If you ask the right questions – or more importantly, if the right questions are asked of you – your tooling provider is key to driving success on the manufacturing floor.
Collaborating with your tooling provider throughout your production process, from the purchase of new machines to on-going maintenance, offers significant value to your organization and helps to ensure application success. A knowledgeable tooling provider who offers consultative services can help you save money by implementing solutions with the lowest applied cost, drive efficiency with the right tooling systems and tool management, and reduce downtime and scrap.
#1 Selecting the Right Equipment
A machine supplier can only provide you with a portion of the overall solution. By combining input from both your machine and tooling representatives, you identify mistakes and oversights up front, ensuring downstream performance.
New projects that involve both internal and external stakeholders have outcomes that are more successful. With the help of a consultative approach, your tooling expert can help you select the right equipment for the job. A tooling supplier can offer valuable input such as optimized machining sequence, number of spindles, and can suggest horsepower, RPM and feed rate parameters.
#2 Increase Efficiency
Determining the right tool for an application involves more than just replacing an existing tool. The best solutions consider the entire cutting environment. Your tooling supplier should take into account all aspects of your specific manufacturing process and offer recommendations that enhance your overall operation.
An integral part of a high-quality cutting tool system, often overlooked, is precision tool holding. The right tool holders can extend overall tool life, improve finish and reduce spindle wear. Tool holding systems that use heat-shrink technology, such as Leitz ThermoGrip, allow for high-speed machining while yielding optimized cut quality and significantly extended tool life.
Dust collection is another area to consider when evaluating a tool solution. Tools with DFC (dust flow control) direct chips out of the cutting zone and into the dust extraction system. Precisely designed dust hoods remove chips and dust very efficiently as a component of the overall solution. Leitz dust hoods prevent chip re-cutting and transfer heat from the direct machining area. This not only results in a cleaner machine and surrounding manufacturing area but much longer tool life.
#3 Better Tool Management
Tooling management is another area where a tooling partner can positively affect your business. By asking the right questions up front, your tooling expert can provide valuable insight about the tools you need based on anticipated edge life, sharpening turn-around, and manufacturing output expectations. Often times, manufacturers and tool suppliers can collaborate and make agreements on stock-keeping systems, blanket orders, and the physical management of tools.
In some instances, it may make sense to turn part or all of the tool management over to the supplier. This could include manual or computer-based Kanban systems, where tool supplier representatives regularly organize, take inventory, and provide order advisements to purchasing staff. Alternatively, a complete management program, where tools are essentially leased from your supplier and you pay a fee for output and related tooling services, can be of considerable value. This is a particularly advantageous arrangement for high-volume producers of a single product line because of “common sizes” or fixes the tooling costs specifically to the amount of product produced. It also allows for the complete off-load of tool management to the tool supplier.
Adding It All Up
Partnering with your tooling provider can make a positive impact on your bottom line. When a tooling expert is presented with an application or tooling need, there are many questions that should be answered before a solution is offered. First, all application parameters need to be discussed. Second, the outcome or objective for the finished product needs to be determined, such as finish requirements and process speeds. Finally, the amount of product to be produced, as well as the frequency of changeover to other products, should be forecasted.
When the answers are clear, the right overall tooling solution can be presented. Experienced tooling representatives will not only quote various solutions but will also explain through detailed cost justification which solution will provide the lowest overall cost. Several factors need to be considered in the final decision, including cost per unit of production, reduction of downtime for tool change, and elimination of scrap.
Leitz representatives are consultants who spend time asking the right questions to provide the best solutions. Leitz has the experience, expertise and product line to support the efforts of our representatives in the field. Our representatives play an integral role in the development and successful outcome of new machining projects. They address issues and provide impactful solutions for the entire cutting environment. Ultimately, Leitz representatives offer innovative tool management systems that allow our clients to put their focus on the business at hand.
Ready to work with a tooling partner that can make a positive impact on your bottom line? Contact us at www.leitztooling.com today!
Michael Lind is the CEO of Leitz Tooling Systems LP. With over three decades of experience in the woodworking tooling industry, Michael understands the most significant factors affecting today’s wood manufacturing companies. He has held key leadership roles in the areas of sales, sales management, marketing, product management, and executive management, both here in the United States and internationally, within top industry organizations. Michael has shared his extensive knowledge of the woodworking industry in published articles for FDMC magazine and speaking at industry events such as the WDMA.