How to choose the right Toolmaker for your suite of tools
Design, Capability, Equipment, Leadtime, Experience, Accreditations, Warranty , Off Shoring.
Perhaps the eight most important things to consider when conducting your feasibility study for the suite of tools you are about to contract out. That’s before you think of leaving these shores and going to places like China.
An injection mould tool will only be as good as its design. Get this area wrong on the tool and it will never perform at its optimum. Design must be fully signed off and agreed by tool design, part design and mould production prior to steel being cut. At Patterson & Rothwell we have all those departments next door to each other. We employ highly trained skilled personnel to perform these tasks daily. Nothing is left to chance.
How long has the company been making injection mould tools? The longer the better right?
What markets are they being made for? The more varied the better in terms of experience gained.
Automotive, caps and closures / packaging, medical are all considered specialist fields. Can the equipment handle the size of job in terms of physical size and tonnage? Can the crane equipment handle the weights involved?
Patterson & Rothwell were established in 1982 and have made thousands of Injection Mould Tools during that time to hundreds of different markets. We can work on tools up to 6 tons in weight.
Equipment and machinery
What is the level of investment from your potential partner?
Do the machines look new and clean or dirty and tired?
How can an old dirty and tired machine cut as accurately or as quickly as a new one?
Patterson & Rothwell have invested over 1 million in its toolroom over the last 3 years to enable it to compete at the highest levels.
To get your products to market requires a competitive lead time and as such you need to establish what that is for your project. If a lead time quoted appears to be very short it will often prove to be the case and you will be undoubtedly let down. By then though you will have committed to your customers.
If you ask 4 toolmakers how they would manufacture a tool to make a part and provide a cost it’s no surprise you will receive 4 differing methods and mythology and prices.
Which one is right? That will be determined by the experience that toolmaker has both in terms of years of working in that field and years as a toolmaker itself.
Here at Patterson & Rothwell we have some of the most experienced toolmakers to walk the “planet of toolmaking” and in many different markets. There is very little we have yet to cater for in terms of markets served.
Every toolmaker should be able to provide warranty on a new injection mould tool. This is usually several shots the tool can produce, like a mileage figure on a car. This will vary depending on how much volume the tool must produce in each year. The longer the warranty the more confidence is placed on the quality of workmanship of the mould tool.
Here at Patterson & Rothwell we place as much as 10 years on some mould tools and many millions of shots as we make long lasting tools with the highest performing metals available.
Prices have risen in the Far East and the savings that were possible 5 years ago are no longer as attractive as they once were. Build in the time factor of an additional 5 weeks shipping and those savings look even less appealing.
However, a suite of multiple tools with the lead time built in can be attractive instead of splitting that work up between several UK toolmakers. Choosing the right partner is crucial.
Patterson & Rothwell have over many years of visits and successful projects a small selection of partners in China. Each one is a specialist in its field and we would choose one over the other if it was say an Automotive part against a Medical one. We have learnt the strengths and weaknesses of each supplier and allocate jobs accordingly.