Worry-Free Mold Making

A mold shop owner describes how he ensures that his shop keeps running smoothly.

Platinum Tool Technologies is a 40-man mold shop in Oldcastle, Ontario, Canada. We have 8 CNC machines and various manual machines. We run two shifts daily and a special weekend shift. A recent issue of MODERN MACHINE SHOP's e-mail newsletter asked readers what they do to get the shop off their minds when they leave for the day. I think the best way to relax when you leave for the day is to have the day properly planned for. In other words, be sure everything has been checked, and is ready for smooth implementation. The result is a comfortable feeling when you leave the shop.

I thought of 10 things I do that I let me relax every night when I leave:

  1. All of the machinists program on the shop floor so I don't have to worry about programming not being done properly. It's all done on the fly. There is no waiting. Cutter path changes happen if and when needed.
  2. As an owner and machining manager, I personally check each model before it goes to the shop floor. I look for missing surfaces, translation errors, design issues, mistakes and things that don't look right. I also decide on a machining strategy, which is communicated to the operators.
  3. Tooling stock is checked almost daily to ensure we don't run out of inserts, cutters, reamers and drills. We keep back-up tools of what we need most, in case of tool failure. It also helps if the night shift has a phone number for a tool supplier in case of emergency.
  4. Machines are maintained properly and usually don't break down, but when they do, we have a machine maintenance man who works the night shift. He also plumbs and wires all of our molds.
  5. Hire competent help. Fire the lazy ones! It pays to hire people who do good work. Teach them how you want it done. It costs a little more but they get more done with less mistakes and I don't have to worry when I'm at home.
  6. Good written line-ups and schedules are updated daily. They include more work than necessary to keep the workers busy at a fast pace. We also include back-up work in case the first job doesn't go smoothly.
  7. Be neighborly. On rare occasions, other tool shops nearby have helped us out. Example: We borrowed a lift truck when ours wouldn't start. A close relationship is important here.
  8. Know your limitations. You can't possibly do everything. Trying to be everything to everyone will burn you out. That's why we delegate.
  9. My cell phone is always on. I take calls at home or while I'm at a restaurant.
  10. Don't worry, be happy!