People, Process, and Technology
- Shop personnel must have complete confidence in their collective ability to produce near-perfect mold surfaces. No one on the production team can harbor doubts, feel it is too risky or be uncertain about results.
- Machine operators and programmers must trust each other based on communication and mutual respect for skill and experience.
- Each team member has to take responsibility for maximizing output of production resources, including fullest use of unattended machining operations.
- There has to be universal understanding that advanced techniques such as zero stock machining represent the best job security because it is essential to globally competitive pricing and delivery. Everyone in the shop is a stakeholder.
- Producing mold surfaces that need little or no treatment after machining requires a systems approach. All of the process components must fit together seamlessly.
- There can be no weak links.
- The accuracy and smoothness of machined mold surfaces rely on the inherent accuracy at each step in the process—highly accurate machine performance, highly accurate tool path commands, highly accurate tool tip radius.
- High throughput is a priority. Zero stock machining accelerates mold manufacturing significantly, which means that a shop can move more molds to completion in less time without adding to the shop floor headcount.
- Having the right equipment (machine tool, cutters, CAM software, work holding) in place is a requirement that cannot be compromised.
- Investing in the full suite of technology components can and should be justified as a package based on total savings in the entire mold production process.
- Technology is not static. The mold shop committed to zero stock machining has to be looking for the next level with the latest advances all the time and expect the investment to on-going.
- Applying automation is essential. Leveraging labor hours with automated technology to maximize system output is a priority.