Tooling / Molds

Tooling Audits & Evaluations: How Molders Help OEMs Gauge Health of Assets


When an OEM pursues an injection molding program, tooling is among the most highly considered — and expensive — parts of the budget. Depending on complexity and other variables, it’s not uncommon for injection molding tooling to cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Understandably, manufacturers want and need to protect their investment. Tooling audits and tooling evaluations are invaluable for understanding asset health and its impact on production and operations. Applying the insights is imperative, but not always easy. Partnering with a custom injection molder that provides hands-on, in-house tool build guidance connects data, knowledge, and action.

Tooling health assessment methods

When injection molding tooling has been faithfully performing as designed, it tends to get less attention from OEMs. Adding to this is the fact that the tooling is off-premise so there’s an element of out-of-sight-out-of-mind — until something goes wrong.

That’s not to say that OEMs abandon tooling management. There may be a routine maintenance program in place and even a plan for quickly addressing unanticipated breakdowns. Both are beneficial best practices, but are they enough to overcome the potential risk posed when cycle numbers climb on older tooling, transfers occur, or replacement purchase decisions are delayed?

The tooling audit: status and next steps for entire tooling inventory

Operationally, tooling decisions affect several departments — planning, purchasing, finance, engineering, quality assurance, etc. — albeit for different reasons. Regardless, an OEM must be strategic in making sure each department’s needs are acknowledged and met.

A tooling audit is the answer because it doesn’t focus solely on asset value and depreciation. The process gathers data about the tooling itself (age, cavitation, cycles, classification) as well as that for the press (size and type), materials, peripherals and spares, and inspections and performance.

The robust information enables better visibility into what’s happening throughout the entire tooling inventory. In turn, data-driven decisions can be made interdepartmentally to arrive at the most feasible solution — often in less time and with greater confidence.

The tooling evaluation: determining the condition and risk of specific tooling

Perhaps increased downtime, higher scrap rates, or other issues are signaling performance concerns in older tooling that need to be addressed. Or, an OEM may want to head off problems as the tooling ages.

Unlike a tooling audit, a tooling evaluation drills down into the condition of older tooling to answer three overriding questions: How long will it last under current production demands? What risks are associated with continuing to use the tooling? Is regular maintenance a near-term fix or a sustainable solution?

Tooling evaluations gather critical data such as status of fatigue and wear, damage, blocked cavitation, and other performance detriments. This information forms the basis for repair-or-replace discussions, and better overall management of machinery, materials, and resources.

On-site capabilities keep tooling on-track

From broad to granular, tooling data metrics are instrumental for OEMs to run efficient operations and injection molding programs. However, information is only part of the solution. A custom injection molder with proven on-site tooling capabilities is the ideal choice for applying the data in ways that influence results.

Kaysun’s in-house tooling capabilities allow our specialized engineers to connect the technical aspects of tooling with the sophistication of the part being produced. Design for Manufacturability (DfM) and scientific molding methodologies, materials expertise, and prototyping guide tool design and qualification, which gives outside tool builders a clear path to creating tooling that delivers consistent, repeatable production of the highest quality.

However, when outside tool builds arrive at Kaysun (or any injection molder), the custom builds are rarely perfect. Dimensions typically need to be adjusted to design specs — a job most molders need to send out for completion, which could add as much as a month to completion timelines.

On the other hand, Kaysun can “fine tune” most tooling after initial sampling to achieve desired dimensions in our facility without guesswork or delays.

Real-life perspective: One OEM’s story

In fact, a global leader in fluid system products and assemblies for the oil/gas/chemical and transportation industries recently took notice of the benefits of centralizing tooling with Kaysun

Instead of leaving themselves vulnerable to the inconsistent practices of multiple injection molding providers within their supply chain, the OEM sought out guidance on tooling audits and independent insights into the overall health of their tooling assets. Kaysun’s injection molding and tooling expertise combined with the OEM’s proactive approach to tooling management is central to the solution that best aligns with need.

Successful complex injection molding is highly dependent on tooling and the expert molders OEMs entrust with every aspect of their program. Maximize performance and ROI with the tips and key considerations you’ll find in our white paper, Tooling Design for Custom Injection Molding. Click below to download your copy now.

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