Do You Know Where Your Tools Are?

by | Sep 30, 2022

Manufacturers and shops are constantly searching for greater production efficiencies that, in turn, lead to greater profitability. Shortening cycle times, faster tool changes that minimize machine downtime and automation are all avenues to cost-effective production, but not every process needs to be complicated, sophisticated and expensive.

Sometimes small deeds produce significant results. For example, do you know where your tools and toolholders are? If you don’t – as in right now – you’re overlooking a simple practice that can increase productivity and profits: Laser marking your tools.

Efficient machining depends upon having a specific tool or part on the right machine at the proper point in production. Failing that, downtime increases and efficiency suffers. Mislabeling, misplacing and misusing machine tools through inadequate or nonexistent management are detrimental to shop efficiency, and problems are only exacerbated by the current shortage of skilled operators. Logging and tracking and manually importing tool information into a spreadsheet by hand invites human error. Laser marking in conjunction with some level of tool management system, however, provides easy, reliable and scannable tool data in real time.

Laser marking as a value-added service continues to expand at the REGO-FIX Technology Lab, with demand only anticipated to grow in the future. Lab Tech Team members laser mark a variety of toolholders, but primarily the company’s pioneering ER and more recent powRgrip series tooling systems. End users supply either a bar or Q code embedded with comprehensive tool data such as the user’s unique tool identification number, tool specifications and measurements, along with any modifications or accessories that have been added. That information is then easily etched onto the tool, which can then be scanned into a tool management system. The result is a machine-ready part right out of the box with all relevant tool data captured.

Alternatively, end users would be required to maintain an in-house laser marking machine, potentially costing several thousand or several tens of thousands of dollars or outsource the job to a third party. The former option is most likely cost prohibitive for all but large manufacturers, and the latter may add a week to a shop’s timeline between a tool being accepted at the loading dock and being put into production.

In the end, REGO-FIX laser marking is another way of making manufacturing easier for its end users, helping them know what they have and find what they need when they need it.

In addition to tool laser marking and performing modification and customization work on REGO-FIX and third-party toolholders, the Tech Team provides virtual training sessions designed to fit your production needs that equip your team with the skills it needs for manufacturing success.

To find out how the REGO-FIX Technology Lab will keep your production running, contact REGO-FIX at (317) 870-5959 or visit www.regousa.com/meet-the-tech-team.