Clients asked us several times to oversee a transfer of tools/molds from one factory to another. So we have written a checklist (see below).
Why move tooling from one factory to another?
- Maybe the buyer selects one factory to make a mold and another one to do the injection. This is generally not advised, but sometimes the buyer has no choice.
- Maybe the business stops with the original factory, which accepts to release the tooling (it doesn’t always happen, and a good contract certainly helps).
In this article we are making the assumption that the tooling is a mold for plastic injection, and that this mold needs to be moved from the toolmaker to the molding factory.
For those importers who want to minimize risks, the sequence to follow is as below:
1. BUYER: – All tooling should be signed off as complete and ready for use in production. Documentation should be in place showing the buyer has signed off each tool.
2. BUYER: – Tooling transfer plan including schedule should be generated and in place with all parties (the buyer, the toolmaker, and the receiving factory that will run the tools in mass production).
3. TOOLMAKER: – Tooling transfer documentation should include all tooling 2D drawings as well as 3D CAD data, release and transfer of tooling contract, preliminary settings for each tool as a guide.
4. BUYER/INSPECTION: – Buyer’s engineer or third party representative should check each tool against the transfer contract to ensure everything is correct and accountable for.
5. BUYER/TOOLMAKER: – Transfer readiness should include rust protection, general packaging protection, the correct shipping packaging (depending on shipping method, land, sea, or air). All this needs to be documented and checked during the packaging stage.
6. BUYER/TOOLMAKER: – Transfer of tools, depending on distance and method of transport. If local, the toolmaker may use their own truck, in which case the buyer’s engineer or third party representative should accompany the tools during transportation. If longer distances, the buyer is advised to arrange shipment through their own freight forwarder.
7. BUYER: – Ensure all documentation has been sent to the receiving factory ready for acceptance of transferred tools.
8. MOLDER/BUYER: – Upon receiving transferred tools, unpack tools and check off inventory to ensure everything has been delivered.
9. BUYER/INSPECTION: – Buyer’s engineer or third party representative should check each tool against the transfer contract to ensure everything is correct and accountable for.
10. MOLDER/BUYER: – Buyer’s engineer or third party representative should work with mold factory and run each tool in order to obtain samples for inspection.
11. BUYER: – Buyer’s engineer or third party representative should inspect initial sample and cross check against signed off samples from the toolmaker.
12. BUYER/MOLDER: – Once all tools have been accounted for, checked they are in good condition and are able to run in the factory’s machines, the buyer and the molding factory need to sign tool transfer contract. Through that contract they accept all tools, take responsibility for them, and acknowledge the buyer’s ownership rights (among other clauses).
13. BUYER: – Buyer’s engineer or third party representative should check storage facilities to ensure each tool will be stored correctly and safely and is easily retrievable when needed.
14. BUYER: – Buyer’s engineer or third party representative should check tool maintenance capabilities to ensure adequate skills and equipment are in-place to maintain the tools at the highest quality.
Now, what if the tools are moved from an old (and bad) supplier to a new supplier? The old supplier probably won’t be as cooperative, so some steps will have to be skipped. And the buyer is advised to arrange transportation through his freight forwarder, to avoid contact between the 2 suppliers.
Maybe some readers can offer a few more tips for this type of situation?