Now viewing: Tooling

Bruce Wold
By Bruce Wold
Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - 11:24

During project planning it is very important to ensure that each of the parts will be produced consistently. To do this, the manufacturing process must be qualified to ensure that it is repeatable and stable, both dimensionally and cosmetically.  At Elite Plastics, this qualification process is broken down into four sections including design qualification, installation qualification, operational qualification and performance qualification. We will explain them in further detail below:


Design qualification (DQ)

During this initial stage, Elite Plastics receives the design print and goes through a tolerance review to determine whether the tool can be built as the customer has requested.


Installation qualification (IQ)

The Elite Plastics team then begins qualifying how to install the tool so that the process can be repeated in the same way during future production runs.


Operational qualification (OQ)

At this point, design experiments are conducted and variables are tested to identify where the part is best suited to run. To do this, parts are taken from multiple conditions and are submitted to metrology for measurements. Based on the measurement results, the next step is performance qualification.


Performance qualification (PQ)

Finally, features, dimensions and cosmetics are evaluated. The production process is run and a predetermined number of parts are randomly selected and inspected by metrology to measure whether the process is deemed to be both repeatable and reliable.


One strength of Elite Plastics is the high quality standards that are adhered to. To uphold these standards, our team goes through this series of qualification steps for every project to ensure that parts meet our customer’s needs. 

Chris Passanante
By Chris Passanante
Wednesday, August 12, 2015 - 09:33

In a complex manufacturing industry, it is important to have a set of unique terminology to understand industry-wide common practices. Basic terminology in the plastics industry is provided by the Society of the Plastics Industry Cosmetic Specification of Injection Molded Parts to give manufacturers, suppliers and customers a common language to communicate through.

As a plastics manufacturer, Elite Plastics has a long list of unique vocabulary, so we’ve compiled some of the most common tooling terms used when discussing projects with our customers here:

Taking a tool down: A common process of performing maintenance on a tool

Venting a tool: Creating an opening in the cavity so that gasses can escape while material is being injected into the tool

Inserting a tool: This occurs when a damaged section of steel is replaced for repair or when multiple versions are slightly different

Tool crash: Like a car crash, this can happen in both major and minor incidents, but it means a tool has been damaged

Qualifying a tool: Establishing a manufacturing process that is both repeatable and stable

By Bruce Wold
Thursday, July 16, 2015 - 12:05

In this latest post of our tooling classification blog series, we will be discussing the most commonly used tool here at Elite Plastics: class 102.

Classification 102 is a higher volume production tool and is generally heat treated for wear resistance. This is important because the tool warranty is on the higher end of the spectrum, from around 500,000 to 1 million parts. As a higher production mold, this tool has tighter tolerances.

Read our other blogs in the classification series:

Tooling classification overview: 104 (part 1 of 4)

Tooling classification overview: 103 (part 2 of 4)

Tooling classification overview: 101 (part 4 of 4)

By Bruce Wold
Thursday, July 2, 2015 - 10:48

Every molded part requires a tool and these are classified on a sliding scaled based on material type, warranty, part design and the tool configuration. During this blog series we will discuss the four types of tool classifications available including 104, 103, 102, and 101.

In this blog, we will start by focusing on the 104 classification in particular.

The 104 classification is also known as prototype or bridge tooling. These tools are most commonly made out of aluminum, making them the most fragile of the classification options. Because of this fragility, these tools are more easily damaged and degradable than other tool classifications. This limits the amount of parts that the tool can successfully make, meaning that it has a limited warranty.

Because class 104 tooling is so fragile, Elite Plastics tends to steer away from using it when other classification options are available. However, it can be popular for low volume and lost cost projects.

Read our other blogs in the classification series:

Tooling classification overview: 103 (part 2 of 4)

Tooling classification overview: 102 (part 3 of 4)

Tooling classification overview: 101 (part 4 of 4)

By Chris Passanante
Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 16:26


In the last post we announced our new machining capabilities at Elite Plastics. This week I want to touch on the benefits of plastic machining.

  • Cost
    • Depending on order quantity, utilizing machining over a tool can result in significant savings. For lower volume parts, tooling isn’t necessary – eliminating the cost of tooling, and reducing the NRE (non-recurring engineering).
  • Prototyping
    • Need a quick prototype of a new part? Machining allows for fast turnaround of prototypes, while also making prototyping of plastic parts affordable, by cutting out the tool cost.
  • Quality control
    • Having our own machining capabilities means increased control over our quality and production. By not having to sub contract machining, everything can be done in house. This means less handling and paperwork and ensures the GM Nameplate quality and level of detail.
  • Fine Trimming/De-gating
    • Many parts require a smooth finish. Machining can be used to remove the gate from an injection molded part, making the surface smooth and gate free.
  • Taping holes
    • Machining allows the ability for holes to be taped rather than using an unscrewing tool. The result is a huge cost savings, depending on quantity, and allows better control of threads and holes.
  • Tooling or Machining
    • There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to use a tool or machining. Well, machining may eliminate the tooling cost it increases the price per part, so depending on volume size tooling may be more affordable. But if you need to change an existing part, secondary machining may make more sense.

To learn more about the benefits of plastic machining at what capability is the best fit for your part, please contact Elite Plastics.