I can't remember, or where the post went to, but I've always been more interested in how often companies would be required to recreate the moulds (due to wear), and how ready, willing and able they would be to just retool for various purposes (rebranding for example) unrelated to mould condition. For example, Tai-Hao Aruz seems to had a short lifetime of only a couple of years or so, but in that time it had both Himake and Aruz branding. They must have had a good justification for retooling, unless retooling cost a lot less ca. 1991 than it does today.hoaryhag wrote: ↑As far as the mold numbering, I did address this in another thread where you posed that question. From what I remember you were mainly wanting to know why you find simple numbering along with more complex numbering in the same board.
(The mis-named) [wiki]MX mount SMK clone series[/wiki] appears to be fairly modern production runs using 90s tooling — the proof of this is the weird backwards and offset mould numbering identical to the 90s switches. I don't know if the bubbly surface finish represents poor plastic material, poor machinery usage or condition, or worn-out moulds.
Moving tooling between countries (viability, and who has done it and when) is another issue. For example, how Devlin in the UK got hold of ITW tooling, or why Omron removed the word "Japan" from the B3G-S tooling (suggesting the tooling was relocated outside of Japan).
We get very little insight here into the industrial processes involved in making keyboards, switches and keycaps, leaving mysteries such as silkscreen vs pad printing, what modern thick ink printing actually is (and whether there's an industry-standard name for any ink printing that doesn't soak in regardless of how it's applied), and so many other things.
Mould technology is interesting because the mould details are often all we get to see, especially on unbranded switches.