Coordinating an acceptable transfer, Part 2: The toolroom manager

October 30, 2009

In Part 1 of this series, a tooling engineer is notified that 30 molds are to be transferred out of his facility to another location. This is a longtime customer and it is hoped that other projects will continue, so a well-executed plan must be in place to ensure a successful transfer. After getting an initial plan started, it’s now going to the toolroom manager for the majority of the implementation steps. 

The toolroom manager knows transferring 30 molds is no small feat. He also knows he has to report back to others with the transfer plan and how it’s going to impact other customer jobs and the company at large, so quantifying time and costs involved with the help of the toolroom manager is critical.

Before starting any transfer process, the toolroom manager must address specific issues with regard to the tools being moved, including determining whether there are any molds still running. If not, then his team can more easily coordinate the transfer. However, chances are that at least some of the molds are running against a purchase order, and it will be important to find out when the orders will be complete, as this will help determine when the molds can be shut down to make the transfer deadline. Also, what are the shipping dates for the parts?

Mold weight, which can vary from unit inserts of a few hundred pounds to large molds that are thousands of pounds, is a big consideration, as it directly relates to total volume of molds being moved and how many shipments may be required.

Spare components typically are part of a proper tool transfer and will need to be located, cleaned, labeled, and packed for shipping. This is also true for any automation equipment, such as hot runner controls and cables, robots with end-of-arm tooling, sprue pickers, custom chutes, shields, and other part-containment items. They are considered to be auxiliary items to the mold and it should be verified that these are to be inventoried and packed.

How much information will be communicated back to the OEM? Ideally, documentation from the mold’s life will contains the following items:

• Spare component inventory
• Processing data sheets

• Injection mold/cavity layout sheets
• Water hookup diagrams

• QC reports

Article drawings, mold drawings, and last shots should also be provided so the receiving plant has everything it needs to enable a successful startup.

The molds themselves should be cleaned and protected against corrosion. PM documents should be updated as to any maintenance issues. If the molds are due for service, they should either be serviced, or it should be noted that service is due for the recipient of the tool. If service is up to date, then basic preparation and protection of the mold is sufficient.

“Here is where a proper maintenance and documentation system can pay great dividends to a molder,” says Steve Johnson, operations manager at ToolingDocs. “When established correctly, it will be possible for the recipient of the mold to make sense of what has been done and when, which reduces the ‘maintenance learning curve’ by thousands of dollars. Scribbling ‘fixed mold’ onto a work order only communicates a lack of organizational integrity.”

After the toolroom has completed its responsibilities, the tooling engineer will report back to the plant manager that everything is assembled, documented, properly packaged, and ready to ship. By providing this information, the plant manager has the records he needs should any issues arise at the receiving plant when the molds are sampled.

One will often be shocked to learn how many actual hours are spent in this entire process and how this disruption can impact a manufacturing operation that is working to be lean. In this example transfer, the total shop time required could amount to hundreds of hours for the 30 tools to be ready for shipment. But the dividends are realized at the receiving side, with tools that have less unknowns and are free from damage.

Coming next: The receiving team—getting organized and documenting items when the molds arrive.

Author Randy Winton ([email protected]) is global training manager at ToolingDocs.

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