The plastics industry's guide for buying molds has been retooled after 25 years and is ready for review.
The 14-page document, "Customs and Practices of the Mold Making Industry," covers the wide range of aspects involved for procuring molds and sets a path to standardize and streamline the process.
The guide advises those buying and manufacturing molds about everything from inquiries and quotations to engineering and progress reports to intellectual property and payment terms.
Mold costs typically range from $25,000 for prototype tooling to $500,000 and above for complex tooling for high cavitation. The guide defines the various mold classifications starting with "Class 101" tooling, which is built for extremely high production and made of premium-grade materials for 1 million or more cycles.
The guide was first issued in the early 1970s by the Society of the Plastics Industry, which is now the Plastics Industry Association, and it was last updated in 1996.
Since then, technology, terminology and protocols have changed, according to Glenn Starkey, president of Progressive Components, a Wauconda, Ill.-based company that sells components and monitoring systems for mold making and molding.
Starkey chairs the mold making division of the plastics association's equipment committee. He is revising the guide with Toby Bral of MSI Mold Builders Inc. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Wally and Camille Sackett of Accede Mold & Tool Co. Inc. in Rochester, N.Y., with the project coordinated by Jeffrey Linder, director of industry standards for the trade association in Washington.
"The guide is not meant to be a final word ... but it does give a mold buyer and mold maker documented common practices for at least a starting point," Starkey said in a phone interview. "Topics such as molded part tolerances vs. mold steel tolerances, typical payment terms and rework after delivery responsibilities are described in an effort to avoid misunderstandings and disagreements."
The team combed through what was a 21-page document, deleting redundant and outdated language and adding a "general mold terminology" section to encourage use of common terms.
"There are enough variables when someone needs a mold built," Starkey said. "To complicate matters further, through slang and colloquialisms people frequently will use two different terms for the same thing. But, if we work from a common guide for lingo and terminology, that's just one more way to assist the dialogue."
The document devotes a full page to terms to describe the structure of a range of injection mold types.
"The team saw the need to establish definitions for three-plate molds, stripper plate molds, family molds, and various two-shot mold and cube mold configurations," Starkey said. "For stack molds, it can be confusing when describing cavitation, so we document the definition of a '2 x 4 stack mold' as being a mold with two molding planes with four cavities per molding plane."
Starting Aug. 24, the draft of the new guide will be circulated for review by association members who are mold makers and mold buyers. Also, Bral, the immediate past president of the American Mold Builders Association, said that the board will share it with select AMBA members.
In addition, colleagues from the industry at large and anyone who builds or buys molds is welcome to review this draft and offer their recommendations.
The review committee plans to collect comments until Sept. 30. To receive a link to the draft copy and survey input form, contact Linder at [email protected].