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Caring For Tools – Cleanliness Equals Greater Quality

22 February 2017- 13 min read


The care and cleaning of tools in a custom plastic extrusion manufacturing operation is a very precise operation undertaken to keep quality consistent.  Having the right tools and the right people make this possible.  

Keeping those tools stored properly when they are not in use is just as important a part of the process as cleaning them when they come off the machine.


Extruding polymer parts requires complex tooling with many parts, some of which can be more delicate than meets the eye.  That’s why a dedicated and well trained associate who is skilled in using heater plates, buffing tools, and specialized sand blasters clean every part of the tool from the die coming off the machine to the down line equipment used to control shape and size.  The ease, and repeat-ability, of running a job is directly related to how well the tooling is cleaned after the previous run is finished.  That is why Engineered Profiles has focused its efforts on putting in place a rigorous system that follows tools from the moment they are removed from the machine, to where they are stored.


Storage is a vital part of tooling care.  Simply placing a tool on a shelf is asking for disaster.  Even if your shelving is well laid out so that each part has its place, extrusion tooling can have up to a dozen individual plates.  Custom packing cases have been developed for internal use by Engineered Profiles so that properly cleaned tools can be stored safely and securely.  When the tools are unpacked they can be put on quickly with less chance for error leading to greater consistency in the quality of the parts.  You wouldn’t leave a valuable baseball card on a shelf without a case, and complex manufacturing equipment should have at least the same level of care as a Babe Ruth rookie card.


Even cleaning a tool thoroughly and storing it correctly can’t prevent all the wear and tear accompanied by forcing molten plastic through hot steel.  Maintenance has to be performed regularly on tools to keep them in peak condition so material flows through in a predictable way.  Regularly scheduled maintenance on extrusion tooling performed in house is the best way to make sure the tools stay predictable and are able to make repeatable parts.  Having to outsource the maintenance tooling can lead to delays that would interrupt a customer’s delicate supply chain.  Rapid access to a sophisticated tool shop helps to reduce the impact of that wear and tear on lead times and prevent unexpected down time.

A sophisticated tool cleaning plan, storage capability, and maintenance program are the triad that keep tools performing at peek standards to produce quality parts for extrusion customers.  Being able to produce tools is only one piece of the puzzle.  Engineered Profiles has put an emphasis on the cleanliness, storage, and proper maintenance of the tools to maintain the high level of quality that customers need in today’s manufacturing environment.