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The choice of different mold steels means different costs
The most discussed topic in today's mold manufacturing industry is the relatively cheaper tools that compete from overseas. In most cases these discussions revolve around unfair labor costs that are low; however, many toolmakers do not realize that the choice of steel can play an important role in closing the price gap with offshore tools.
Much of the time, moldmakers can only look at the cheapest price per pound of steel and the opportunity to actually save labor costs above the waterline.
The speed of the steel machine is faster, and the upper computer is completed to reduce the bench time, welding better to ease design changes or maintenance, eliminate the need for stress relief when the machine is off, and provide real labor (cost) savings. Less hours also mean better lead times.
Real tool costs in countries with low labor costs:
Offshore mold buyers are concerned about the initial acquisition costs that are often much lower than the first half of the domestic market. These extremely low prices often come from Southeast Asian countries and China. The labor costs are very low. Buyers are willing to ship tools to North American stores to bring them to the operating specifications. There are often problems with poor communication, lack of attention to detail, or neglect of standardized offshore stores.
A moldmaker asked what grade of steel was used for the tool he had recently received. The answer from the Chinese machine tool manufacturer is "yes". However, offshore tools, these homebuyers are willing to accept the additional cost. They think that even if the extra cost doubles the original purchase price, they still save money. They did not consider the cost below the waterline. If domestic stores are closer to the initial FOB prices, built-in advantages below the waterline, such as language, area, and quality, will help recapture lost businesses.
Mold costs from countries with lower labor costs:
Japan is another story. Japan’s labor costs are now higher than ours. Japanese mold makers build tools faster and cheaper than what we do and profit from it. how could be ??? The answer is the choice of steel.
The earliest molds have been made in both countries, or any carbon steel is available. As resin and advanced production run longer, it is required to change the steel used. North American stores go to chromium, which can be heat treated, with 4140 molybdenum steel, then at a more highly refined P-20 (4130 modified pre-hardened to HRC 32/32), and finally hardened tool steels such as A-2, H13 and S -7. Each step is to extend the life of the tool, but in terms of machinability, production time, repairability or the cost of heat treatment.
Through the 1950s and 1960s, Japan saw JIS (Japanese Industrial Standards) S55C as its preferred material for its core and cavity. The S55C is a BRINNELL hardness of 220. They value the 0.55 carbon steel that is easy to machine, and correspondingly saves time, as well as the hardness of the easily repairable. Adhering to rigorous preventive maintenance allows moldmakers to successfully complete their own production runs.
As Japan's electronics and automotive industries began to increase production, it became significantly harder and more wear-resistant, and pre-hardened steels needed to increase in quantity. But the builder of the tool rejects any changes that will increase the lead time for mold making and molders resist any changes that will make repair or modification difficult. It is incumbent on the responsibility of the steel grades designed by the Japanese special steel makers, which will satisfy both the mold makers and the mold makers.
In 1965, Datong Special Steel Corporation launched a steel grade called NAK80, followed by NAK55, a re-vulcanized version in early 1975, and PX5, a low carbon, improved P-20 in 1989, which is exactly what they did.
Each factory is designed according to the market, keeping its own time in the labor brand and low cost of the mold manufacturers and the proprietary trade name of the molded steel. All of these achievements are still now identified by JIS or AISI standard names. They are sold under the trade names of manufacturing plants, but as a group, they are the main pre-hardened cavities and core steels used in Japan.