Almost nothing impacts the quality of the final injection molded product as the tool itself. That said, the pressure is on when it comes to securing a tooling quote. And here’s the trick: there is no trick. It’s all about information and reliance on those with expertise in the matter. It’s why we developed a whitepaper about it, which you can download now. Meanwhile, here are five tips to help get tooling quotes right.
Vet the appropriate cavitation
Engineers can design one- or multi-cavity molds, keeping in mind the trade-offs. Fewer cavities results in higher part costs, but the total cost is less and maintenance is easier. Multiple cavities equate to more expense, but it can also speed production. A host of factors influence the decision, such as the annual volume of the program and so on. Make sure the molder is more than willing to thoroughly discuss recommendations to help reach the right decision.
Get a handle on the materials used for the tool itself
It’s important to think about the materials the tool is built with since steel types vary. Start by considering what you want out of the tool. Think through the materials being molded and the length of the run. Consider other factors, including part tolerances. Importantly, ensure the mold maker is on the same page as you since tool materials will ultimately impact cost. In the end, you might save money – as long as it doesn’t sacrifice other key objectives tied to the run.
Understand the molder’s choices for the gate/runner system
If it’s fuzzy, get clarity on why the molder chose the gate/runner system the tooling quote is based on. It’s complex and it impacts everything from speed to market to product quality. Take the guessing out of it by understanding how and why the molder decided which gate/runner system is best.
Never assume anything
It’s an old saying, but it certainly applies when it comes to the need to avoid quality issues and minimize maintenance. For example, it might not be a good idea for the part to simply eject out of the mold. If not, make it clear because it’s how the mold might be quoted. By the same token, injection molding can take a toll on a mold. Know what the molder and mold maker do to avoid potential issues and quickly resolve them to ensure on-time delivery and minimal repair costs.
Don’t get caught being pennywise
It might be cheaper to source a mold from a low-cost provider in another country, but what about shipping costs, mold quality, repairs and so on? The list goes on when it comes to factors that must be considered. Your best bet is to carefully weigh the options of a tool built domestically versus overseas.
Finally, there’s no substitute for working with a proven molder that excels at tool building with the expertise to design and manufacture highly engineered, tight-tolerance, plastic injection-molded components.
If it seems like there’s a lot to comparing tooling quotes, you're right. In fact, we’ve only just scratched the surface.
Click below to download our whitepaper on this topic, so you can make an apples-to-apples comparison and come out ahead.