Those who choose a plastic injection molding manufacturer based on price are guilty of short-term thinking. One way to avoid this is by never forgetting to take into account company expertise, experience, and reputation for quality.   

The purchase price of an injection mold is the first thing that comes to mind and is the most valuable expense when it comes to the impact that a purchase can have on your business.

When choosing an injection molder it is critical never to engage in a price race to the bottom – the lowest cost mold may not be the best way to reduce molding costs. It is better to understand running and maintaining the mold at the highest level of efficiency. This will have much more to do with effective total cost reduction.    

Maintenance Processes and Schedules

Anytime there is a failure to procure optimal injection molds for the component and volume required will result in shorter mold life.  This requires more maintenance and even may require purchasing another mold. 

Understanding that maintenance processes and schedules hugely affect the plastic injection molding and manufacturing of your product is important. These are mandatory approaches to keep tools running at optimized cycle times for the most productive quality parts.  

Many companies fail to relate the impact of efficient and effective maintenance processes for their injection molds with cost effectiveness.  

When there is a failure to consider both part design and mold design, it leads to greater costs for manufacturing. Plastic injection molding of parts is only as good as the injection mold that is manufacturing them.   

Anytime a mold is less costly to buy up front - it may well mean higher on-going costs during the life of the tool. These added expenses include frequent repairs and maintenance over the life of the tool. 

Costs can be added to your product by poor quality and a slower than anticipated cycle time. To achieve faster cycle times the tool will need uniform cooling throughout the cavity details, which requires a well-designed tool and a higher precision mold.

The Differences in Experience and Expertise

Believing that any mold manufacturer can build the exact same mold and only the price varies is a gamble.  Different mold manufacturers have different experiences and expertise in building molds for specific industries and product types.  

Cost and tool quality vary greatly and vary from country to country. Lower cost tools usually have bigger issues and challenges than higher quality tools.  

Mold manufacturers with strong engineering capabilities provide OEM’s with a range of options and solutions to help mitigate the most difficult aspects of part and mold process and design. 

They will be able to offer innovative alternatives to original part designs to lessen mold costs while improving quality. Any high quality mold that optimizes cycle times, reduces mold downtime, or maintenance issues will quickly pay for itself during production.

Understanding Plastic Injection Molding Classifications

Understanding your tooling classifications being quoted and built for you, the standard comes from the SPI classifications to eliminate confusion and create uniformity between mold types.  

  • Class 101 is a high production mold running over 1 million or more cycles, this is the most costly tool and is made with the highest quality materials  Temperature control provisions are to be in the cavities, cores and slides wherever possible   
  • Class 102 tooling is built for medium to high production runs not to excel 1 million cycles.  These molds are good for abrasive materials and/or parts requiring close tolerances.  This is a high quality mold.  Temperature control provisions should be in cavities, cores and slides wherever possible. 
  • Class 103 tooling is for medium to low production runs resulting in fewer than 500,000 cycles. 

Molds with higher cavities are more expensive upfront but lower part pricing and less frequent mold maintenance for higher production runs.  Higher cavity molds also require a well-balanced runner system to ensure quality parts are manufactured consistently  

If a low cavity tool is chosen just to save money - the upfront costs may result in a tool that cannot keep up with production requirements - resulting in frequent downtime for repairs and maintenance - ultimately you may have to purchase a new tool.  

Customer Satisfaction and User Experience 

Evaluations of the actual part like the size, design and material have cost implications. Larger parts mean larger molds requiring more material to fabricate the tool and more material to manufacture the parts.   

Complex part designs may require elaborate mold designs, which generally increase mold cost.  

If the part material is corrosive, requires high mold temperatures or molding pressures or contains abrasive elements such as glass – the cost of the tool increases and influences the frequency of mold maintenance and maintenance costs.    Tighter tolerances and a high number of critical dimensions of a part will increase costs due to accommodations made for the manufacturing and maintenance of the tool.      

For deeper consultation, expertise or plastic injection molding manufacturing services, call Crescent Industries - we are an employee-owned company that has been leading the plastic injection molding and manufacturing industry for decades. 

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Topics: custom injection molding, injection mold building