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Mastering the Tool Transfer: Key Elements and Best Practices

By October 18, 2023No Comments

A successful tool transfer from one manufacturing facility to another can be complex and daunting, so why do it? There are several reasons, such as lower pricing, shorter lead times, better quality, or higher capacity. Regardless of your reasoning, you desire a seamless and effortless transition. 

Thorough planning and attention to detail make this possible. In this article, we’ll explore key factors for a successful tool transfer, from the initial part drawing to the production line. We will also pay particular attention to the importance of communication and documentation throughout the process.  

Below is the information, items, and conversations needed for successful communication between a customer & supplier. Please keep in mind that the below are suggested outlines, and each molder may have different items needed to succeed. 

Part Drawing, CAD Model, Tool Drawings, & CAD

The core of any tool transfer project relies on the part drawing and CAD model. Without these files, the project will be much more difficult to recreate. These detailed documents serve as a reference for the entire project, particularly for quoting and quality. These files ensure the transferred tool produces parts meeting the original specifications.   

Mold Specifications & Dimensions

The mold is the heart of the manufacturing process, and its specifications and dimensions are essential to a successful transfer. If mold drawings are available before the transfer, they help the move to the new facility by helping streamline the new suppliers’ understanding.  

Detailed mold set-up sheets, cycle time data, and cavitation strategies all help to streamline the production process and optimize efficiency. Understanding these parameters is essential for maintaining consistent quality and productivity during the tool transfer.  

Sample Parts

Sample parts serve as the benchmark for quality and consistency. They allow the receiving facility to compare the newly transferred tool’s output to the original tool’s production. The new facility will rigorously test these samples to ensure they meet the same standards as the existing parts. Addressing any deviations or defects helps the manufacturer maintain the expected product quality.   

Addressing any deviations or defects helps the manufacturer maintain the expected product quality

Tool Transfer Project Scope Summary

A clear project scope summary outlines the essential details of the tool transfer project. The summary includes:  

  • Material and color specifications  
  • Secondary requirements (such as surface finish or tolerance levels)  
  • Packaging requirements and work instructions   
  • The estimated annual production volume.  

A comprehensive understanding of these parameters ensures all parties align with the project’s objectives.  

Quality Concern History

Understanding the history of quality concerns related to the transferred part or tool is crucial. This information helps identify potential challenges and areas of improvement. The receiving facility can take steps to stop these problems from happening again by dealing with past quality issues.  

Validation Requirements

Validation plays a crucial role in a tool transfer project. It involves testing and ensuring that the newly transferred tool can consistently make parts meet the required specifications. After the transfer, one should clearly define the validation requirements and accurately document the process to ensure compliance.   

Contact Information Details

As in any transaction, efficient communication is critical during the tool transfer. While acting as the operation’s backbone, constant open communication helps all involved parties work together, keeping the project on track. This communication should include regular updates and issues that need addressing.  

Tool Transfer Timeline  

An organized timeline ensures the tool transfer project stays on schedule. A thorough timeline includes key milestones, deadlines, and critical paths – in addition to some built-in flexibility. Allowing for variance in manufacturing times can alleviate issues as a project progresses.  

Successful tool transfers require careful planning, documentation, and communication – but a smooth transition with as little downtime as possible makes it all worthwhile. 

Don’t wait; View our tool transfer checklist page for a comprehensive list of recommendations and implement these strategies today to make your tool transfer projects more efficient and successful. 

But all of this would be useless if you forget to ship the mold. So, set a reminder and send it to its new home when all transfer requirements are complete.  


Macay Hunter

Macay Hunter

An expert in plastics manufacturing, Macay works with engineers and supply chain managers during the planning, design and implementation stages of their molded plastic productions.