Mold Maintenance & Repair

OCT 2013

Mold Maintenance & Repair

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F e at U R e To make continuous improvements in a mold repair facility, we must be able to measure specific metrics to set targets and goals for molds and personnel. The only substitute for a data-driven approach to mold repair is money… lots of it. In today's economy, it is becoming more and more commonplace for the customer to ask such questions of their mold vendors simply because they want to know exactly what is going on with their half-million dollar mold. So if you don't supply this data for your repair technicians, you might have to for your customers. Following 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. If you cannot answer the first three, you needn't continue on because the questions continue to drill deeper into your mold knowledge database. 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. fve reasons for unscheduled mold stops, as well as the top fve problem child molds. With that known, we were able to do several things. First, we could use the information for stoppages as part of our company-wide continuous improvement system and put the visibility up there across all departments that we were going to lead reducing these costs for mold stoppages and involve other departments as necessary. That allows us, as a company, to all be rowing in the same direction to address and eliminate repeated downtime for repeated reasons." Then, by identifying the top fve problem child molds, csi was able to target those molds for a more thorough condition assessment when they came out and let every repair technician in the shop know that these molds needed more than just a cursory PM. "rather than just doing the bare minimum to get the mold back in the press, only to see it come back again sooner that it should," says 6 Mold Maintenance & Repair Photo courtesy of ToolingDocs. Being Data-Driven Takes More than Data Collection A mold repair technician's job has always been to make molds run— any how, any way… just make them run. Intangibles such as bench technique and methodology, maintenance efficiency, accountability or continuous improvement have never been much of a factor in assessing the performance of a mold repair shop or an individual's skill level. Performance was based on missed or late 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. It works like this: The cost of maintenance and repair is typically contained in two buckets of money: one for labor and one for tooling. The details in these two buckets need to be broken down and measured in order to make more accurate and profitable decisions. But the details are unstandardized journal type entries or maintenance stories that can't be easily measured. 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 the 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 (too loose, tight or just right?), 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. Cosmetic Specialties International employees document critical mold data.

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