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Digital Manufacturing: a new challenge for Whiteware

The aim: to develop over 100 new mould models a year

A key success was sealed by Whiteware just a few weeks ago when it sold the South African company Betta Sanitaryware mould number 3000! Now, even more ambitious objectives are in the pipeline, such as raising the number of new models developed to record levels – over 100 a year. Models suitable for new-concept high pressure casting machines – able to ensure brilliant production and economic performance – that will be fully developed at the Sacmi pilot plant.

This, then, is the short-term goal of the Whiteware modelling department. Ever since the early 90s Whiteware has been growing constantly, both quantitatively and qualitatively: yet it’s the last few years that have produced the decisive boost, paving the way for future growth. “In 2002”, explain the Division managers, “we developed some fifteen articles in our laboratories. In 2003 the figure more than doubled and then grew constantly up to 2006 when we touched the 70-article mark. Over the coming two years we expect output levels to keep on rising steeply”.

There has also been considerable development on the quality front: compared to the traditional mould development procedures (from model to case mould) – used by Sacmi up until 2002 – the Whiteware labs now use IT aided design. These systems, commonly known as CAD, are used in conjunction with Cam software, which can guide numerical control machines to achieve aided product construction.

Digitalisation of design using Cad and Cam is no small achievement: it has broken down the barriers between design and production and projected the Whiteware Division towards the potential of Digital Manufacturing, a concept that blends design, production and simulation on a single information-sharing platform. This explains why, as figures show, Whiteware technicians have succeeded in developing lots of new, higher-quality models over a relatively short time. The current challenge is to adapt output capacity to suit market needs even better and outclass the already-enviable achievement of having developed nearly 800 models from 1992 to the present day.


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