Injection Mold Making – Eight Phases of a Tool Transfer

Eight Phases of a Tool Transfer
Article From: MoldMaking Technology, Sherry L. Baranek , John Berg, Marketing Director from MGS Mfrg. Group 2

Posted on: 4/1/2011
tool transfer injection mold

Eight Phases of a Tool Transfer

It is big news when an OEM decides to move a substantial number of existing molds from one molding operation (either their own in-house/captive facility or an outsourced molder) to a selected custom molder.

Tool Transfer

Mold transfers—particularly large ones—require upfront planning, communications and investments that yield the goals and expectations of the project. A complete understanding of the OEM’s goals must be in place at the injection molding operation taking responsibility for the change in venue. The information and activities required leave no room for anything but complete cooperation and disclosure from both sides.

The eight phases of a transfer include:
1. Contractual agreement
2. Partnership
3. On-site assessment
4. Schedule
5. Safety stock
6. Equipment purchase/consigned equipment
7. Validation
8. Production molding

A contractual agreement should be established that provides legal commitment from both parties. The contents will protect the interest of all companies involved over the length of the agreement.

A dedicated and empowered team (see Transfer Program Management Team Sidebar, page xx) must be defined upfront based on the requirements of the project. Both companies must be willing to make whatever personnel arrangements are necessary to ensure success—forming a partnership with open lines of communication between the two management groups.

A detailed on-site assessment of the manufacturing operations at the current facility is required to develop a seamless transfer. During this time, the Project Management transfer team works with the current molding operation to thoroughly understand the production functions from order entry to shipment. This is an especially critical step. It is likely to be the only opportunity to capture the wealth of information that, in many cases, has not been properly documented. Molds that have run for years in the same press by the same operators are often taken for granted because they have run, seemingly successfully, for years.

The small shortcuts and down and dirty fix-ups are seldom noted and shared with management; instead, they become tribal knowledge. Only through observation and interrogation by appropriately experienced technicians (toolmakers and process engineers) are the actual production procedures understood and many hidden manufacturing sins revealed.

Based on what was learned from the on-site assessment, a transfer schedule will be developed. This again will be a joint effort as both parties must participate in its success. All parts, molds and associated production equipment will receive a scheduled date to transfer.

The originating production facility will be responsible to build safety stock per the production requirements of the transfer schedule. The amount of stock needed will be determined during the on-site assessment. The idea is to build enough safety stock that will allow for the tools and equipment to be transferred and validated at the destination facility. Typically, a six-week timeframe will work within the transfer schedule. It is likely that additional shifts and/or weekends will be needed to keep the safety stock build schedule on course.

The new molder may need to purchase any non-consigned equipment that may be critical to production of the transfer parts. Consignment equipment typically includes tooling and spares, fixtures, inspection gauges and all other product specific equipment. The new molder usually accepts standard maintenance responsibility on these items. Major tooling refurbishments will need to be quoted and submitted for approval.

The goal of validation is to gain customer approval on each part to be produced at the new molding facility. A process based on similarity to the existing manufacturing process and golden samples is typically initiated. Flexibility in this process must remain, as individual companies may require product specific production controls.

Upon validation approval, the new molder’s long-term production staff will manage and produce the products within the constraints of the contractual agreement per the projected volumes for each part in the transfer package.

Why You Should Outsource Your Injection Mold Project

Custom Injection Mold - Medical EquipmentThe investment to design, implement and maintain in-house injection molding projects can be complicated and costly. Resources needed to devote to this endeavor, such as equipment and personnel, are circumvented by outsourcing such projects to expert companies. Using an outsourced company with a history of experience, and the latest cutting-edge equipment, can easily outweigh the undertaking of in-house operations.

Injection Mold – Lower Costs Because No Capital Investment Needed

Injection molding projects come with requirements that include injection molding equipment, maintenance of that equipment, personnel to design projects, personnel to operate the equipment, and other production employees. Commercial space is necessary to house the equipment and personnel. The capital investment to cover these expenses can be costly. Outsourcing your injection molding projects can be the best solution to keep costs low and have one point-of-contact for all projects.

[Read more…]

Guidelines for Designing Plastic Injection Molded Components

Injection Molded Plastic componentPlastic injection molding offers many benefits.  In large runs, molding is much cheaper than machining the parts individually, and the manufacturing speed is much faster.  However, when designing a part that will be molded, there are some special considerations that need to be applied.

Because plastic molded parts are injected into mold cavities (voids) and over cores (standing steel), they require draft in order to release from the mold.  Draft is the amount of taper on the vertical walls of the plastic part.  Without draft, a part will either not eject from the mold, or sustain damage during ejection.  Typically, draft angles between 1° and 2° are required, but can vary depending on part restrictions and specifications.

[Read more…]

Objectives of IQ, OQ and PQ in Process Validation for Injection Molding

custom injection molding components<h2> Injection Molding Process</h2>

The process of injection molding must consistently create products that adhere to high quality standards. The performance of parts produced must meet customer specifications.

Only through diligently inspecting and validating every aspect of the injection molding process, as well as the final products, can such standards be ensured. To avoid mistakes, substandard products, and inconsistencies, process validation occurs before production gets underway. After a detailed and successful injection molding process is defined, which produces parts that consistently perform according to specific parameters, production can commence.

IQ, OQ and PQ play critical roles in the injection molding process validation procedure.

[Read more…]

Equipment and Technology to Manufacture Injection Molds

CNC MachiningInjection molding is an advanced manufacturing discipline requiring quality precision injection molds to produce quality precision injection molded components.  In the past, mold building utilized skill and trial error to manufacture new injection molds, today to achieve the ultimate success companies use technology, computerized equipment and skilled labor to manufacture new precision injection molds.

[Read more…]

Reasons Why Automation is Vital for Injection Molding Today

Automation in Injection MoldingAutomation in injection molding projects minimizes hands on involvement, resulting in improved consistency, repeatability, product quality and ultimately the best value for the customer.

Robotics can be used throughout the injection molding process during the insert molding or over molding process, helping to assist in secondary operations and quality inspections.  Using automation processes can eliminate waste, produce consistent quality components and at a faster cycle time.

[Read more…]

Terms Used in the Injection Molding and Mold Building Industry

Injection Mold & Plastic ComponentBelow is a list of frequently used terms in the injection molding and mold building industry to help when discussing your injection molding project.

EDM (Electrical Discharge Machining) which cuts metal from a work piece with a series of electrical sparks that precisely shapes the material into simple or complex geometrics. 

High Speed Machining is cutting metal by using recent speed technology that allows machining centers to do more work.

Swiss Screw Machining utilizes a lathe type metalworking machine using multiple spindles in the manufacturing of small precision parts; these are CNC controlled for one time setup with very minimal operator assistance.

Mold Simulation is the ability to simulate the mold fill process that accounts for multiple injection molding variables.  The data produced provides a basis for setting the actual process variables for use in the injection molding process.

[Read more…]

Sustainable Product Design: One Powerful Principle

A few months back, MIT Sloan, in collaboration with Boston
Consulting Group (BCG), recently published the verbosely titled Sustainability
& Innovation Global Executive Study and Research Project
. It’s a
well-researched study—which is to say that it’s a long read—and definitely
worth reading.

Ideation Throughout Medical Product Development

The concept of generating ideas within a group environment
is nothing new to product development. Alex Osborn popularized the process and
contributed a set of highly influential rules in 1953. Since then, a wide range
of techniques have been developed to help product development teams develop
novel ideas effectively and efficiently. Unfortunately, few design
professionals are aware of these methods, and even fewer understand the
elements of creativity to help make ideation sessions more productive.

Differentiating Between Validation Testing and Other Usability Testing

In March 2010, IEC 62366:2007, “Medical Devices–Application
of Usability Engineering to Medical Devices,” went into effect, and compliance
to this standard is now required by the European regulatory bodies. Compliance
to the standard’s predecessor, ANSI/AAMI HE74:2001, “Human Factors Design
Process for Medical Devices,” has been required by the FDA for more than ten
years. Both documents state that medical device manufacturers must demonstrate
that all potential use-related hazards in their devices have been identified,
tested, and mitigated.