Canadian Plastics

MOLDMAKING REPORT: A process for inspection and accountability

Inspection is an extremely important part of the mold building process. Rework can create lost production, cause conflicts with the schedule and put other jobs in jeopardy. Reducing rework, improving ...


September 1, 2001
By Mark Benoit

Inspection is an extremely important part of the mold building process. Rework can create lost production, cause conflicts with the schedule and put other jobs in jeopardy. Reducing rework, improving the product and process, and increasing efficiency are all vital for a competitive moldmaking shop.

A positive first step toward this goal is to make the operator responsible for inspection of the electrode or part while it is still on a CNC machine. Dimensions can be taken from CAD data and the operator using a test indicator can inspect the electrode or part. Add to this a standard inspection sheet and the operator becomes accountable for the electrode or part and the process.

By incorporating inspection into the tool building process errors are detected while the part is still on the machine and corrected while the tools are still set up, generating cost savings when compared with the more traditional method of a quality department finding the errors with a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) and sending the part back for rework later.

What follows (see page 30) is a chart I developed to help companies as they consider the adoption of this inspection culture. Also, I suggest that managers bring together all of the apprentices, operators, and journeypersons in a given department and have a discussion. Lay out the new expectations and let everyone brainstorm how to achieve them.

Mark is the chair of manufacturing and transportation at St.Clair College in Windsor, Ont.