Tool shops expect three things from their steel suppliers: Inexpensive, high-quality, and fast-delivering steel. The problem is that we rarely meet all three needs at the same time.
Quality is permanently at the top of the list. The last thing a tool shop wants to do is have a steel problem during the mold-making process. Sending molds for repair is not good for everyone involved. In addition to production downtime, repair costs are very high. Today's factories focus on quality.
Some companies have added high-speed forging presses to their process. These new presses have been shown to improve the matrix of the steel they offer to the market. An improved matrix means the steel has less chemical segregation, improved hardenability, and less stress. These factors help determine future costs for tool shops and their customers.
However, steel is also sourced from third-world countries that do not meet the high-quality standards that tool shops are accustomed to. This loss of quality often translates into increased later costs for additional labor and subsequent machining for tool shops and their customers.
One way North American companies keep foreign tools out of the country is through fast shipping. For tool shops to offer quick turnarounds, steel suppliers need to do more. Some steel suppliers ship their products to tight tolerances. This allows the tool shop to load the steel into his CNC machine and immediately start cutting cavities and cores.
Other steel suppliers also offer gun drills as a way to shorten delivery times. Over the past year, the oil and gas industry has purchased large amounts of capacity from some plants, resulting in longer lead times. 28-32 weeks in some cases.
Due to this trend, tool shops are losing their source of quality steel for molds. Some steel suppliers around the country keep large ingots on their floors to provide a viable source of material for these businesses.
We've all heard the saying, "Cheap isn't always better." Everyone wants the best price they can get for their steel, and factories are paying attention and starting to meet those price demands, providing a cost advantage to the tool shop.
In the US, tool shops and molders choose Dual Melt P20 for automotive lens applications. However, some grades of single-fused P20 lens quality are now accepted in Europe. These single-melt steels produce high-quality parts at a low cost.
Another way to reduce tooling costs is to evaluate pre-hardened and heat-treatable steels. Eliminating the need for heat treatment, along with secondary processing of these heat-treatable steels, can significantly reduce the time required for heat treatment. The new pre-hardened steel also offers tool makers a mid-range 40 HRC material.
These products are less expensive than regular H-13 grades and do not require heat treatment. Some preliminary life results show little to no parting line wear and ejector pin wear even after 2 million shots on the mold.
The biggest challenge is choosing the right steel for the right job. But steel selection has never been better in terms of quality, price, and delivery time. If you haven't reviewed it lately, now is the time. Dowel Moulds, the best mold manufacturer in India, is here to help you every step of the way.
There is no one type of steel that is suitable for all uses but getting it right the first time is paramount. The most effortless and useful way to improve your steel selection process is to call your steel supplier. You can usually combine your application with the product that works best for you.
Dowell Moulds is one of the best mold manufacturers in Vapi and has provided customers with the highest quality service for 20 years.