Several industrial sectors are converting metal components to plastic to gain efficiencies in cost, weight, performance, aesthetics, and durability. While these are compelling reasons to consider plastic versus metal, the process isn’t necessarily right for all industrial applications.
A comprehensive feasibility analysis can help you determine if your project is suitable for metal-to-plastic conversion by evaluating it from three fundamental perspectives: design, manufacturability, and return on investment.
With a stunning 75% of automotive manufacturers reporting business interruption caused by the COVID-19 shutdown of non-essential businesses, many are taking a hard look at the impact of supply chain globalization1. More specifically, automotive OEMs are either proactively reshoring or planning to reshore to protect their supply chains — and businesses — from the political and economic fallout created by the pandemic.
Manufacturing processes can be susceptible to inefficiencies. Continuous improvement practices counteract these shortcomings by proactively identifying and eliminating them, thereby improving process and part quality. In turn, quality parts perform better, longer which is a win-win for the injection molder and OEM.
Custom injection molding projects are, by nature, an expensive undertaking. Part development and tooling design/build often account for the majority of the budget, particularly in the case of intricate components. The consistency, quality, and cost of the part produced largely hinge on optimizing these two aspects of the project. Missteps can lead to expensive setbacks, product defects, and lower profits.
Complex medical applications require devices and equipment that are protected from dust, chemical vapors, aerosol particles, airborne microbes and other contaminants that could compromise product quality, integrity, and safety.
The relationship an OEM maintains with its injection molder is integral to successful production of complex plastic parts. Often the partnership remains a value-add across projects and time.
But, there are instances when alignment between OEM expectations and molder capabilities erodes either suddenly or incrementally. Regardless, the outcome is the same: it’s time for the OEM to shuffle suppliers and find a new injection molder.
Central to a new product development program (NPD) is the budget, and exploring economic efficiencies often leads to a debate between offshoring and reshoring.
In most instances, overseas costs are particularly attractive compared to domestic production of custom injection-molded components for consumer applications.
However, in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the world is functioning within a new normal. Bottom line decisions are no longer black-and-white as the pandemic complicates — and often upends — supply chains, adding project time and cost. Quickly, the offshore injection molding "bargain" becomes a candidate for reshoring.
On-time delivery (OTD). Suppliers are defined by it. Industrial buyers demand it. A recent study about supplier sourcing confirms it, reporting that "delivery performance" is the most important of six factors buyers consider when compiling supplier shortlists.
The focus on supplier OTD takes on added significance in light of the massive supply disruptions caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. How well or how poorly a supplier is navigating the crisis and meeting OTD expectations provides a glimpse into their grasp on materials handling and production processes.
Cycle time directly influences plastic part cost and capacities, so keeping it as low as possible is the overarching goal of engineers and project managers. When getting quotes from various injection molders for plastic parts, they may be confronted with divergent cycle time estimates, calling accuracy and the molder’s capabilities into question.