What is tooling?
If you look up the word tooling in a dictionary you will likely find a definition along the lines of “The planning, making and arrangement of tools for a particular manufacturing process.”
Tooling is the task of developing and engineering the products or “tools” and equipment required to produce and manufacture a part or assembly. Think of a cupcake. Without a cupcake pan you would not be able to continuously reproduce the same shape.
There are many different types of tooling but what is tooling in manufacturing? Tooling used in manufacturing, also known as machine tooling, is an important part of the manufacturing process. When a unique piece of equipment coupled with unique tooling is needed to carry out a manufacturing operation, it would be considered “tooled.”
Why is tooling important?
Tooling is a critical part of the manufacturing process since the precision and characteristics of the tooling define the quality of the finished goods. More importantly, properly designed tooling allows for a product to function properly, repeat results, reduce man hours, etc. As a skilled tooling manufacturer, PMP is able to deliver well-designed and well-made tooling specific to the deep draw metal forming process. This allows for manufacturing processes to be quicker and more cost-effective. Proper tooling also improves reliability, repeatability and reduces time related to repairs and maintenance.
Final parts always need to be within a specific tolerance to function properly. If the tooling is not made properly, the final part can be unsuccessful and may end up with faults indicating that they can break or degrade quickly. Tooling failure can lead to production delays, lost time or even part rejection.
A successful tooling process starts with designing tools to best meet critical features and functions of the part. We build tools in-house which allows us to control quality and tool delivery lead times. Next, our tool makers set in and adjust tools as needed to produce first piece samples for customer approval. The tooling process can range in cost due to many variables such as the number of operations to complete the part, part complexity and required tolerances. The tooling charges at PMP encompass the tool design for the part, building the machine tools and all activities to produce PPAP or first piece samples for customer approval. Here at PMP, the tooling charge is a one time charge and covers the design life of the current part revision.
Why Use Tooling for Metal Forming?
Tooling plays a vital role in the metal forming process and the mode in which the deep drawn process takes place.
The tooling process helps deliver an efficient production process which allows manufacturers to provide high-quality and customized products while still retaining affordable production costs.
The tooling process for the manufacture of deep drawn metal forming requires engineering and niche design principles not used in other forms of manufacturing. The combined experience of our design and tool building teams ensure proper selection of tooling materials that guarantee longevity while maintaining customer required tolerances and minimal variation between runs. The deep draw process uses hardened tooling materials, such as steel, which can withstand multiple production cycles allowing the deep draw manufacturer to produce high volumes of parts. Soft tooling would not be an optimal choice for deep draw metal forming as it only allows manufacturers to produce samples and prototypes and lacks the durability or wear resistance for high volume production.
Think about that cupcake pan again; you are using a “tool” to make many cupcakes for years to come!
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