So You Think You Know Your Molds?

Keeping molds production ready and reliable is much more dependent upon proactive maintenance measures than reactive habits.

Related Suppliers

A mold repair technician’s job has always been to make molds run—any how, any way … just make it run. Intangibles such as technique, methodology, maintenance efficiency, accountability and continuous improvement have never been much of a factor in assessing the performance of a custom repair facility or a proprietary mold repair shop or an individual’s skill level. Performance was based on missed production schedules … period. However, today any company seeking to sharpen its competitive edge realizes that keeping molds production ready and reliable is much more dependent upon proactive maintenance measures than reactive habits.

To implement an accurate, efficient repair and to optimize downtime hours, repair technicians must have access to data to quickly be familiarized with the mechanical and performance characteristics of every mold on which they work. Repair technicians should not be expected to pull from memory, data relating to specific issues of maintaining and troubleshooting a stable of expensive molds.

Repair technicians operate on and maintain the heart of a plastics manufacturing company. They see, feel and decipher every type of tooling fit, track marks, discoloration, wear and hob—looking for answers to immediate and future issues. To do the job effectively, they need to know not only about the smallest of details such as minuscule tolerances and stack dimensions, but also the predominant, long-term issues molds suffer as a result of design or build features that cause problems during mold operation or maintenance activities.

Whether or not a repair shop approaches mold maintenance in a proactive, systematic type environment versus a knee-jerk reactive culture is an extremely subjective question. I am often asked what I consider to be the most important areas of mold performance and maintenance criteria to be used by repair technicians, managers and supervisors.

 

Ten Questions to Determine Level of Data Utilization

Listed below are 10 questions that will demonstrate the current level of data utilization that exists in your company that is readily available for a repair technician, supervisor, manager or engineer to use on a daily basis.

Be aware that if it is necessary to dig through files of records to manually count occurrences and gather data, then the information in the system is not considered readily available. If you could categorize and measure all of the information buried deep in these filing cabinets of most maintenance shops or a repair technician’s head, you could get the necessary information that would point you in the direction you need to go to be a data-driven shop.

Performance and Maintenance Data (broken down by chosen timeframe)

1. What is your number one mold or part defect overall?
a. Total count and type of defect

b. Mold distribution of the defect (mold style, product or press related)
c. Cavity I.D. or mold position of the defect (position related?)
d. All related corrective actions and costs (tooling and labor) resolving the defect
2. What are your top 10 mold or part defects overall?
a. Type of defects and frequencies
b. Mold distribution of the defects (mold style, product or press related)
c. Cavity I.D. or mold position of defects (position related?)
d. All related corrective actions and costs (tooling and labor) resolving the defect
3. What are your top 10 molds with the highest overall defect count?
a. Type of defects and frequencies
b. Mold distribution of the defects (mold style, product or press related)
c. Cavity I.D. or mold position of defects (position related?)
d. All related corrective actions and costs (tooling and labor) resolving the defect
4. What is your number one unscheduled mold stop reason?
a. Total count and type of unscheduled mold stop reason
b. Mold distribution for the #1 unscheduled mold stop reason (mold style, product or press related?)
c. Time, personnel correlation with the unscheduled mold stop reason
d. All related corrective actions and costs (tooling and labor) resolving the unscheduled mold stop reason
5. What are your top 10 molds with the most unscheduled downtime events or mold stop reasons?
a. Type and frequencies of unscheduled mold stop reasons
b. Mold distribution for the unscheduled mold stop reasons (mold style, product or press related?)
c. Time, personnel correlation with the unscheduled mold stop reasons
d. All related corrective actions and costs (tooling and labor) resolving the unscheduled mold stop reasons
6. What is the #1 mold with the highest maintenance costs (per hour or cycles of run time)?
a. Mold description, style and product
b. Type of defects and frequencies
c. Type of tooling used by mold
d. Type of corrective actions required (cleaning, replacement, reworking, restacking, shimming, etc.)
e. All related corrective actions and costs (tooling and labor)
7. What are the top 10 molds with the highest maintenance costs (per hour or cycles of run time)?
a. Mold descriptions, styles and products
b. Type of defects and frequencies
c. Type of tooling used by molds
d. Type of corrective actions required (cleaning, replacement, reworking, restacking, shimming, etc.)
e. All related corrective actions and costs (tooling and labor)
8. What are the average repair hours for each mold during:
a. Wipe down level cleaning?
b. General level cleaning?
c. Major level cleaning?
9. Mold technician general data (timeframe):
a. Total count of molds repaired (mold style, product)
b. Type of molds repaired (mold style, product)
c. Average labor hours per repair (mold style, product)
10. Mold repair shop general data:
a. Total count of molds repaired (mold style, product)
b. Type of molds repaired (mold style, product)
c. Average labor hours per repair (mold style, product)

 

Data Utilization Success

Most shops, as a minimum, can quickly gather data concerning monies spent on tooling and labor. But this is only a very small part of the picture. If you want your molds to run reliably, producing the highest quality parts with the least amount of unscheduled downtime possible, then you must input typical data that most shops now collect, into a system that will present the information back to you in a format that will allow complete utilization of the data. It just does not make sense, nor is it cost effective to spend time collecting data that you cannot use at a moment’s notice, is vague or inaccurate. So if you have the time to collect data, why not use it?

Related Content

The Keys To Quick Changeover

Reducing changeover times will eliminate waste, moving a shop closer to becoming lean.