Uddeholm Choosing the optimum steel grade at the design stage
Sweden – The mould designer can significantly contribute to optimum tooling economy by thinking standard, that is, using readily available standard steel grades, standard steel sizes and standard machined plates.
In seeking to produce the best possible mould, a mould designer faces several criteria that have to be satisfied. Together with the mould maker, he shares the heavy responsibility of producing a mould that makes possible reliable and economical production of the part conceived by the product designer.
Constructing moulds as economically as possible
The designer also endeavours to ensure that the mould can be constructed as easily and economically as possible by the mouldmaker. Whether these requirements are successfully met or not depends to a large extent on specifying the best mould steel and hardness for the mould concerned. A clever mould designer can also add a valuable service to all concerned by thinking standard.
Most mould designers are used to specifying a whole range of standard parts, such as guide pins and bushings, ejector pins etc. Since these parts are available quickly at competitive prices, they help the mould maker save valuable time. But there is even more time and money to be saved. Time and cost savings can be further improved by extending this standard thinking to standard steel sizes, machined plates and steel grades. In fact, by specifying readily available steel grades in standard sizes, the mould maker can ensure prompt deliveries while keeping initial machining costs and material losses to a minimum.
The choice of steel grade and supplier is often made at the design stage in order to simplify and speed up the delivery of the mould. This means that the material and parts can be ordered in good time and that the work can be better planned. This is not always a simple task. In many cases, the choice of steel grade is a compromise between the wishes of the mouldmaker and the moulder.