Matrix is a company dedicated to the design and manufacture of injection moulds and precision dies. The company is known for using the most advanced technology in CAD/CAM/CAE. For the last year, Matrix has put its trust in a GLOBAL Performance 7.10.7 coordinate measuring machine (CMM) from Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence to ensure the quality of its workpieces. This CMM, characterised by its high level of accuracy and scanning speed, has sparked a radical change in the manufacturing processes at Matrix.
Matrix is a company with more than 40 years of experience, founded by Josep Palau and Eduard Soler from the Soler&Palau Group. It manufactures injection moulds and dies, with special emphasis on moulds for the plastics market. Josep Abril, head of operations at Matrix, comments “70% of our production is dedicated to injection moulds. It is safe to say that the main business of Matrix is the manufacture of injection moulds for the production of all kinds of tops for the packaging sector. The remaining 30% of production is dedicated to die matrices. Between 30% and 40% of our production is exported.”
At Matrix, the team searches for excellence, because they know that the pieces produced are fundamental to the success of the final product and to the success of their customers. As Abril explains, “Matrix manufactures injection moulds of 8/12/16/24/32/48/62/72/96 cavities, and the strict market requirements specify that each of the cavities is within a very small tolerance, to enable the correct product manufacturing process. Hence the importance of passing high-accuracy quality controls and guaranteeing that all the pieces are standardised, since this is the only way to ensure that all the pieces are the same, increasing productivity and reducing manufacturing times.” The philosophy at Matrix is based on offering customers integral solutions with automated processes, to optimise production systems and satisfy their needs. For this reason, there is an engineering department to liaise with customers when developing the moulds they manufacture. There is also a technical department that advises customers on the best technology to apply, the design of the piece and the most suitable injection machine to meet the customer's needs. In addition, Matrix works with the Centre Tecnològic Eduard Soler (CTES), developing R&D or IT projects.
One of Matrix's main objectives is to minimise cost and minimise possible risks. It is paramount for the company to consider every detail and ensure that everything complies with the demands established by the Matrix technical department. Abril explains, “Some customers bring their injection machines to our Ripoll plant so we can try the moulds and ensure 100% compliance with the machine that they are using. In this way, we can guarantee that the verification process is 100% reliable.”
Since 2015 Matrix has placed its trust in Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence for its measuring and control systems. Abril says, “We chose the GLOBAL Performance because it is a CMM that offers a high level of accuracy and performance, in a simple and effective way. We also value the PC-DMIS software because it is simple, intuitive and highly graphical.”
Matrix uses the GLOBAL Performance for the verification processes of the moulds and dies that they manufacture, and it allows them to validate pieces both separately and in sets. They also use it for the standardisation of the products manufactured by their customers. Abril explains, “The Hexagon three-dimensional CMM is used to standardise the tooling that we export around the world and also to measure them in detail. We make tooling with up to 96 cavities and, thanks to our GLOBAL Performance, we can ensure that the piece complies with all tolerances.”
Since purchasing the GLOBAL Performance, Matrix has increased its productivity. The head of operations at Matrix states “Since using the GLOBAL Performance, the assembly process and mould standardisation has been reduced by 40%; we have converted a slow process done by hand to a completely automated one performed with a CMM. We are extremely pleased with the acquisition.”
The Hexagon system allows Matrix to measure a wide variety of parts such as moulded steel sheets and die matrices, plastic pieces injected in the moulds produced, sheet metal parts made from the manufactured dies and general parts for various applications in the assembly of moulds and dies. The tolerances in the manufacturing process are micrometric but, depending on the piece to be verified, it may vary by 0.003 mm for steel adjustment pieces and 0.1 mm. for some plastic part measurements.
Abril comments, “At Matrix, we have two people trained in the use of the GLOBAL Performance and we use it every day; often, given the large number of pieces to check. Using the Hexagon measuring system has allowed us to increase productivity in the mould assembly process, reducing assembly times, settings and excessive standardisation tests.'
Jesús Ramos, director of quality, and his metrologist Oscar Pérez, are the GLOBAL Performance users and they note that, “During the months since we have had the machine, we have noted a considerable reduction in the tests that we have to carry out on the moulds in order to pass quality control inspections. Before, we would have to do three or four preliminary tests and this would involve three or four hours of work. The GLOBAL Performance has helped us to reduce production times and, consequently, we have increased production. The machine is very reliable, particularly regarding repetitive tasks. The measurements remain virtually constant, regardless of the number of repetitions.”
For the future, Matrix expects to rely on the continuing support of Hexagon. Abril says, “So far, our dealings with Hexagon have been very professional. We would like to continue working with Hexagon and we expect to acquire new software to simulate the assembly of the moulds with comparison to CAD, and we are looking into acquiring a new optical vision coordinate measuring machine.”
For any company, there is no better publicity than a satisfied customer and, in this case, thanks to the excellent experience Matrix has had with Hexagon, a supplier and customer of theirs in the pharmaceutical sector has acquired the same machine.