Injection molding is the most common plastic molding process and is used to create a wide variety of complex parts of different size and shape. Whether it’s an overcap for a water bottle or a vinyl window part being manufactured, injection molding is efficient and economical, especially if high volumes of parts are being produced.
Manufacturing plastic injection molded components in-house as part of a customer’s end product can prove to be a major challenge from an efficiency, quality and cost perspective. Over the years, Rodon has garnered many of our largest customers who were doing their best to manufacture their injection molded components in-house, but found the process to be problematic and inefficient.
Producing plastic components of high-quality at a competitive cost is a constant challenge. Very often, the process proves to be more complicated and involved than most OEM’s think. They often make a decision to save money by doing their molding in-house and soon discover that the “inexpensive” small plastic part takes quite an investment in infrastructure to do it right.
A common question for those looking to source plastic injection molder is “How much will a plastic injection mold cost?” It makes sense. The actual mold represents the greatest expense in upfront production costs. And, there are many factors that go into determining the cost. With any custom injection molding project, your injection molder should be able to give you the final price tag. In this article, we will review the variables that can impact the cost so that you can be better informed when making a mold purchasing decision.
The merits of having a mold built in the United States
The Rodon Group has been in this business long enough to have worked with, or attempted to work with, molds that were created in Asia (more specifically, China). Many of these molds are not built to meet strict tolerances, since they don’t have to be. As labor costs rise in China, this no longer becomes an affordable manufacturing process. In addition, molds made in other countries are made from lesser quality steel or from aluminum. Again, this causes quality issues and shortens the life of the mold. Most high-production molders in this country use only the best steel available for the mold base and cavities. They utilize the latest technology in CNC machining and have seasoned tool makers who know how to create molds that meet the highest performance standards. When sourcing companies, be sure to look for U.S. based manufacturers.
Earlier last year, we discussed 3D printing. Though it has been around for quite a while, the new printing technique has only been a player in the public consciousness for about five years.
In that time, the public’s perception of what 3D printing can do has eclipsed the process’ actual capabilities. And with more recognition come more inquiries — everybody wants to explore 3D printing as an option for their next project, and are eager to want to move on from more traditional methods, such as injection molding.
3D Printing and Injection Molding
The two processes are similar — they both primarily produce parts and components from plastic, and they are both capable of high degrees of geometric complexity. However, there are important differences as well.
One of the more appealing aspects of 3D printing is the absence of steep initial costs. Because of its need for specially tooled dies, the creation of which is an expensive process, injection molding requires considerable initial costs. Though imposing at first, these startup costs are amortized over the lifespan of the die and the production run — in large volume injection molding projects, the startup costs are amortized over more individual parts, leading to a relatively low per-part cost.
Manufacturing plastic injection molded components in-house as part of an end product can prove to be a major challenge from an efficiency, quality and cost perspective. Over the years, Rodon has garnered many of our largest customers who were doing their best to manufacture their injection molded components in-house but found the process to be problematic and inefficient.
The Rodon Group was very busy this past year providing information to help companies make better decisions about their plastic manufacturing. With close to 100 articles in 2015, we covered a lot of territory. We thought we would take a moment to highlight our favorites posts and the posts that got the greatest response from our readers. We hope you find these helpful, informational and even entertaining.
A common question for designers and engineers is “How much will a plastic injection mold cost?” It makes sense. Injection molds represent the greatest expense in upfront production costs. And, there are many factors that go into determining the cost. With any custom injection molding project, your injection molder will be able to give you the final price tag.
In this article, we will review the variables that can impact the cost so that you can be better informed in making a mold purchasing decision.
Over the past 40 years, U.S. manufacturing has been off-shored to places like China and India. In 1965, manufacturing comprised 53 percent of the economy. By the end of the 1980’s, it had shrunk to a 39% share. By the first decade of the 21st century, manufacturing fell into the single digits at 9%.
In the 1900s, the United States was booming. Companies set up shop on American soil and hired well-educated, motivated American workers to manufacture and sell their products. More recently, free trade and an ever-globalizing economy have encouraged American businesses to move their manufacturing facilities overseas, where they can employ less expensive labor with fewer regulations and ultimately sell their products to the end consumer at a lower price. At first glance, lower prices appear to be a good thing, a way of getting more products into the hands of more people more rapidly. However, a closer look reveals there are still many benefits of manufacturing in the U.S. vs. overseas.
Next week, we will launch our new eBook “An Introduction to Plastic Injection Molding.” This resource guide contains information (more than 40 pages) to help designers, engineers and purchasing professionals navigate the world of plastic injection molding. Our goal is to make our customers more knowledgeable about what goes into making a plastic part. It is written to provide a basic understanding of the presses, the processes and the cost factors involved in manufacturing.