Quality at the heart of UK manufacturing

Online Editor

Gabby Day explores the bespoke mould tooling solutions being developed for over half a century.

Investing in mould tooling can be significant and the responsibility on the manufacturer to deliver high quality mould tooling solutions within the quoted price is high. Given the nature, and at times, complexity of the precision engineering process mistakes would be very costly in relation to both extra resource required and delay to the lead time to complete. Therefore, a stringent quality process throughout the mould tool design and manufacturing process is imperative.

Having been manufacturing bespoke mould tooling solutions for over 50 years, alongside supporting services including servicing, repair, maintenance, and modification, Pentagon has a wealth of engineering experience. Of course, it would be impossible to eliminate all errors that occur during the manufacturing process as there are many different elements machined and as a business, we have suffered our fair share. Rather than dwelling on the problems and associated cost it offers, opportunities for improvement and has paved the way to the robust quality processes that the engineering team have operated under.

High precision

From the outset, the design phase carries high responsibility to create a mould tool that can produce what can be quite intricate and exacting details of the component. Designing a mould tool with the correct temperature control for the component, applying the required material shrinkage rate, creating movements that will allow the part to be released from the tool, with a suitable feed system in an acceptable area on the product, and a suitable ejection system to allow removal of the product in a way that it will not be damaged is a challenge. This initial phase sets the foundations for a successful tool build that can deliver products that meet the specification applied.

The initial stage of the tool design is to produce a schematic view which is reviewed with the production team and where necessary the end customer. Once the final tool design is agreed and quality checked, a full 3D CAD model of the tool is created, and a Tool General Assembly drawn with supporting component drawings of each individual element to support manufacture. A Bill of Materials (BOM) is generated, and all materials and tooling components ordered.

It is critical that the manufacture phase of the tool build is supported with quality at the heart of everything and that the skilled tooling technicians have an elevated level of concentration when producing every element. A culture of check twice and cut once is employed at every stage of the manufacturing cycle.

High quality

To support internal quality processes Pentagon has recently invested over £20,000 in a new Deltron CNC Coordinate Measuring Machine. The compact machine brings high-level measurement accuracy and repeatability directly to the shop floor, allowing the technicians to check their own work at every stage and to produce extensive reports when required.

This addition to the quality process will be a gamechanger for the engineering team aiding the measurement and quality checking throughout the production process. Predominantly to be used for electrodes, cores, cavities, and the other tooling components it will deliver greater accuracy and time savings against existing manual measurement processes. It is believed that this investment will support the reduction of tool manufacturing lead times and reduce the additional resource of reworking or remaking items.

Pentagon operates under ISO9001:2015 standards spanning both mould tool manufacture and plastic injection moulding. Having confidence in a supplier’s manufacturing process is of utmost importance for any customer when placing new business. Combining exceptional engineering skills and evolving technologies UK tool manufacture is being taken to new heights.

Gabby Day is with Pentagon Plastics.

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