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sidewallThere was a time when you asked tire makers “What happens when you need to make changes to a tire mold?”, they would say…”We take the mold out of production, ship the XXX lb piece of steel to the mold shop, and have the changes made”.  Several weeks later after considerable time and expense the mold will be back into production.



Today, however, the story has changed for some tire manufacturers.  A small, but innovative, machine shop, has worked to improve the process.  What if the mold didn’t need to be taken out of the plant and shipped back?  What if we could machine a part to fit into the mold, like a puzzle piece?  When a change needs to be made to the tire sidewall, a new puzzle piece will be machined.

The puzzle piece is called a Pocket Plate.  This small piece of high quality steel or aluminum is machined to fit into a pocket or slot in the mold.  The Pocket Plate has the new information, such as date codes, speed ratings, load range and even logos, on a profiled and engraved, finished pocket plate ready to be fit into the sidewall.  When information and/or designs change, the plate can be switched out for a new plate right at the plant.  There are several advantages to this process:

  • Down time is minimized.
  • The tire mold stays at the Plant
  • The product is more consistent.
  • The logistics of the process are simplified.
  • Cost is lower

Business owner, Dave Sutter, credits Bob Bussey, the shop manager at Excelsior Marking, with leading the advancements.  “The results are a more efficient process, saving our customers time and money, which is what we all strive for.” comments Dave.  To learn more about Precision Machining contact