Performing preventative maintenance or repairs to a mold can be straightforward. With documentation to identify what has been done in the past and what needs to be done immediately, it can be a smooth running system. The mold will be taken care of a right back into production.
However, if you assess the mold during either of these operations, really look at it while maintaining it or making repairs, the mold can tell you how it has been doing. It can tell you how it is measuring up to the expectations you had when designed and what it is capable of performing going forward including life span. The parts it has been producing can provide indications of what is to come.
Cleaning and repairing molds can often be assigned to technicians whose job is to get molds back into production. If the technician is trained and tasked with being a troubleshooter and an assessor of status, a mold shop can reap so much more than getting a mold back into production. They can learn about designs that meet expectations and those that do not. Assess mold functions that indirectly affect parts and their dimensions, as well as those that do so directly.
A mold shop can “learn” from their molds in production. Learn to design better molds, learn how to better accomplish mold functions, and learn how to make molds last longer, or work more efficiently.
You just have to listen to what they have to say.