Custom injection molding is a viable solution for many projects, but there’s often hesitation in using it because of confusion about which material matches the job. While “thermoplastic” and “thermoset” sound similar and both are appropriate for a wide range of applications, the material properties of these two resin categories and how they behave during processing ultimately reveal the best choice for your injection molding project.
According to a recent study, about half of industrial buyers make decisions about adding suppliers in less than 30 days. In that time they vet an average of five suppliers, evaluating each on criteria including market presence, brand strength, and reputation. The most heavily weighted criterion, however, is delivery performance.
Some injection molders claim to provide custom services, but the industry lacks a clear definition of what “custom” really means — resulting in some manufacturers contracting with molders that are woefully unqualified to accurately produce highly specialized designs. Just because a molder can facilitate development of an original tool doesn’t constitute a truly custom service (or ensure a desirable outcome). Many of these molders are limited to producing simplistic designs and lack the ability to engineer complex plastic parts with precise specifications and tight tolerances.
A supply chain is a staple for any manufacturer, and the suppliers within it largely dictate production processes, costs, and profitability of the end product. This may explain why OEMs put a lot of time and effort into managing their supply chains — but is managing supplier relationships enough to remain competitive?
For companies that require tight-tolerance, critical-use plastic injection molding capabilities, it's important to partner with a supplier that can consistently deliver quality products and value-added services to support these solutions. When evaluating your list of potential full-service injection molders, however, you may ask yourself, "Do I want a partner that is specialized or diversified?"
From a supplier and customer viewpoint, there can be risks involved in choosing a specialized molder, and the guideline below explains why.
Total delivered cost (TDC) is the amount of money it takes for a company to manufacture and deliver a product. The definition sounds simple enough, yet all that TDC entails — sourcing raw materials, manufacturing bulk and intermediate products, finished goods packaging, inventory holding, transportation, distribution, and final delivery — reveals its complexity and considerable impact on the bottom line.
What does 2019 hold for the plastics industry? Several trends that emerged in 2018 continue to be refined and amplified heading into the new year:
With careful planning, complex injection molding can reduce costs, optimize functionality and improve aesthetics in medical devices.
The practice and purpose of qualifying a tool is at the very core of scientific molding. This critical step ensures consistent and repeatable production of flawless molded parts by having engineers push the tool relentlessly under realistic conditions (and sometimes beyond). Their goal is to identify and correct weaknesses before the tool is called into action.
Here’s a look at the basic step-by-step process of scientifically qualifying a tool: