July 14, 2022

Precision tool making is difficult in China

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I won’t say that precision tools cannot be made or found in China, nor other Asian locations, however, I would lean towards there being difficulty in getting the highest quality there. If the conversation is expanded to move past the actual machining and become inclusive of the analysis and engineering then the separation becomes wider. Adding high level processing to the mix and this becomes more evident. The understanding of Quality Assurance (not Quality Control) plays into this very much. All these drive cost higher as the quality of the tool is raised.

I have seen good tools, invention, innovation, etc. out of China, however, I have also, more often than not, had to bring that to them, not to hurt feelings but recognize that if you don’t have direct and varied experience in all aspects of tool procurement then views are less likely to be vetted thoroughly. Living in China, designing parts, buying stuff, seeing others do stuff, etc. does not bring knowledge to the level required for making blanket statements about capability. Precision mold has always brought a higher price, mostly from the greater knowledge and skills required.

The quality of machine tools in use and the supporting CAM et.al. Have diminished much of these points. Unless the shop being dealt with is lacking in good equipment then they don’t factor in as much. The foundation skills I mentioned, analysis, engineering, etc. become the separator. There is little excuse for good high performance and tolerance tools to cost excessively more when built by a quality tooling shop regardless of where this is done. That said getting equivalence around the world is not easy.

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