Manufacturing is Dirty Business! Keep Your Tooling Clean!


Generating tooling in support of new product development projects is a tangled business. Getting the highest quality plastics injection molds, tooling fixtures, jigs, deep drawn tooling, thermoform molds & steel rule dies requires careful review. EastBridge Engineering ( guides our clients through the complexities of this process.

Before we inspect the tools and generate the First Article Inspection (FAI) report, our clients and EastBridge need to have a structured discussion about the goals for the program. Can the design be tweaked to improve throughput? Is it possible to use soft materials (aluminum or mild steel) in the early stages to minimize cost? Are MUD frames appropriate? How many shots are practical before the tooling must be overhauled or scrapped?

All of the technical discussions and preparation can be thrown out the window if you don’t control the commercial aspects of the tooling. As most companies arrange for tooling to be generated through contract manufacturers, understanding the terms and conditions of ownership is critical. You can’t assume that because you’ve bought the finished product you also own the tools.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, it’s crucial that you own and hold clean title to the tooling. This places you the customer in control of your IP, you maintain control should you need to move the tooling to a new factory (it happens all the time), there’s no finger pointing or head scratching when the supplier claims that you don’t own the tools because you didn’t purchase 5,000,000 parts.

We provide our clients with a bilingual (Chinese-English) tooling agreement. It clearly defines the ownership and conditions associated with the use of the tool over the long term. It lays it out in black-and-white (and in two languages) the nature of the relationship. This agreement allows for creative payment and ownership arrangements while eliminating the disputes that are common in Asia.

Please see our agreement template by following this link:

And of course, we’re not lawyers. So while we’re pleased to provide our template for review, please don’t construe our offering as skilled legal advice.


Jack Daniels

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