The three phases of a mould trial

Phase 1: first out of tool
The first phase is called “first out of tool” (FOT). This is the first time we inject molten plastic into the mould. We test whether the mould closes perfectly, whether there is sufficient cooling, whether the product comes out neatly and whether there are any flashes, airtraps or deformations. We draw up a report with our findings, in which we specify the modifications that have to be made. The toolmaker then proceeds to optimise the mould and samples are sent to the customer to provide a first impression.

Phase 2: feedback from the customer
Once any imperfections have been resolved, we conduct a new mould trial with the optimised mould. We present the resulting product to the customer. Together, we go over the cosmetic aspects and the cycle time. Did we produce an appealing and functional product, are the dimensions correct, can we manufacture it within the calculated cycle time and does it meet the customer’s other requirements and wishes? The part is then released for testing and the customer is given ample opportunity to test the product. We send the toolmaker another report, which includes the customer’s feedback this time. A second round of optimisation follows.

Phase 3: the finishing touch
Finally, we conduct a third mould trial with the fully optimised mould. During this phase, it is all about the finishing touch. Think of e.g. choosing between a matt or glossy texture. Once the product has been perfected and every detail checks out, we run a long trial. After this run the mould is transported to one of our production sites. We will always conduct a final on-site mould trial, because certain conditions, e.g. the temperature of the cooling water, are not the same everywhere. Once we are convinced that there is no more room for error and the part is released by the customer, mass-production process can begin!

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