Many times, long-term production tooling is manufactured for use at one foundry and moved to another foundry during its useful life. This practice, referred to as “transfer tooling,” presents a number of challenges to the manufacturer who owns the pattern as well as the foundry receiving the work. These issues include the condition of the pattern (which may be worn and damaged) and gating and rigging the pattern for the new foundry’s casting process.
The biggest concern from a worn pattern is, obviously, the quality of the part resulting from its use. An excessively worn pattern will not be able to produce parts that meet the specifications of your customer. Worn cores will not correctly create the internal features of the casting and the position of critical dimensions will not be correct.
The actual problems may not become visible until the casting process is complete and the machining phase of the process starts. This will cause delays in your project schedule as well as additional costs in your material acquisition.
The C.A. Lawton Co. has instituted a process to proactively solve potential quality issues from variances in transfer tooling. It consists of these four steps:
Step 1: Tooling layout
In this phase of the process, the Lawton pattern shop unpacks the transfer tooling and inspects it. All dimensions of the pattern are recorded on a drawing of the finished casting. This step can take a significant amount of time, depending on the size and complexity of the pattern. Change pieces and core boxes are also inspected for wear and damage.
Step 2: Dimensional verification
Dimensional verification is performed next. The measurements taken from step one are compared to the design dimensions illustrated on the drawing of the finished casting. Variations are noted and brought to the attention of the customer. The customer will then have the opportunity to advise which variations are acceptable and which ones require correction.
This input is critical to limit the cost of the repair to those variations that actually affect the performance of the casting. Other variations, which do not affect the finished product, can be left as is or noted for future attention.
Step 3: Pricing of repairs
Next, Lawton will prepare a quotation based on the direction received in the dimensional verification stage. It will be customized to the instruction received but can also be used to set up a longer term program for repair. Estimates for remaining service life can be made from this information. At this time, pricing of a new tool can also be supplied for consideration as an alternative to the repair. Detailed costs for gating and rigging the tooling to work within Lawton’s foundry process will also be identified.
Step 4: Repair/replacement of tooling
This final phase of the program is where the actual work is done on the tooling. Experienced Lawton patternmakers will rebuild the tooling based on the condition, budget and direction of the customer. If new tooling is desired, our full service pattern shop will also be able to accommodate this need.
It’s important to note that no two foundry processes are alike. The tooling must be adapted to work within the process of our foundry. To work within the receiving foundry process, gating and rigging of the tooling is critical to successfully produce the casting.
Upon completion of these steps, your tool will be ready to be returned to production. Just as important, you will be much more aware of its condition and remaining life. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to plan the future of your product.
Call your service representative at Lawton today and ask us how to transfer your patterns. Inform yourself on possible quality issues before your aging tooling fails.