We run into people all the time that have worked in China, purchased their tooling from the supplier, and then the supplier fails (go bankrupt/steals product designs/ bad quality control). They face the immediate concern of moving their tooling and beginning again with a new supplier.
Moving tooling sounds as easy as shipping a product through the mail. This is not the case. You should always anticipate moving your tooling before you pay for it. Here are a few things you should provide to the people that will be moving your tooling.
Photos and a List of All the Tooling
- There are many parts and pieces to the tooling. We need all of them.
- Sometime the factory will produce additional tools to meet your production requirements or make modifications to the tools.
- Make sure to get a complete list of all the tools/molds the factory has on hand. You will use this as a checklist for the individual that picks up your tooling.
- If you miss a tool, the entire production could fail and making a new part will take more time and money.
A List of the Serial Numbers and Dimensions of the Tool
- Factories have hundreds of tools on hand. They weigh a lot and many times need a crane to carry them. Lifting the lid of a tool to see if it is right is usually not possible.
- You want to have as much identification of the tooling as possible. This will allow the agent or yourself to confirm that they have the right tooling.
The Number of Cavities in the Tooling and the Material Usage
- Your new factory is going to need to know this information to know what machine to use and what material they should use for injection. If you don’t have this information, they can still figure it out, but they will need to do trial and error. Which is time. Which turns into money.
- The more cavities in the tool, the higher the injection pressure and the larger the machine that is needed.
Information About the Material
- The quality of the steel tells the moving company or agent how to handle the tooling.
- It also informs the factory on the level of care, cleaning, and upkeep they should have on the tool.
- The harder the steel, the longer it lasts, and the harder it is to repair if its damaged.
The Number of Units Made from the Tooling and the Expected Life of the Tool
- This will establish a “quality level” for the factory. If the factory is aware that the tool is halfway through its life cycle, they will pay more attention to the parts coming off the tooling and engage you when the tooling is starting to show wear.
Contact Information for the Person Who Currently Has the Tooling
- Is it the factory or tooling company across the street?
- Who is responsible for it and has the power to move it?
- Please provide the address, name, phone number, and webchat to the agent taking over the tooling.
Information About the Storage Location
- Was it stored in a dry place with air conditioning for proper venting or in a humid environment exposed to the salty air?
- Tooling fails faster and rusts quickly if it has not been taken care of.
- If the tooling has not been stored correctly, you could have rust on the inside of the tool, which will cause it to be useless. (In some cases, the finishing of the tool can be reworked.)
The Tooling Engineering Files
- Good factories can also provide you with the actual tooling design. This is very helpful for the new factory as they can review the files before you ship them.
- Having these files will give you a confirmation that the tooling can work without needing to pay the shipping cost and the time needed to do so.
A Signed Tooling Ownership Agreement
- Do you have a written record of ownership of the tooling and has the factory signed it? (An email record is also ok.)
- You will need to provide this written document and a signed record + email introduction to the agent or factory you’re asking to pick up the tooling.
- If the agent doesn’t have this information, many times, the factory will not release the tooling.