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Tool Time: The Importance of Tooling

Posted on in Shane's BLOG
“How can you expect to ship a good casting when you have bad tooling to start with?”

Greetings and Salutations my fellow metalcasters,

Welcome to the August 2017 edition of my blog. 

During this edition, I am going to stress the importance and benefits of the SYNCHRO ERP tooling module.  It’s all about tooling and keeping the tooling in tip-top-shape, tracking its life, location, costs, and usage.  It takes time, effort, and money in insuring that the tooling is not causing casting defects.   Tooling more often than not, is an expensive cost of doing business.  Protecting the investment and getting the maximum usage out of the tooling is a central premise of good metalcasting practices. 

Tooling is defined as any permanent fixture that is used in making a casting.  In this instance, tooling would be the mold pattern, the core box, a trim die, etc.   The tooling makes the core or the casting.  

Inspections of tooling are critical to preventing any issues from occurring.  Remember, if you start out with bad tooling, you are going to get scrapped castings and scrapped castings cost money!  Many quality plans and quality standards dictate how often inspections should occur.

Corrective Action Requests, CARS, are essential in following and adhering to the quality mantra of six sigma.    Problems are reported on, analyzed, actioned, and then a plan is put into place to prevent the problem from occurring again.  CARS are mandatory in many metalcasting operations due to ISO certifications as well as safety critical component applications.

Another important aspect of tooling is insuring that the current revision and drawing are being used to meet the customers expected results.  The customers PO will often specify the revision level and the drawing number that is to be used for the casting.  At order entry time, this information is presented to the employee for verification and cross checking.

Using Crystal Reports, the pattern shop/tooling department can be alerted as to tooling inspections that are due or even past due.  These reports can be automated so that they are emailed to the correct department every morning.

Scrap analysis tools, included with the software, allow for the determination of why castings are being scrapped and whether tooling is a causation.

At the end of the shift, the goal of any metalcasting operation should be to produce castings with no defects and meet the customers exacting specifications while producing as little scrap, PPM, as possible.  P&L is not determined in the front office, but by what happens on the foundry floor.  Good tooling management and control is a central premise.

Many facilities number the casting cavity in the tooling so that they can track scrap by which tooling cavity generates it in order to analyse if there may be a specific issue related to specific cavity. In fact this is so important is some facilities that they track the castings by serial number and a part of the serial number is the cavity in the tool (mold) where that casting came from.

Thank you for your time, and until next time, see you on down the road and by all ways and means, be safe out there.

Shane Allen / Head of SYNCHRO ERP North American Operations 

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