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Startup keeps customer tool stats in cloud

By: Rhoda Miel

January 7, 2013

New software startup Tool Stats aims to help toolmakers, molders and their customers streamline production by maintaining a central database of mold data.

Warren, Mich.-based Tool Stats provides cloud-based storage of key mold production information, allowing users to access that information anywhere at any time.

Toolmakers or molders may have their own in-house tracking systems, said business development manager Sean Brolley, but that information can be difficult to share. A cloud-based system could allow a mold maker to upload information from production tryouts of a new mold, and have that information immediately available to customers and others in the supply chain.

Tool Stats received financial backing from Proper Digital, part of Warren-based Proper Group International, although the company is a separate, stand-alone operation, Brolley said in a Dec. 11 telephone interview.

Elements of Tool Stats debuted earlier in 2012, including a matrix bar code that can be placed on every tool to allow users to scan the code with a smartphone and access information about the tool. The cloud-based storage system and an online database that launched in November take the digital information access even further.

Users of Tool Stats log vital details about each tool onto an off-site computer, where that information is protected behind a password-enabled log-in linked to the tool number and bar code. That central storage can house information such as design, processing parameters, component schematics, maintenance logs and manufacturing history.

For an auto industry user — where the tool is owned by an automaker, made by a mold maker, used by a molder that may ship parts to another system supplier — each person in that supply chain could conceivably access details on the tool during its build, prototyping or during full production. “Tools are being transferred and shipped all over the world, and this would provide a standardized process to track them,” Brolley said.

During production, the molder can use Tool Stats to log regular maintenance and share that log if problems arise. Rather than take the tool out of production, a toolmaker could potentially spot a problem from the maintenance log and diagnose a repair, he said.

Users can also import design information from Tool Stats to their own internal software programs so as not to enter data into two separate files. That should help toolmakers and molders if the mold is transferred to another site for repairs or production.