Rubber Industry

ARPM Rubber Manufacturing Blog

The ARPM Rubber Manufacturing Blog allows members to rapidly communicate with each other. Post both questions and answers to questions that other ARPM members have about any industry topic from material and process issues to R&E Tax Credits and other business issues.

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Rubber Manufacturing Blog / Business / PreDesigned Molds?
Posted:  15 May 2018 20:26
How often are you required by your customers to provide a full mold CAD design and model prior to getting approval to make the mold (for rubber parts)?   
We have been asked by more of our customers that their molds be fully designed in CAD before they will approve the tooling (complete with all features including shrink rate, pin and bushing placement, sprue sizes and placement, overflow groove dimensions, slides, and bleeds).  Previously we have worked closely with several mold makers that we trust, and who know our preferences, to design these features into the molds per our instructions without actually making a full CAD mold design.  This saves time and expense in many cases.   And we have some features in our molds that we feel are proprietary design features.
What percentage of all the molds you order are required to be pre designed as described above?  And when you do provide such molds, how do you prevent the customer from then taking that mold design to another toolmaker and have them make the mold?  Do you have concerns that overseas competitors could use your mold designs to copy the features that you consider confidential inventions or trade secrets?  I would appreciate any thoughts you may have on this issue.

Daniel Baker
Posted:  15 May 2018 21:33
We have rarely been asked for a full mold design before mold approval (parting line and sprue size/location is more common).  We have been known to give out solid models of molds to customers who request it, but those requests are also very rare.  We tend to rely on our relationships with customers that they want to do business with us and won't resource the products.  I know this isn't always feasible, but those relationships are the base of a long customer relationship.

Posted:  15 May 2018 21:42
From a press manufacture side, i would say 100% of the time a CAD drawing is required. In some cases the mold maker may even need to produce a CAD drawing of the part to get approved. You main question is "who owns the design". In such cases I would recommend that you somehow sanitize anything proprietary. I think most mold makers feel the design is theirs.

timothy r graham
Posted:  16 May 2018 19:23
We generally tell our customers they are paying for the mold, but not necessarily the design.  I would strongly resist giving customers full solid models of their tools - mostly because our tool shops strongly resist giving the models to us.  I agree with Tim at REP - customers don't own the design, they own the finished product (the tool).

I have provided pdf drawings of the molds with some rough dimensions to customers.

Posted:  16 May 2018 23:40
I really appreciate your comments. 

Dan Baker