Is transferring tooling on your to-do list? What would you do if your current blow molding supplier announced they were going out of business next month? How would you find a qualified replacement in a short time frame? The transfer of your tooling assets to a new vendor is mission critical and most OEMs are not prepared for such an unexpected undertaking. Starting from scratch with new tooling is not an option. Locating a company who accepts transfer tooling, has the capacity to meet your production while maintaining quality control standards is like finding a unicorn.
Here in the Midwest where we are heavy on automotive, furniture, medical devices, and plastics packaging, the economic crisis resulted in a high percentage of bankruptcies. SPI has become adept at receiving molds that had not been maintained to our standards. We learned quickly that transferring tooling from one company to another required a disciplined and coordinated effort. To that end, establishing clear communication, defined expectations, along with an inbound tooling documentation process are necessary for best results.
At SPI Blow Molding we’ve had customers transfer tooling to us for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the OEM’s current supplier had gone out of business. In other instances, their product demand had outgrown the capabilities or capacity of their current supplier, while others were seeking turnkey solutions that addressed their need to focus time and energy managing and growing their business. Our Experience working closely with the OEMs, setting strategic plans and reviewing industry journals helped implement the following transfer tooling guidelines.
Steps for Transferring Tooling:
Contractual Agreement: A Non-Disclosure Agreement along with part prints, quality requirements and production requirements would be included in the contractual agreement. This will outline the responsibilities and expectations of each party and can be as simple or as detailed as needed depending on the organizational and project needs. Outlining any legal partnership agreements between the two business entities is a requirement for a government or corporate compliance.
Conducting an on-site tool assessment: While performing an assessment while the tool is in production will usually produce the necessary information to facilitate a seamless tool transfer, it is very rarely a viable option. There is an enormous value when SPI’s experienced technicians can see the mold in use and talk with the engineers and operators who are part of the actual production procedures. Quite often, there are workarounds or shortcuts the current production team has adopted that may not have been documented, yet are necessary to achieve the production goal. A great deal of time and money can be saved if this tribal knowledge is shared in advance.
Safety Stock: The safety stock produced would allow time for the tool and support equipment to be transferred and validated. SPI Blow Molding suggests allowing six to eight weeks for complete transfer and validation.
Tool Transfer: It is important to conduct a thorough tool & fixture evaluation upon receipt of your assets. We evaluate, document and report any areas of concern prior to sampling the tool.
Tool Validation: SPI’s Engineers, Production and Quality Staff will collaborate with the OEM’s key staff to validate tooling capability. We will also review for potential improvements to facilitate better quality and lower cost production parts.
Quality Standards: Quality parts come first, then comes quantity. We will verify all quality specifications against supplied part prints and fully document these requirements along with any necessary testing, gaging or secondary assembly.
Production: Once the tools have been validated and quality standards documented, we will work very hard to meet, or exceed, both your immediate and long-term production requirements. We look forward to becoming a valued blow molding supplier.
However, there are situations when 6-8 weeks are not available. At these times, it’s even more critical to be working with a supplier that has appropriate capacity and experience to give the immediate and necessary attention to the myriad of details required to achieve the quality and production standards to ensure your success and ultimately YOUR customer’s satisfaction.
At SPI we believe in Quality Parts, On Time at a Fair Price – even for transfer tooling assets. If you would like to learn more about how SPI can manage your transfer tooling process please visit our website. Make sure to check our company’s equipment list consisting of three dual head presses and ten single head presses ranging in tonnage from 5 tons to 200 tons of clamp force with shot capacities up to 42# and our broad range of material capabilities. SPI is ready to work with you and your partners in providing the ease of the transfer tooling process. Please give us a call today at 269-849-3200 or complete the inquiry form to connect with an SPI blow molding specialist.