You have an idea for a new product, but you don’t know exactly where to start. These ten important tips are things to consider when sending out request for quotes on your new injection molding project:
There are five classifications of mold guidelines used by the Plastic Industry Association (PIA) that were developed by the U.S. Society of Plastic Engineers (SPE). Depending on your projects details the application of the molding guidelines will be a significant determining factor on the cost for the mold itself. One key thing to consider with the mold will be the number of parts you intend to make. Volume is a determining factor for the tool for durability. In addition to the kept parts, there will be setup parts, trial parts injected during the building phase, and many more that are used for demonstrating the consistency of the molding tool. All of those add up over time.
There are thousands of plastics resins available, choosing the right one is critical for your parts application. You need to consider the purpose of the components and the combined product. Are they for abrasion resistance? High-impact applications? Contain a liquid, or anything else? Do they need inserts for fastening parts together or bosses molded in for sonic welding? All these details matter for selecting the best resin needed in your application.
Molded Part Surface Finish
Surface finish options for plastic injection molded parts can vary a great deal depending on the part and its material. Determining the best surface finish for a part requires communication between your design engineer and injection molding expert to achieve the desired appearance and performance of the finished part. Determining the surface finish will be critical for the success of your mold project. The finish might play a role in creating a more attractive part – or it will simply act as a functional component of the design.
Mold Flow & Analysis
Once you know the mold classification based on volume and what resin you plan to use, you can have your part/mold analyzed for the resin flow during injection. Sea-Lect Plastics includes the mold flow analysis in the design for manufacturing (DFM) step of your project.
The classification and application help to define the budget required for the mold. A higher amount of parts produced needs a more durable mold that can last over time. Inclusive of that, the design and application may drive more intricate features in the mold that take more labor to produce during development. Each of those have a general time to develop, and a rushed schedule may add cost.
Time to Build the Mold
The time to build the mold isn’t set in stone. At the beginning of the project, a general guideline for the schedule will be developed. This will be based around your stated needs, budget, and the personnel available. If you need the mold faster, expect to negotiate on a higher cost. Time is money as they say.
The detailed schedule for a project needs to be able to be managed efficiently and effectively. A well-oiled machine will have a visual schedule that can be read easily to know what is on schedule, what is behind, and what lies ahead to the end of the project. A Gantt chart is one way to manage the schedule, but it’s not the only way. Expect that a good tool production facility will be managed with detailed organization.
Having a current ISO certification doesn’t guarantee the tool shop is the best available, but it does signify they have the mindset for quality. The ISO certification proves they want to produce quality and will follow their standards to ensure a quality product is the end result. It is recommended to use a tool facility that has an ISO certification, as it gives you a direct correlation that they will produce a quality product.
Injection molding is part of the project. Secondary services may be what you need to have a world-class product assembled, packaged and delivered to your customers. A tool facility just makes tools, but what if you need assembly, extra processing, quality testing and inspection for your product? Having a one-stop-shop that will take the stress of a new project off your hands is an important consideration. Choose the right manufacturing facility for your project from beginning to end.
Quality of Workmanship
Last, but not least is the overall quality of workmanship. The actual tool is only a portion of the experience in building an injection molding tool. You should be able to ask questions, have open discussions on timing and budget, and feel comfortable at each step of the process. If you leave a discussion feeling uneasy, maybe it’s time to keep looking for a new partner. Successful partnerships are based on trust.
While these 10 key things to consider aren’t the only things to consider, keeping each as part of the discussion will keep you on track for completing the project as scheduled, at the agreed upon budget, and delivered as promised will lead to success for your new project. It all starts with your initial idea. For more information and a preliminary injection molding project evaluation, call 425-339-0288 or email us at email@example.com.