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For already 3 generations, the Denoo family in Zedelgem has been making moulds, which is the cheapest way of machining a metal sheet. More than 50 years after the start, drawing boards and manual milling machines have been replaced by CAD-CAM software and machines that mill five axes simultaneously.
Granddad Frans learned the trade at Superia and Savic and started in 1966 on his own account as a mould supplier for Clayson (now CNH). Frans' son Rik continued the business and 3 years ago granddaughter Ann-Sofie joined in. Today, Denoo produces moulds for suppliers who make small parts, from multinationals to one-man businesses in West and East Flanders and to some degree in the Netherlands.
"In 1985 we bought our first CNC milling machine," says Rik Denoo. "To mill 8 hours, I had to program 3 to 4 hours, all with triangular geometry. A year later we bought our first CAM package. It was a great help for calculating but it wasn't possible to draw with it." Over the past few decades, software has evolved greatly, but Denoo was still not satisfied. "When I started working here , I saw a demo of separate tracking mould software at a trade fair," continues Ann-Sofie Denoo. "I wondered if the software we were using could also design that. However, it seemed that the novelties weren't up to date yet and there was a lot of repetitive work to be done with our basic software to draw a mould. This made things boring, while the fun part of building moulds isn't the drawing but the designing."
"After we met ADOPT id PLM at a trade fair, we asked them and two others to each use their software to build a mould, and then change any detail on it," says Rik Denoo. "Only NX seemed extensive enough to take us a step forward. Several design agencies and Ann-Sofie's former design teacher whom we contacted have also proven to work with NX in the meantime."
"NX - with the Progressive Die Wizard (PDW ) - was created through the eyes of someone who makes moulds and who knows what we need," continues Ann-Sofie Denoo. "If we want to produce more moulds, the development time needs to be reduced. With NX, you can do four steps in one. It is more sophisticated and you have much more tools to work with."
"We are making moulds and we want the best tools that exist: the best milling machines, the best machines and the best software. As a software supplier, it isn't always easy to adapt the complexity of what we produce. Adopt id PLM, however, has organised the right training for our needs and we are very satisfied with the result," concludes Ann-Sofie Denoo.
In deze Campus aflevering keert alumna Ann-Sofie Denoo terug naar de UGent Campus Kortrijk waar zij een aantal jaren terug afstudeerde als industrieel ingenieur Industrieel ontwerpen.