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Tool Control Foam | Shadowboards

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Tool Control Foam Shadowboards

Foam Tool Storage

 Tool control is a measure of ensuring safety, efficiency, improved productivity and savings within the factory or workplace environment, especially in the aerospace and automotive fields. With a simple and highly effective method of instantly seeing that all of the required tools for the required job are in place, work can begin in the knowledge that the job or shift should be free of any tooling issues.

tool tray foam for drawer Snap On Tool Case  tool storage drawer

 The benefits of having properly organised tool storage and control include -­

  • rapid tool location for instant use
  • protection of expensive kit
  • prevention of tools sliding around during transit
  • avoids loss or theft of tools
  • easy to see if tools are not replaced
  • safety and peace of mind as tools will not be left within aircraft/vehicles/machinery

  automotive mechanic tool case    plastic case with foam insert   portable tool control case

  To assist in the effectiveness of tool control, the foam drawer or tool cabinet inserts are often made in dual colour material. This makes it even quicker to see if a tool is not in position. The original ‘shadow boards’ do indeed seem to throw a shadow in the empty pocket space when the foams are used in a single colour, but with dual coloured foams it is much more visually definite. The foams used for tool control trays will usually be of a closed cell nature, and the most consistent foams to use are part of the Azote family of foams - Plastazote.  Plastazote is a cross-linked expanded polyethylene, and it is this cross-linking of the individual cells which gives it extra strength, uniformity and durability whilst offering optimum cushioning properties. Plastazote foam inserts are resistant to oils and chemicals and can be laser marked at each individual pocket to identify the tool or part by number or size as added security. Company logos can also be engraved.

 Aviation Tool Control | FOD Prevention | Aircraft Maintenance

 FOD - Foreign Object Damage/Debris was originally an aviation term for damage attributed to a foreign object i.e. an item that doesn’t belong or is not a part of the aircraft. It can be expressed in physical or economic terms that may or may not degrade the product's required safety and/or performance characteristics.  FOD describes debris on or around an aircraft or damage done to an aircraft.

One of the ‘culprits’ of damage and hazards caused came from mechanics and engineers who had been working on the aircraft and inadvertently left hand tools behind after servicing or repair.

Tool Control Security Cabinets were developed to prevent this occurring. In its simplest form, a tool control cabinet will have drawers that are lined with a dual coloured closed-cell foam, with the top layer usually being approximately 6mm thick. The tray will be machined to house the individual hand tools. Once you machine through the 6mm layer, then the  second colour is seen beneath.

 When a tool has been utilised, a mechanic can instantly see whether it has been returned to the drawer or not, thus avoiding accidentally leaving it behind in an area that could cause serious damage.

 As well as the aerospace sector, tool control is used across a range of industries including automotive, defence, medical - any manufacturing or service sector where hand tools and consumables are used. Field service personnel can also benefit in the same way using carry cases with dual colour foam inserts ensuring expensive tools or instrumentation equipment such as monitors and analysers aren’t left behind on site.


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LU7 4UH.

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