Insert bits and hand tool wear

insert bits

insert bits

Good tools are cheaper than ruined work or rework in overtime

Renée, our e-commerce manager, got a message today from a customer who is reclaiming electronics in an unheated warehouse. They’re having a lot of problems with their screwdriver bits rusting and thus wearing out and slipping.

He wanted to know if we had anything that would help them. We had two suggestions. We sell screwdriver bits that are coated with TiN, titanium nitride. This won’t rust and will wear considerably longer than uncoated bits.  We also have screwdriver bits that are coated with titanium nitride that has carbide in it. The little, rough carbide grains make for an extremely good contact surface.

Underlying this all is the fact that the screwdriver bits we sell are made with good tooling. If you’re reading this, odds are really good you know that tooling wears. As tooling wears dimensions can get larger or smaller and this is true with screwdriver bits as well.  It is also true with screws. But you can get screws with big slots or small slots just as you can get screwdriver bits that are oversize or undersize.

We have a couple customers that buy screwdriver bits in packs of 100 on a regular basis. They have the people use the screwdriver bits for just so long and then they replace them.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we have been rebuilding equipment. The question from the customer about screwdriver bits had me look at my hand tools.   I like to keep a set of appropriate hand tools and spare parts near each machine.  If a rubber drive belt breaks, for example, I really like to get that machine back up and running as soon as possible. Having a spare belt of the right size and the right size Allen wrench immediately available makes the whole process immediate, fast, and simple.

I am pretty good at making sure that we have good quality tools in production but I could check them more than I do now and I could train the staff to be more conscious of tool wear.  And I certainly need to do that with hand tools in support operations.

One of my operating principles is that nothing is more expensive than rework. In 30 years in business I have found that people are willing and generally pretty happy to get a little overtime if we are that busy.  However, rework or trying to get caught up because the machine went down just has a different feel to it. They don’t seem to like it as much and I purely hate it because I know we are losing money on it.

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