Storing tooling information just got easier—and more efficient
Published: February 4th, 2013
Where is your mold information when you need it? Instead of sifting through files for data such as bill of materials and design information, Tool Stats offers mold makers, molders, OEM's and anyone working with tooling a way to store and retrieve information on a moment's notice from anywhere, any time and by any means including PC or smartphone devices.
Tool Stats, which went live last year, offers a new technology applied to an industry that often stores their tooling information using ways that are outdated and not efficient. According to Sean Brolley, business development manager for Tool Stats (www.toolstats.com), the idea for the company came about two years ago when he was working with a large mold manufacturing company. Brolley kept hearing complaints that customers were constantly calling the moldmaker for additional information, trying to find lost design files, diagrams, processing sheets and bill of material, and asking for the same information over and over.
Tool Stats offers a central storage location for a variety of information such as designs, processing parameters, component schematics, maintenance logs, 3D tool design files, manufacturing history, updates and much more. "It's a web-based application that gives moldmakers and molders the ability to manage all of their vital tooling information with ease," says Brolley.
While most moldmakers have jobs stored by a specific job number, there is no standard way to communicate. Even internally, it's tough to access information easily and quickly. "With Tool Stats everyone knows where the information is posted and how to get it," he explains. "The information can be stored in Tool Stats on a per-project/mold basis, and instead of having to download software into your internal systems all you have to do is visit toolstatsinfo.com and upload your tooling data to the website."
Brolley assures customers that the information is stored in a secure location and can be password protected. "It's similar to online banking in that it's secure to the point that you can have access to all the information on a particular mold or only certain information, depending on who needs what information," he says. "There's a couple of different ways to put locks on it. It just depends on how the company wants to manage the data stored. Some just want to store design details, some just want to store process parameters, and some want to store all the tooling data including the history of the mold. The important thing is that the information is always in the same location and accessible, not lost down the road."
Tool Stats is also valuable to suppliers and OEMs who are dealing with 20-30 tool makers at a time and all using different ways to communicate. "If a supplier were able to require moldmakers to use the same format (Tool Stats), imagine how much more efficient that would be" Brolley says. "With Tool Stats, they have immediate information from all their moldmaking customers, all of the data are stored in a central location, and can be accessed at any time."
Customers of Tool Stats purchase their projects on a per-tool basis. They then get a plaque with a barcode which is fastened to the mold base. When anyone needs information about the mold, they scan the barcode using their Tool Stats app or by inputting their project number into their PC and then all the data on that tool is displayed. "For mold repairs or maintenance, the molder or maintenance person just scans the bar code with their smart phone, logs the issue, takes a picture and forwards it to the toolmaker and he can respond instantly," Brolley says. "It gives you the ability to reference data right on the shop floor without being at a computer."
Another way is to log onto the toolstatsinfo web site, enter in a project number and access the information needed. "It's all done via the internet and all you need is your project number or barcode on the mold," says Brolley. "It's easy to use, easy to add and update information and eliminate bottlenecks. OEMs, suppliers and toolmakers can all be on the same page and it's very inexpensive to use. For fewer than five hundred dollars a customer can keep their information stored on the site for up to 10 years, and they're not using their internal storage capacity to store large amounts of data."
A key feature of Tool Stats is the preventative maintenance capabilities. The user has the ability to store maintenance guidelines on the site then create alerts to be sent to different customers when maintenance needs to be performed on certain tools. Accordingly it allows the ability to keep a running history of the maintenance issues for a particular tool. The user can post issues instantly on the site and keep a running log of what the problem was, who reported it, and what resolution was determined," Brolley explained. "The ability to reference this information 10 years down the road is a huge asset to have for that tool."
Brolley notes that with new technology it's all about quicker, more accurate data and eliminating the bottlenecks in the process that lost or misplaced information can create. "A lot of companies that utilize tooling are stuck in their ways of doing business, but the key to growing the company is taking on these new technologies that offer benefits," he adds. "Companies are taking a deeper dive into their processes and cutting down on wasted time during production. Time can be saved just by having data at your fingertips when you need it."