Defining the Standard Mold Base
What is a standard mold base? This seems like an easy question requiring a short answer. A standard mold base is an off-the-shelf base ready to be machined to your specifications. Easy enough, but when you really sit down and think about it, it’s much more than that. It is not such an easy question.
What is standard for one may not be standard for another. What one supplier charges extra for may be free from another. How is the delivery? What does your supplier do, and what don’t they do to improve leadtimes? When buying a standard mold base there should be expectations regarding quality, price and delivery.
Quality begins with first impressions. When your mold base arrives, how is it packaged? Once opened, how is the finish? If your mold base looks like it has been dragged behind the truck, rather on the truck, then it’s time to re-think your choice of suppliers.
Consistency is another aspect of quality. If you order the same standard mold base every day for a week, each base should be identical to the last. Why should your bases be identical? Well, what if someone scraps a plate? Some mold bases are ground to square after assembly. This is a problem when installing a replacement plate; the new plate will be out of square with the rest of the base. It will not fit properly. Standard mold base plates should be completely interchangeable and easy to replace.
It is important that your mold base supplier machines from the center out to the tightest possible tolerances—ensuring complete interchangeability. This level of quality should not only be expected, but affordable as well.
What are you paying for when you purchase a standard mold base? What features are you paying extra for that should be included in the list price? Today’s standard mold bases should include vented leader pins, eyebolt holes, pry slots and even guided ejection. These features and the related components should be off-the-shelf, with no added cost.
There also are less significant, but nonetheless helpful additions to standard mold bases such as chamfered edges and safety straps. It also is the small attention to details which makes a mold base a good value. Time is money. The more features and options your mold base supplier provides the less time the moldmaker spends machining. Standard features, as the name implies, should be readily available so as not to impact the mold base delivery.
Leadtimes are shrinking. Standard mold bases are a timesaver. They should ship within 24 hours of the order date. A standard mold base is not standard if it takes a week to ship. And in case of emergency, replacement plates and components should be available to ship same day.
Are there other instances when time can be saved and delivery times reduced? In the design phase, to reduce design time it is critical for the mold base supplier to have a library of downloadable CAD drawings available in all major CAD platforms. In a world more rapidly evolving to 3-D design, it is more important for the supplier to have true 3-D configurable models available in addition to the traditional 2-D.
What other timesaving options does your supplier provide? Do they stock A and B plates with pre-cut pockets and pre-cut lock pockets? Pre-machined plates can save a nice chunk of your time.
All of these factors should be taken into consideration when finally deciding where to buy your standard mold base. Question your supplier. Are your mold bases completely interchangeable? What features and components come with my mold base at no extra charge? Do you offer true 3-D configurable models of all of your bases? Your mold base supplier should be able to answer any and all of your questions in a friendly and accurate manner.
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