Injection molding is a great option for your next project, but how to go about getting the best bang for your buck is debatable. We’ve been molding for years with success, and we have 5 tips that we’ve learned over the years that will help you make your next project more cost effective.
Tip #1: Use the best material for the application
This tip seems straight forward, but we’ve seen it before that a project has a resin chosen that is just OK for the application. There are thousands of resins available, and many of them will be close to what you need for the designed properties. Color addition, weight, structural integrity, flexibility, heat and chemical resistance are all discussion points to help designate the perfect resin to ensure your project meets your design criteria.
Tip #2: Reduce or consolidate your processes
Injection molding may just be one part of your complete project. It’s best to reduce the steps needed to make a product and consolidate where you can. The injection molding process has a few tricks that will help make it more cost effective, such as larger production runs, reducing color variations, and adding automaton where it makes the most positive impact. Larger runs reduce set-up costs. If you only need a certain amount of parts in a time period, it may be more cost effective to run multiple months of inventory at a time and save the frequent set-up fees to spend elsewhere. Reducing color variations may add value because it will not require wasting material purging for a new color. You don’t need to change the mold from the machine, just cycle the color out completely. Purges add up over time, and if one color can be used all the time, it keeps the cost minimized. Lastly for molding, adding automation may offer additional savings to the end product. Automation removing the parts from the injection molding machine, to move to an assembly or work area, or to package for later use may reduce handling costs associate with human workers. There may be additional processes further down the line like adding labels, heat stamping, or assembly. Doing as much as possible at each workstation may reduce the tooling costs. All of these suggestions may or may not offer the best solution for your product, but may help generate ideas for reduced or minimized costs.
Tip #3: Choose the best turnkey partner for your project
Choosing your resin is finding the best properties for your project. What will perform the best in the environment is will be in, and also what is the best cost alternative. There are a lot of items to cover, and choosing your turnkey business partner is no less important. Your project may need labeling, heat stamping, assembly, molding, and shipping to get to market. You could find the lowest cost alternative to each after days of researching, or you could find one source that can do it all for the right price. In this case, the right price may not be the exact lowest option for each category. It may be the best overall option for customer service, experience, and ability to change direction if the market adjusts demand. You may find that the best partners also offer certifications in new potential markets, such as military suppliers and ISO certification that can open up potential avenues for the future.
Tip #4: Optimize your production mold
Optimizing your mold to reduce cost takes development and knowledge. SEA-LECT Plastics offers years of experience designing and optimizing molds for reduced costs with maximum performance. One thing you would expect from an optimized mold would be reduced wall thickness where applicable. This reduction will save a small amount of material in each shot with the mold, which will add up to savings over time. Another option to reduce costs will be to make as many parts as possible in one shot without sacrificing quality and consistency. This will reduce the run length to mold a number of parts, and that can also reduce manpower requirements. Inside the mold, efficiency is also critical for reducing movements, moving parts, and time. An optimized mold will have the fewest moving parts needed, will eject parts easily, and reduce the time requirements between shots. Time is money, and efficiency reduces cost with each shot made.
Tip #5: Optimize the product design
With the best resin chosen, and an optimized mold for flawless production, that leaves the product itself as the last frontier to making it the best product and process available. The product itself should be verified for efficiency and designed for manufacturing. That means sharp corners in the design that aren’t required should be radiused to better the mold fill rate and increase strength. Wall thicknesses should be optimized to meet the design strength and durability without causing molding issues. The surface finish of the finished product can also a benefit to ejecting parts from the mold, reduce defects during molding, and offer a more pleasing visual assembly to your consumer.
Cost is always a concern in manufacturing, but choosing the best product partner should be of equal concern, if not more. The best partner will be able to offer you advice of how to bring your new product to market in the lowest cost and shortest time.
When you’re ready to work with an elite team that produces world-class products, call us (425) 339-0288 or email us at email@example.com. We can offer you advice on the best technology to use, the best materials to meet your product demands, and how to navigate through each development stage with ease.