(Updated June 2019)
Injection molding is a long-term investment and to ensure your product meets your specifications a fair bit of work prior to the actual mold fabrication is required. Partnering with an injection molding supplier that can handle all aspects of the launch is critical to the overall success and speed to market of the product.
A proper analysis of your parts design and manufacturability upfront will save you costly changes and inefficiencies once you're well into the tool trial and production phase. Most of our customers don’t have the proper analysis technology in-house so they turn to our engineering department for a full review and report based on the current state of the design. Sometimes, small changes to the parts geometry requirements can produce significant reduction in future headaches. Without having a supplier who can properly analyze it, the customer is stuck with opinion-based decisions instead of using technology and data to be more certain.
At Crescent, we complete a full DFM (design for manufacturability) analysis utilizing our Sigma Soft mold-fill simulation software. By doing this, we can support our decisions with data in the following areas of;
- Optimal gate location & uniform wall thickness
- Proper rib locations for minimal “read through” on the surface and proper structural support
- Cross sections identifying areas of slow cooling time and visual defects
- Cooling line locations for efficient mold cycles, and much more.
3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing)
Taking your design part and having a working sample with 3D printing (additive manufacturing) isn’t new technology, but are your current injection molding suppliers able to do this all in-house? We have invested into the best equipment and resources to give our customers functional samples quickly and test out the design changes required to improve manufacturability. Reduce your supply chain and find an injection molding supplier who already has the equipment in house to react quickly to requests, instead of outsourcing to another supplier.
The management of your product launch has a lot of moving parts, required approvals and tasks that must be completed before you can begin production. This starts with the initial design review, through mold making, onto qualification and into the first approved production run. With multiple departments working in unison to make an efficient speed-to-market, there has to be a leader making sure everything getting done.
Our PMO (program management office) manages the entire scope of your project, timeline & cost management, material selection, design & development and overall integration with your team.
Our team is made up of departmental pros that contribute to all aspects of your project collaborating together and executing your product launch. In addition, we have dedicated R&D injection molding machines to aid in initial sampling and validation to accelerate all phases of your project and transition into full production.
Design & Mold Fabrication
After completing a proper DFM (design for manufacturability) analysis, you can now move into the design and fabrication phase of the tool. Choosing an injection molding supplier with an in-house toolroom is not as common as it used to be. A lot of injection molding companies removed their full in-house tool room due to the costly overhead and now are only outsourcing their tool building. This adds additional time and money to your project, try to avoid if possible.
At Crescent we’ve stayed committed to our foundation and continuously update our tool room equipment and technology. With everything from the original design through the final mold building steps done in-house, we have more control over the process and efficiency of the build.
Regardless if your injection molding supplier has an in-house tool room or if they’re outsourcing, review the mold design carefully and make sure that everything is explained in detail from the supplier.
Quality and Validation
What are your quality requirements and what certifications do you need throughout the life cycle of your product or products? There aren’t too many more painful moments than having a supplier that doesn’t have all of the certifications once you’re well into production. Try and think about the other departments within your company or future direction of your company, should your supplier have more than just a basic ISO 9001:2015? Will you ever need clean room molding or ITAR compliance with your products?
From the ISIR (initial sample inspection report) through full PPAP (production part approval process), your product measurement specifications and CTQ (critical to quality) dimensions need to be fully reviewed and analyzed by your internal team and supplier. Improper validation will result in higher production scrap, a non-robust process and potential product failures in the field. Make sure that your injection molding supplier understands all of the requirements around your products functionality and provide them with any mating parts for form/fit/function testing in the early stages.
Life Cycle Management & Value Add
Getting to the product stage of a product launch is one of the most exciting moments, all of the process you went through above were well worth it! Often, we’ve had customers come to Crescent Industries because the supplier they original chose can’t handle the full life cycle of their product. Key points to evaluate:
- Does your supplier have all of the current and future quality certifications?
- Can your supplier handle your volume efficiently (either short run or lengthy production with over 1 million pc/year)?
- Is your supplier willing to invest into equipment to support your product?
- Can your supplier do more than just mold the part for you?
Think with the end in mind, even though we’re at the last stages this is often the most important. If you’ve answered No to the questions above, then it’s time to re-evaluate your supplier which is hopefully before you’ve kicked them off. Your needs will evolve as your product reaches full market potential, to get more in-depth we wrote an entire article about life cycle management.
Even though you might only be looking for someone to complete an injection molding project, your supplier should be able to provide more than just “shoot and ship”. Evaluate opportunities for additional value-added assembly, kitting, or secondary operations that can provide you with a more complete product. We have a full suite of secondary value add services that can give you an idea of what’s capable (click here).
Crescent Industries – Leaders In Injection Molding Supply Chain
Crescent Industries has been delivering custom injection molded components and devices for decades. We help focus to define the scope of the project and maintain the standards set for your injection mold building project.
For additional information, please click below to get our white paper "Tips to Assist You in Selecting an Injection Molding Partner".