The business we all know and love continues to become more challenging on a daily basis. Some things never change, and more often, become even more obvious: We need to build perfect tools, quality is a given; customers need them faster, even if the database isn’t really ready yet, and they need them at the lowest possible price. We made a business decision in 2005 that just delivering a mold was not enough, so now we are proceeding down a path of delivering ready-to-go molds and accept responsibility for Scientific Molding Process Development. We became one of a handful of shops in U.S. that are RJG-certified mold build and tryout shops, and we continue to be advocates of these tools.
Our goal in the ready-to-go mold process is to deliver a fully validated mold as well as a rigorous/robust process that can be readily transferred, repeated and monitored in our customer’s molding machine the day they receive the mold.
The ultimate goal is good parts the first time they put the mold into a machine in their facility. Often, the pipeline is filled with bridge production of product produced at our facility before tool transfer takes place—further alleviating the chaos traditionally experienced at tool transfer. Usually a complete first article, capability study, and other aspects of mold development are done here before the mold leaves.
We now install RJG cavity sensors in many of the tools we build and they serve two purposes when it comes to benefits and ROI: (1) Allow us to transfer the mold process developed here to our customers seamlessly, and reproduce quality product independent of molding machine or raw material viscosity variation and (2) Allow a means to monitor cavity pressure during the molding process, and allow our valued customers an additional line of defense and means to guarantee 100 percent molded product quality throughout the life of the mold.
Even though tool grooming, shrink rate prediction, mold process development and inspection have not typically been requested at a moldmaker level, we believe this is the wave of the future, and are doing what we need to in order to make sure we are 100 percent qualified and prepared to do as requested. I believe that finding your niche, and most importantly, how we can all best add services that make it easy to do business with us is something we all need to work on to survive and thrive.