Reliant Sourcing Solutions: Tooling

The term tooling refers to the tools used in manufacturing other parts or components, or to the process of designing and engineering those tools. Every variety of machine tool has some means of constraining workpieces and providing guided movement to help parts through the machine. In addition, all machine tools employ the use of some form of tool for cutting and shaping operations.

A part’s properties, and the speed and accuracy with which it can be produced, are heavily dependent on the precision and characteristics of the tooling used to create it. Tooling impacts all of these aspects of finished products. The quality and precision of the tooling also determines the repeatability of the manufacturing process during high-volume production runs. Tooling must be designed and engineered to the highest quality in order to create quality parts.


Multi-Slide Tooling vs. Conventional Tooling

Two varieties of tooling exist: multi-slide and conventional die cast tooling.

Multi-slide tooling allows fabricators to create the entire shape of a tool at once. This eliminates the need for secondary operations such as machining and assembly. It’s an ideal process for project runs featuring complex geometries or requiring tight tolerances.

Multi-slide tooling produces components with minimal part-to-part variation, especially in comparison to conventional multi-cavity dies. The process relies on compact machinery that’s less likely to suffer from parting-line variation. That means that clients don’t need to worry about varying dimensions affecting the functionality of finished parts.

Conventional tooling also has the potential to cut down on secondary operations, which contributes to lower costs. Most dies created for conventional tooling are specially designed to manage high-volume productions runs easily and efficiently. The process is heavily design-focused.

Many dies used in conventional tooling feature steel bracing. These steel-braced dies help add longevity to the tool and allow fabricators to keep costs low. When cooling and water lines are properly planned for ahead of time, conventional tooling has the potential to be a notably efficient production method.


Common Materials Used

A number of materials see frequent use in tooling fabrication. Tool steels are known for their toughness and affordability. Since their hardness is sufficient for machining other steels, they’re an ideal starting point for the tooling process. Carbon tool steels see some use, but lose their hardness at 200° C.

High-speed steels, on the other hand, don’t lose hardness until 600° C. This ability to maintain hardness even at higher temperatures makes these steels ideal for applications requiring higher cutting speeds. High-speed steels are some of the most commonly-used steels in machining.

Other materials frequently utilized for tooling include:

Cemented carbides

  • Harder than tool steels
  • Usable up to 900° C
  • Multiple varieties (tungsten carbide, cobalt, cements, etc.)

Cutting ceramic

  • Aluminum oxide and silicon nitride
  • Harder than cemented carbides
  • Lower toughness than cemented carbides

Super hard materials

  • Cubic boron nitride; nearly as hard as diamond
  • Diamond—the hardest known material—may be used up to 600° C

Tooling is an essential part of the production process. Scores of products and components would be impossible to produce if it weren’t for high-quality, advanced tooling. At Reliant Sourcing Solutions, our team of industry experts understands how critical impeccable tooling can be in the fabrication of parts and products.

In conjunction with our parent company SMA, we have over 50 years of experience in professional sourcing. Whether you need help with designing and prototyping, warehousing and transportation, or any step of the manufacturing process in between, we’re poised to act as your partner throughout the process.

Request a quote today to learn more about our services and determine whether your next project could benefit from our assistance.