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July 18, 1999

4 Min Read
Outsourcing mold bases saves time, money

To make or to buy? That is the big question moldmakers must ask themselves when it comes to mold bases. Making their own mold bases used to be a source of pride for moldmakers, who sold to customers on the fact they were responsible for every phase of a moldbuild project. Now, with compressed lead times and competitive pricing, many can’t see the point in using a moldmaker’s skill and high-dollar machinery to hog out pockets in a mold base.

“It used to be that moldmakers would order a standard mold base,” says D-M-E Co.’s Scott Whisler. “Now they want standard plus other features. The trend is shifting toward mold base suppliers doing more than pockets, such as putting in water lines and guided ejection.”

Buying standard mold bases from suppliers helps save time and money in the mold build. And mold base companies are making it easier and more convenient to purchase semi-finished, custom mold bases. Still, Whisler says typically the decision to make or buy the mold base is driven by the internal work load of a shop.

“If a shop gets slow, they’ll pull in the mold base work,” says Whisler. “It keeps the spindles turning and the moldmakers busy.” On the other hand, when things get busy, the mold shop tends to offload the mold base build, saving machine time and man hours for the more detailed work on cores and cavities.

Demand is Increasing

What are suppliers of mold bases doing to make it easier for moldmakers to offload that work? Here are several examples: D-M-E offers its Quick Delivery System base, which comes with a laundry list of special features. And moldmakers can get it within nine days. “The goal is to keep adding to the list, incorporating other features, and still give a nine-day delivery,” says Whisler.

Precision Mold Base Corp. offers its TimeSaver mold bases in three standard sizes: 8 by 8, 12 by 12, and 14 by 16. They are offered in #2 steel and stainless. Robert Creber, sales manager for Precision’s Tempe, AZ office, says demand for the TimeSaver mold bases has picked up over the last two years.

“The big problem is getting designers to think of ordering the mold base early enough,” says Creber. “They don’t think about the mold base until it’s too late. More times than not I receive calls from designers saying ‘I forgot to order the mold base; what can you do for me?’” Usually, a standard mold base can be delivered in two days.

PCS Co. (Fraser, MI) added mold bases to its plate a year ago. “From a growth standpoint, this was a vital step for us to take,” says Gary Landless, national sales manager. Business has been good, largely due to increasingly tight lead times facing moldmakers. “When it comes to moldbuilding, everything gets moved around but the lead time,” he says. “We can help moldmakers greatly by giving them off-the-shelf mold bases finished to their specs.”

Mold bases from PCS include guided ejection, pry slots, and vented leader pins with the basic machining already done, saving time for moldmakers. PCS also offers its Express mold base with next day shipping.

A Shop Decision

Whether moldmakers choose to make or buy their mold bases varies from shop to shop. An employee at Midwest Die Corp., a 20-person shop in Baroda, MI, says the shop buys P-20 or 4140 blanks because of the custom nature of the molds it builds.

Chuck Sand of Mold-Tech Inc., a 23-person mold shop in Minneapolis, says he purchases all of his mold bases. “We can’t compete with the mold base companies for the size [bases] we purchase,” says Sand. The company builds small to midsized molds up to 2500 lb. “We don’t staff or tool up to do any mold base work, and the fairly short lead times the mold base manufacturers offer make it more efficient to buy mold bases,” says Sand. “We put our expertise where it’s best suited, and that’s building cores and cavities,” he adds.

Contact information
D-M-E Co.
Monterey Park, CA
Scott Whisler
Phone: (323) 263-9261 or
(800) 865-2615
Fax: (323) 263-9264
Web: www.dmeco.com

Precision Mold Base Corp.
Tempe, AZ
Robert Creber
Phone: (602) 431-8131 or
(800) 228-7622
Fax: (602) 431-8171
Web: www.pmbc.com

Fraser, MI
Gary Landless
Phone: (800) 521-0546
Fax: (810) 294-7799
Web: www.pcs-company.com

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