Brief Guide to Tooling Design and Maintenance
When you have a manufacturing project in front of you, there are a lot of costs and timelines to manage. How soon can you get production up and running? Also, at what cost? You need to find answers to these questions quickly for the project to proceed successfully.
As you may already be aware, it is the tooling that is going to be one of the most significant hurdles between you and going into production. Not only is it challenging to design a tool which is perfect for your needs, but it can also be a costly process. You don’t want to delay your project from the start by working with a company that handles your tool design and build inefficiently.
Let’s take a look at some of the key things to keep in mind concerning tooling maintenance and design.
Starting with Volume
One of the first things to take into consideration when trying to design a tool is to think about the expected life of the tool. Are you planning on a large production runs requiring over one million parts annually? Maybe something more modest, perhaps even less than 10,000? You might not know exactly how many parts you would like this tool to be able to produce but getting an estimate will create a reasonable starting point for the job.
Selecting the Right Material
The material that will be used to create the tool is another big piece of this puzzle. Often, tools made from aluminum will handle smaller production runs. This is a desirable choice because of its cost-effective nature, and because it can produce parts at a faster rate (thanks to speedier cooling). Unfortunately, aluminum doesn’t tend to hold up very well over time, so products with large production runs will typically want to look for something more durable.
That ‘something’ is steel. There are many varieties of steel, of course, so it will be important to consider the specifics of the job before settling on the right steel. A longer lifespan is one of the main benefits to be enjoyed through the use of steel, although there are plenty of others, as well. The beauty of working with a talented team such as the one here at New Berlin Plastics is that you’ll be able to access individuals with years of experience in this kind of work. With such an important project on the line, there is no room for guessing. Team up with someone who’s done this before and get it right the first time.
Getting Design Help
Continuing with the idea of working with an experienced team, it is a good idea to work with a company that can offer design assistance when developing a tool. Although you have a firm understanding of what your part needs to be in the end, you might not understand the path to reach that ultimate goal. That’s where the help of an expert can be extremely valuable. The tooling process is complex and designing a tool that produces the desired part – down the very smallest of details – is a big job.
The Maintenance Component
Once a tool is designed, built, and put into use, your attention will need to switch to the maintenance of that tool. After all, it is going to need to be adequately maintained if you are going to get the desired life and capabilty out of the mold. Even if you pick the perfect material and have a great tool designed, neglecting it along the way is sure to lead to negative outcomes.
So, what does maintenance look like on a tool? That depends entirely on the tool itself, and its unique features. Things like shape, material, features, and the anticipated lifespan of the tool are going to say a lot about what kinds of maintenance needs to be performed. It would be simpler if this were a one-size-fits-all situation, but that is just not the case. The tool will need to be cleaned periodically, it should be inspected at intervals to watch for degradation, and careful records should be kept so the health of the tool can be monitored. Proper preventative maintenance is a must!
When you’re ready to develop a tool and launch your next project, New Berlin Plastics is the perfect place to start. We have all of the experience you could want in a partner, and we are happy to help you bring your vision to life. Please contact us right away for more information on what we can offer your organization.
We look forward to working with you!