment used for mass production of plastic products, including: bottled water, shoe soles, hangers, plates, gallons, etc. Moulds are used to form plastic shapes, profiles and products. Moulds fabrication require a high level of engineering expertise and skills which is very scarce in Nigeria and Africa. Modern mould fabrication requires Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) both of which are digital technologies. CAD is the use of computer software to design physical products while CAM is the use of computer software to control and automate manufacturing processes and machines. Mould production has four major phases which are: Design, Prototyping, Programming and Machining, which are described below. Phase 1: Design In the Design phase, a 3-dimensional (3D) model of the mould is created in the computer using engineering design software. Phase 2: Prototyping After the design is completed, the 3D model of the mould is sent to the 3D printer which produces a physical prototype of the mould for testing and corrections. Phase 3: Programming After final corrections, the 3D model is sent to a computer programming software where the detailed process for the fabrication or machining is defined and programmed. This produces a computer program containing machining instructions for the next phase. Phase 4: Machining In the machining phase, the computer program is sent to a Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machine which interprets and executes the instructions contained in the computer program. The CNC machine then mills and shapes metal blocks into moulds for plastic production. Over 95% of the mould used by plastic and shoe manufacturers in Nigeria are imported. This contributes to high production cost, loss of forex and consequent devaluation of the Naira. Long shipping time and high clearance cost results to serious losses for Nigerian manufacturers. In addition, there is no local customer support for repair and maintenance of these imported moulds. So when such imported moulds develop faults it is very difficult to repair or service them. Hence most manufacturers have to discard the moulds at an enormous loss. To help protect the environment, our raw materials are recycled from waste or scrap metals in our own metal casting foundry. In addition, we offer our customers 30% discount if they bring their old moulds to us for recycling.