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Complex Tooling and Molded Parts in 45 Hours

March 28, 2004

Filed under: machining,manufacturing — Terry Wohlers @ 10:18

INCS Inc. of Tokyo, Japan is a fascinating company in the product development and manufacturing business. It can produce precision tooling with multiple side actions, as well as molded parts the size of a mobile phone, in an unbelievable 45 hours. That’s right: less than two days. Sound impossible? The company has developed special tool design software, CNC machining software, and CNC machining centers to help streamline the process. These tools contribute to the unprecedented speeds, but it’s the company’s proprietary set of processes that makes it so highly efficient.

Shinjiro Yamada, the brains behind the operation, is the CEO of INCS. He is a highly respected individual and has a reputation for pioneering impressive new methods of product design and manufacturing. I’ve had the privilege of knowing Mr. Yamada for more than a decade and have watched him build INCS from a small startup to a corporation that now employs hundreds of talented individuals. The average age of an INCS employee is 27.

The injection molds are made of tool steel or aluminum, depending upon the required part quantity. Maximum part size is 300 x 300 x 100 mm (12 x 12 x 4 inches). The company’s 50 custom-built CNC machines are capable of milling slots as thin as 0.5 mm (0.020 inch) for ribs and other features, so no electrical discharge machining (EDM) is required for most jobs. 

It is important to note that the company requires more than two days if it is producing multiple molds as part of a single job and shipping the molded parts to customers in the U.S. or Europe. Within two weeks (from CAD data to delivery), INCS can deliver the first parts, including up to 20 different types of components at the same time. That means receiving CAD data for 20 different parts, producing molds, and delivering the parts—all within a two-week time-frame. If you know of a company that can do it faster, let me know.