Mold maintenance and repair is a team effort. It involves communication and collaboration among suppliers, mold manufacturers and customers worldwide to ensure that the appropriate people, technologies and processes are put in place to keep a mold running.
It is critical that this aspect of the mold manufacturing process not be undervalued, and oftentimes it is. Many shops continue to express their frustration with the lack of the right people, technologies and processes to properly maintain and repair molds.
People. Plant managers often do not understand or appreciate the level of training required for proper preventive maintenance (PM). Tooling PM technicians do not appreciate the value of the molds they are working on and how important their service function is. Shop personnel want to work on new tools rather than repairs.
Processes. Systems are not always proactive enough, so many PM events are unplanned and eat up critical planned PM time and resources. Systems need to be better connected and data entry needs to be more accurate, so scheduling teams have the right information for decision-making.
Technologies. Although basic maintenance may remain the same for all molds, as mold complexity continues to grow, so will the frequency of mold maintenance and repairs. A lack of knowledge persists about the latest products and equipment to better maintain and repair molds. This, in turn, yields a lack of investment in solutions to many mold problems.
It is with this in mind that MoldMaking Technology and Plastics Technology bring you our third annual Mold Maintenance & Repair supplement. This edition sets out to address some of the common pain points felt by those charged with making the eventual repair or verifying that the appropriate PM is taking place. For example, developing an effective maintenance strategy, designing an efficient layout and workflow, implementing specialized training, employing nontraditional cleaning or surface treatment methods, or using unique mold-repair techniques. More specifically, we’ll take a look at the use of a spotting press in mold validation, dry ice blasting for mold cleaning, using ultrasonics to optimize mold maintenance, creating a systematic approach to maintenance and repair, and the benefits of in-house laser welding.
If the right tools and working environment are in place, maintenance and repair work becomes less painful, allowing jobs to be finished more easily and efficiently.
Editor's PickMotivating Skilled Toolroom Craftsmen
Steve Johnson, president of MoldTrax, has a lot to say about mold maintenance. So much so, that we could not fit it all into his February "Maintenance Matters" column. Here are some extra pointers that didn't make the cut, but are just as important.