It’s no small thing when a company decides it is time to move a plastic injection mold. Although it’s not uncommon, many companies are fearful of the tool relocation process. Some even opt to incur the much greater expense of building a new tool at the new facility. While concerns are not totally unfounded, with the correct process and safeguards in place a tool transfer is a perfectly viable option.
The “What” and “Why” of Tool Relocation
When a company designs a prototype, they find a tool builder to create a mold which can produce the product. That tool is actually owned by the company but is stored at the manufacturer’s facility. When an order of product is needed, the tool is ready to start producing. However, there sometimes arises occasions where the company wants to relocate their tool to another manufacturer. Companies will move tools due to many reasons. Commonly, they want a better quality of production, a more local facility, or are capitalizing on a better rate.
Why are Companies Afraid of Mold Transfers?
Companies often fear tool relocation. While tool relocation is a serious undertaking, it should be considered a viable and often necessary option. The tool itself isn’t really at risk as insurance will pay to replace it. However, the ensuing delay till production starts again can severely hurt a business. The decision must be made between the advantages of lower costs, better quality, and better location vs. the risk of lost income during the relocation process.
Our Tool Relocation Process
During a tool relocation, we will progress through the following steps:
- Contract: the contract must be agreed upon and signed. During this process, clear communication must be in place between the two companies.
- Assessment and Scheduling: an assessment should be done at the current location. Any eccentricities of the tool can be learned to make the relocation smoother. A schedule for the transfer can’t be made until this is done.
- Back Stock: a sufficient amount of parts must be produced to create a safety stocked to cover any lapse in production while the tool is being transported and validated for use at the new location.
- Validate: we must ensure the tool is producing to the specifications, as what it’s producing does not match the customers needs.
- Production: once it has been thoroughly validated, the tool is ready to start producing again!
At Midstate Mold & Engineering we perform a thorough validation process with each new tool to ensure it is protected. Everything is documented and thoroughly inspected. Of course, the process is not complete without comprehensive in-press testing. If minor adjustments or repairs are needed, our own in-house tool shop is available to restore full functionality.