Most facilities have dozens, if not hundreds, of different tools that are used on a regular basis. In addition to being very valuable, these tools are also essential for getting work done in an efficient way. When the tools are not properly taken care of, it can result in major delays and a lot of wasted time.
One of the best ways to keep tools safe and organized is by using foam for tool boxes. This foam can be custom made so each tool has a specific location where it fits snugly for maximum protection. These custom cutouts also make it much easier to ensure the tools are put back in the proper place. After all, if a tool won’t fit, it will be quite obvious.
How to Create Custom Foam Cutouts
[/caption]There are many options when it comes to getting custom foam cutouts for your tool boxes. Some facilities will want to have them specially made, and delivered by a third party provider. While this is certainly an effective option, there is one that will take less time and actually save you a lot of money.
You can purchase an industrial foam hot knife, which can be used to cut the foam to the proper size and shape. Once you have one of these hot knifes, you can simply place a piece of foam in the tool box, with a specific tool on top and trace around the tool with a pencil or marker. Using the hot knife, cut through the foam around the traced tool so that it will create a clean outline.
These hot knifes are an exceptionally easy tool to use, since they both cut, and burn through the foam. This allows you to make a cleaner cut than would otherwise be possible. With a high quality knife, you can make very precise cuts so you can go around every part of the tools quite easily. This is especially useful when cutting around things like pliers, which will require sharp turns.
Easy Removal of Tools
One thing to keep in mind when using the hot knife is to make sure you make it so it will be easy to remove the tools from the foam insert. This is often done by cutting out a small tab near the handle of the tools. Cut out enough that you can fit a finger down under the tool, so you can easily pull it out.
This is a simple customization that will make it a lot easier to use the foam insert. In addition, it will help to make sure the employees actually find these inserts useful, rather than just annoying. This is important because it will help get everyone to use them properly.
Many Uses of Foam for Tool Boxes Including Drawer Liners
Keeping track of Tools
Industrial Foam Hot KnifeWhile the foam inserts will certainly help ensure each individual toolbox stays organized, it may not be enough. This is especially true for places like auto mechanics shops or other facilities that have a lot of very similar tools. For example, there are dozens of different types of screwdrivers that you may use, and they will all look more or less the same when it comes to cutting out a foam insert. One great way to make sure your toolboxes are able to stay organized in addition to using foam organizers, is by using a labeling system to keep track of each individual tool. For example, you can label the first screwdriver with the #1, and the second with the #2, and so on. You’ll then need to label the spot in the tool boxes where each screwdriver will go. If you have multiple tool boxes, you can print off a large vinyl labels with an industrial label maker for the top which shows the range of numbers that are supposed to be kept in this box. This will make it much faster and easier to identify where specific tools go, and it will also help to improve the overall organization. Many facilities that have a system like this in place will have an inventory of all the tools and their numbers as well. When this is a digital inventory, it makes it easy for people to quickly look up the specific tool they need, so they can find which numbered slot it is in. For example, if someone needs a 3/8’’ Philips head screwdriver, they can do a quick search and find out which tool box it is located in.
Foam inserts (like the ones found here) for tool boxes is a great way to cut back on a wide range of different types of waste in any facility. The following are just a few of the different ways you can reduce waste by using this type of system in your facility:
Wasted Time – When you just have a toolbox where people throw all the tools when they aren’t in use, it will result in a lot of wasted time. Everyone will have to dig through all the tools in order to find the one they need. Over the course of months, you can waste hundreds of hours to this type of problem.
Replacement Tools – When a tool can’t be found, it will have to be replaced. Some tools can be quite expensive, but even if they aren’t, it is still a major waste. While it can make sense to have more than one copy of a given tool, that should be an intentional purchase, not the result of losing the original.
Employee Theft – While everyone would like to be able to trust all their employees, that is not always the way the world works. When employees see that the tools are extremely unorganized, they may feel like they can get away with taking some of them home without getting caught. In reality, they are most likely correct. Organized tools, however, make it much harder to get away with.
Wrong Tools – As mentioned above, many tools look very similar to each other, but when it gets down to actually using them, they can be quite different. When tools are just tossed together, someone may grab what they thought was the proper one, only to discover it wasn’t when they got to their work area. This is going to result in additional wasted time.
Of course, there may be other types of waste in your facility because of unorganized tools as well. This is why it is so important to implement a good organizational system for your facility. In most cases, using foam inserts is an excellent solution to this very common problem.
One potential problem that some facilities face with this type of system is that employees may think it is going to be a lot of work. You can attempt to encourage them to adopt the new system in a variety of ways, but in the end it may be necessary to just make it a mandatory part of their job.
Once people realize how much easier it is to use tools from an organized box, they will begin to want to do it as well. To the extent possible, however, make sure the system is easy to follow for everyone who uses the tools.
It may take a few days, or even weeks, to get this type of system fully in place, but the improvements will be almost immediate. Once you have cut out the inserts and gotten all the tools organized the first time, you will be able to notice the benefits of eliminated waste right away.