On September 28, 2020, the world reached the sad and sobering milestone of 1 million deaths caused by COVID-19. In the three ensuing months, approximately 625,000 more deaths were added to the tally, and the nearly 73 million active cases around the global are added to daily — and at astounding rates.1
The pandemic has populations scared and experts stymied as to how to manage and eventually eradicate the virus. For obvious reasons the medical and healthcare industries are leading the charge in terms of innovation, with antimicrobial resins and antimicrobial polymers playing major roles in effective solutions.
A surprising number of projects are completed without using a prototype tool. The general idea is that prototype tooling is an extra, unnecessary step that increases cost and decreases development and production times.
Actually, the opposite is true. Custom injection molding done without a prototype tool typically leads to a series of required production tool adjustments that are both costly and disruptive. The perceived savings of skipping prototype tooling quickly evaporate, and the higher risk of part defect introduces the possibility of incurring legal expenses and other related costs.
Depending on the complexity of the application, prototype tooling generally accounts for about 20-40% of overall production tooling costs. It's not an insignificant investment, but one that's well worth it when you consider the advantages.
When it comes to injection molding partners, OEMs have two options: commodity or custom. In essence, the choice is that of pared-down services or comprehensive problem-solving. Both approaches have their merits, and the application often drives the decision.
However, if framed as a value-add for an OEM beyond immediate project need, custom injection molders often win the day. Their advanced capabilities and in-house services streamline supply chains — a quality and cost management win for OEMs — but there’s more. When a sophisticated process like plastic injection molding assembly is called for, custom injection molders are instrumental in buying down risk.
Insert molding is one of several injection molding processes that can provide effective solutions for a wide range of design and production needs.
Whether insert molding or another multi-material injection molding technique, such as overmolding, is the best option for you depends on factors including the component’s application, design, materials, and complexity. These factors have implications for consistency in molding across all injection molding processes.
The consumer market is demanding. The need for and availability of products is largely predicated on economies wherein consumer purchase confidence can be fickle. It leaves consumer market OEMs to balance product quality, performance, and cost to remain competitive.
It also compels them to be purposeful in creating and maintaining their supply chain. Suppliers that have proven proficiencies across a range of needs provide a stable framework upon which an OEM can build a versatile — and valuable — partnership.
The escalation of political, trade, and pandemic-related tensions have called manufacturers and their suppliers into question. Some supply chains are snapping under the strain, and OEMs are left to find answers for — and rectify — costly failures.
Nearly half of respondents to a recent Thomas Industrial poll placed “Fabricated Materials (machined, stamped, extruded, or molded material)” at the top of the list of things needed for supply chain stabilization and consistent production.1 With that comes close scrutiny of custom injection molding companies when OEMs are streamlining suppliers.
International trade tensions and pandemic-related developments have brought heightened awareness to reshoring. US-China decoupling has American manufacturers reviewing all of their overseas relationships, and 69% of respondents to a recent Thomas Industrial survey indicated they “are likely to bring manufacturing production and sourcing back to North America.”1
Given the unstable political and public health environments, it’s hardly a surprise that the majority of American companies in the manufacturing and industrial sectors are considering decoupling. In fact, about one-third of company leadership teams have already moved manufacturing out of China, or have action plans in place to do so within the next two to three years.1
Injection molding tooling is at the heart of injection molding. Whether it’s a complex application or simple part, plastic injection tooling – more specifically, tooling design – determines the quality of the injection molding process and the parts produced.
Medical device design engineers often make allowances for the impact that the molding process has on plastic part manufacturability. They carefully consider a variety of design factors like the materials chosen, the part shape and features, surface finish, and the properties of the tool itself. So, why involve an injection molder early in the medical device development phase?
Involving an experienced injection molder early in the design process safeguards against adverse outcomes that a designer may not have anticipated.