Digital Tool Management

That's how Industry 4.0 works

What if you always knew exactly how many and which tools are used in your production and where they are at any moment?

And what if this knowledge was equally available to all departments in your company, programming, tool preparation, purchasing, etc.? Imagine the efficiency of such a system!

And what if this vision could already be your reality today?

Digital tool management offers you full transparency of tool data, including inventory and costs and makes sure that all information gets to exactly where and when it is needed.

Reading time approx. 6 min.

How does digital tool management work?

The basic idea of tool management is in itself very simple. It is about collecting tool data and passing it on. Still many companies use Excel lists, Access databases or even handwritten notes… works, but efficient works differently.

Fortunately, the Industry 4.0 era has produced a number of technologies that allow us to finally leave the manual maintenance of tool lists behind.

Detailed information at the right time, in the right place

Modern software solutions are able to store detailed information about tools, manage them reliably in a central database and make them easily available to all areas of the company. The required information can be called up in the fraction of a second at a mouse click. This way, so-called digital twins of the complete production equipment are created.

Cutting tools, collets and holders, but also calibration gauges, workpiece clamping, or spare parts can be managed centrally. Information about suppliers and prices can be stored, even 2D and 3D drawings can be assigned digitally.

Not only individual components, but also completely assembled tools and even entire tool lists can be managed efficiently, which reduces the time required for their provision many times over.

Due to this, it is possible to evaluate stocks, costs, consumption and other relevant parameters at any time and thus achieve complete transparency.

But digital tool management goes much further…

Connection of all corporate divisions

Probably the greatest potential lies in the possibility to connect the central tool database with almost all other areas of the company.

CAD/CAM and simulation programs, MES and DCS systems, presetting devices and machine controls, automatic storage systems and ERP. All these areas can be integrated and access the same central tool database.

Your tool management system becomes the central building block of the company network.

This networking is what makes the difference between a real industry 4.0 tool management system and a manual approach.

What are the advantages of digital tool management?

Efficient tool management improves your entire production process. From order receipt to delivery of the finished part.

Here are a few examples of how these improvements can have an impact.

Transparent tool data

The improved overview of the tool stock alone is sufficient to realize the first savings. Thanks to the easy comparability of the individual tools, superfluous and little used items can be sorted out.

On average, a better overview alone reduces the variety of tools by about 25 – 30%.

It becomes even more interesting when the central tool database is connected with the various departments of the company.

Reduction of the stock by 20%

A typical example of this networking is in the area of storage and tool dispensing.

Our partner for intelligent storage solutions, Bedrunka+Hirth, has determined that digital tool storage systems can significantly reduce a whole range of cost points.

In concrete terms, warehouse and current stock are reduced by an average of about 20% and the total tool costs by a whole 15%.

Enormous savings, which in themselves already represent a far-reaching improvement.

But of course, improved inventory management is only the tip of the iceberg.

More economic stock thanks to digital tool management - across
More economic stock thanks to digital tool management

Increase in capacity utilization by up to 30%

TDM Systems, one of world’s leading providers of tool management software, goes even further with its solutions.

The goal of our partner is the integration of the entire production process, starting with the programming of NC programs and the planning of the production, up to the networking of the complete shop floor, including all CNC machines.

The connection to the CAD/CAM system speeds up the programming process many times over. In addition, collision risks are virtually eliminated, since the programmers always have access to updated, real tool data. The integration of presetters enables reliable measuring of all tools without stopping production. With the help of the Shopfloor Manager, all areas of production are mapped, and all process steps are digitally reproduced.

Since all stages of production preparation communicate with each other, it can ultimately be guaranteed that all tools are at the right machine at the right time! This reduces tool-related machine downtime by up to 95%, which can lead to an increase in productive machine time of up to 30%.

Thanks to this a TDM customer was able to save 365 hours per year of set-up time alone (80€/machine hour = 29.200€).

digital tool management raises the productivity of your CNC machines - across
digital tool management raises the productivity of your CNC machines

Valuable data - important knowledge

One thing is unfortunately often forgotten, although it is one of the most important benefits of all.

Digital tool management generates a large amount of usable data and thus creates detailed knowledge about your manufacturing processes.

Knowledge that you can use to identify weaknesses and improve processes.

Knowledge that gives you enormous advantages over your competitors.

Knowledge that helps you to make the right strategic decisions in the long term to steer your company safely into the future.

For which companies does a switch to a digital system make sense?

Digital tool management is often seen as a concept that is only suitable for large corporations. This is wrong!

A fully equipped tool management system costs far less than a CNC machine, for example. However, even with four machines it can have a greater impact on productivity than a fifth machine (as a reminder: increase in utilization by 30%).

So, you can definitely say that digital tool management is absolutely reasonable even for small companies with 4 – 5 machines. Of course, the advantage increases the more machines and the more tools are in use. With 10 machines a total of up to 300% more productive time (capacity of one machine = 100%) could be achieved, which corresponds to 3 additional machines.

Long Term benefits

The ROI of such systems is typically less than one year. Best of all, digital tool management not only improves your current situation, but also ensures that your future investments perform better, allowing your business to grow more stable and faster.

How do I implement digital tool management in my company?

Digitization projects are usually long-term measures. They are more extensive and time-consuming than installing hardware. With the right partner you can still manage the implementation smoothly.

Step-by-step implementation

It is not necessary to integrate all business areas at once. In contrast, we recommend a step-by-step approach. This keeps the initial costs low and since our systems are all modular, they can be easily expanded later.

Secondly, the implementation step-by-step makes it simple for employees to adopt to the new system. As a result, you achieve a much greater acceptance among your staff, and ensure that your operators can later actively participate in the expansion process of your digital system.

Thanks to this your tool management grows together with your company and fits perfectly to your requirements.

3sixty Tool Handling Systems

In order to successfully implement your project, we are with you from the very beginning to far beyond the end.

We take care of the complete organization of your project, handle the communication with the manufacturers, develop solutions according to your ideas and ensure a smooth implementation.

So, what are you waiting for?

Send us your inquiry today to

We look forward to advising you on your personal 3sixty Tool Handling System.

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3sixty Tool Handling Systems e.K.

Ostbahnhofstraße 7

87437 Kempten


Phone: +49 831 52715588


Company owner: Mr. Christoph Puchinger

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Register no. HRA 10737

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Responsibility for internet presence: Christoph Puchinger