Mold Plates

NOTE: The information on this page is for existing mold plate owners, it explains the operation and care of Tomahawk Manufacturing, Inc. Mold Plates. If you are interested in a quote for your mold plates click contact us above, or Click Here.

The cavity of the mold plate is used to form the product found in the machine hopper.  The cavity is designed with specific product parameters in mind such as weight, shape, and density.  Parameters specified by the customer are used to determine the final shape, thickness, etc.  Customized mold plates are available from Tomahawk Manufacturing.  By contacting the Tomahawk Engineering department, you can be sure your tooling needs will be met.  This section will explain procedures to reduce wear, repair tooling and increase tooling life.  It is very IMPORTANT that the tooling be inspected before and after each time it is used.  Ensuring that your tooling is in top condition, will reduce rework and scrap.  Damage to your forming machine can occur easily if proper care is not taken while installing and working with tooling.


Each mold plate is manufactured with (2) spacers.  The spacers manufactured with each mold plate are unique to that specific mold plate.  The mold plate contains some important information that is engraved on the top surface.  The serial number, knockout assembly number, product weight, and plate thickness, respectively can all be found on the top of the mold plate. The mold plate and spacers are precision ground with matching serial numbers. Do NOT mix and match mold plates with other spacers.  

Periodic measurement of the mold plate thickness should be done with a micrometer to determine wear.  If a mold plate is greater than 0.005" (0.13mm) thinner than the thickness indicated on the mold plate, the mold plate is worn out and will need replacement.  If the mold plate is between 0.003" (0.08mm) and 0.005" (0.13mm) thinner than the indicated thickness, the mold plate should be measured more frequently.  The mold plate must be installed in the machine with the serial number facing up.  (See Fig. 1)

mold plate serial number png


mishandling mold plates png Maintaining the mold plate and spacers in top condition will help prevent problems with tooling and product weights. Consistent mold plate maintenance will also help prevent damage to the machine. Careful handling of tooling must be practiced at all times. (See Fig. 2) The entire tooling package to be used for a production run should be carefully inspected for any damage. Damage, such as nicks or burrs, should be removed prior to installation. This type of damage is a perpetual problem that can lead to excess product leakage or altered patty weights if not treated properly.

During inspection, it is important to inspect the entire mold plate for cracks or gouges. Careful attention needs to be taken when inspecting the areas around the drive bolt holes and between the cavities. These two areas are the most common areas to have cracking or excessive wear. (See Fig. 3) If cracks appear in these areas or material is missing, the mold plate should be taken out of service immediately and replaced in order to prevent machine or additional tooling damage.

patty forming mold plate damage png
Figure 3 - Mold Plate Damage

Drive bolt holes that show excessive wear could cause several problems with the forming machine if the mold plate is not replaced. It will be harder for the machine to provide accurate knockout location with excessively worn drive bolt holes. (See Fig. 5) An increase in knockout crashes or knockout cup replacement may be an indication that the drive bolt holes are getting worn out. Excessive wear on mold plate drive components is another possible problem due to the misalignment of the mold plate. It is important that all knockout cups are aligned correctly prior to production. The knockout cups should be aligned by loosening and retightening the bolts holding it on the bar. DO NOT USE THE MOLD COVER WRENCH TO BEND THEM OR HIT THEM INTO THE CORRECT POSITION. This will damage the knockout cup and possibly the mold plate.

Figure 6 shows a diagram of a mold plate with mishandling damage. A larger picture of each damaged area is shown in Figures 6A, 6B, and 6C.

patty forming mold plate damage png mold plate damage gouges png mold plate damage surface scratches png mold plate damage image of deep scratches png

It is very important when installing the tooling to make sure all fasteners are secured. Figure 7 shows the damage to a mold plate from fill plate screws not tightened correctly. In this case either the fill screws where not tightened fully and the plate was damaged immediately or they came loose during operation. If a fill plate screw comes loose, it should be evident to the operator because of the “chattering” noise this type of problem can produce. mold plate damage fill slot screw

Inspection of the mold plate cavities is important because sharp cavity edges are needed for good forming. If there appears to be galling or damage around the cavities it may be time to replace the mold plate. (See Fig. 8) Mold plate replacement will eliminate ragged edges on patties and reduce product leakage. mold plate damage scratching or galling

Repairing minor burrs and scratches should be done with a whetstone and food grade mineral oil. A thin film of oil should be spread across the area needing repair. A smooth side to side action across high spots will help to remove them. A 5 in. (127mm) round whetstone is recommended. (See Fig. 9) Tomahawk Manufacturing can supply the recommended whetstone to ensure optimal results. It is very important to clean the mold plate after it has been stoned to remove any debris left on the mold plate surface. Do not use any type of abrasive paper as a substitute. This will only help to make the high spots more prominent and damage other tooling. mold plate damage repairing minor burrs

If major defects are found on any part of the tooling, (i.e. spacer, mold plate, top plate, etc.), a large mill smooth file should be used to remove the large defect. The file should be applied only to the area that is defective. (See Fig. 10) The critical clearances between the tooling could be compromised if the file is used too generously. mold plate care inspect stone the top plate

mold plate damage repairing major defects

Mold Plates can be made of a variety of materials depending on the specific purpose. Click to read more about mold plate materials