Speed and Flexibility Help Molder, Moldmaker Fill a Niche in Product Development
Quotes in hours, parts and molds in days—Xcentric Mold & Engineering brings prototype speed to production molding and moldmaking.
Brothers Brendan and Damon Weaver grew up in moldmaking, their father a tool builder himself. When they branched into injection molding 22 years ago, founding Xcentric Mold & Engineering in Clinton Township, Mich., they sought maximum efficiency in both areas, according to Xcentric’s current CEO, Michael Rynerson. They asked themselves, “How do we make a company function as well as possible and be as profitable as possible?”.
“A lot of it has come down to information management rather than actual making of the molds,” Rynerson says. “They were already very good at making molds, so it became, ‘How do I make this efficient?’”.
Today, Xcentric’s promise to customers, who range from designers and inventors to OEMs, is quotes in hours and molds and parts in days. Part runs can range from 25 to the thousands, with proprietary software and “tribal knowledge” to accelerate quoting, machining and molding. Rynerson says Xcentric’s appeal is the ability to bring speed and agility to various portions of the product-design cycle.
From ideation and virtual design; through virtual and physical prototyping; and finally into pre-production, production and validation, Xcentric shepherds products from concept to consumption with haste. “We have the luxury, if you will, of being effective in several of those areas from the time that part goes into physical prototyping all the way through production,” Rynerson says. “We understand that Xcentric serves a very important function in the complete product-development cycle for our clients.”
Rynerson came on board in November 2018 following investment in the company by private-equity firm Riverside Co. Since that time, Xcentric has shifted its strategy. “We’re transitioning into becoming active earlier and earlier in the product-development cycle of our clients,” Rynerson says, “understanding their needs for that specific product cycle and then performing a service as needed along the way.”
The company has two facilities, having opened a second operation in Shelby Township in 2016 that is 5000 ft2 larger than its original site in Clinton Township. Both offer high-speed CNC and EDM machining, additive manufacturing and injection molding, with 33 presses from 55 to 385 tons in an all-electric fleet comprised of JSW and Milacron-Fanuc Roboshot machines.
The machining department takes a CAD design, and through a series of macros and customizations to its CAM software, finalizes a tool design and milling path. All molds utilize standardized, proprietary base sizes, helping streamline fabrication; and all molds are cut from aluminum, further shortening build time. Production tools, new and existing, are prepped for molding by the assembly department, which passes a mold about to go into production to the “Process Lab.” There, four Roboshot machines sitting in front of the JSW production presses are used to dial in the tool and process before they’re released to the production floor. What happens next is “like a ballet,” according to Rynerson, as mold, material (dried in advance of a run) and machine come together for a part run.
“So it’s like a production line at a factory,” Rynerson says. “These 10 activities have to happen beforehand in order for me to take my step. They are all completed; they’re scheduled appropriately; so they line up consistently at that point. That’s the heart of what makes us so successful and able to scale with a high degree of complexity and variability in the process, literally day to day.”
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