The quality of plastic components is, in part, determined by the injection molder you choose. Properly vetting new, different, or specialized vendors involves qualifying a pool of potential injection molding partners.
Manufacturers are always looking for practical ways to streamline product design, engineering and production, which leads many to supplier consolidation.
This is particularly true in the case of custom injection molding, where working with a single injection molding supplier that possesses the expertise and capabilities to meet your needs reduces development time and associated costs, improves logistics, and optimizes processes.
Quality is an important benchmark in all aspects of plastic injection molding, and rightfully so. Producing high-quality plastic parts is always the goal, but how often do you stop to consider what a supplier misstep, a materials mix-up, or a process miscalculation could do to the project overall?
Poor quality — in any form and to any degree — can have far-reaching impact. The solution is partnering with an experienced custom injection molder that can help you maintain standards that keep quality at the forefront of every project.
Custom injection molding is a go-to for OEMs across a range of industries because of design and engineering precision, production repeatability, and cost-effective solutions.
Injection molders understand that consistently delivering defect-free parts and products to these standards is a top priority and a true value-add to their OEM partnerships.
Quality assurance begins in the design phase. Engineers are faced with many decisions, but among the most important are those that impact the end of the injection molding process — what has to happen to ensure the plastic part ejects cleanly?
Managing the total cost of an industrial or consumer new product development (NPD) project lies in balancing the bottom line with needs.
While choosing a low-cost plastic injection molder seems like the path of least resistance (and least cost), this supplier may not take into account all long-term soft costs: designing for quality, speed to market, and risk reduction.
Successful custom injection molding requires process management that’s guided by expertise and precision timing. Tool and process engineers are front-and-center in the product and tool design phases, ultimately making decisions and guiding the steps necessary to ensure consistent and repeatable manufacturability of defect-free injection molded parts.
Insert molding is a process that requires an insert — typically metal — to be pre-placed in the tool for injected plastic to flow around. Encapsulating the insert with plastic creates a single molded plastic piece that’s generally stronger than one created using secondary assembly.
Insert molding can be accomplished through two methods:
- Manual insert loading: The generally more cost-effective way to approach very low-volume applications or extremely complex part geometries
- Automated insert molding: A better choice for part consistency. It minimizes human error, improves efficiencies, and ensures optimal cycle times.
Securing an insert in plastic requires precision and a thorough knowledge of how each individual substrate reacts to conditions during the injection molding process.
The impact of the widening skills gap is of ongoing concern for manufacturers. The 2018 Deloitte skills gap and future of work in manufacturing study reports that the average time to fill skilled production worker positions jumped from 70 days to 93 days between 2015 and 2018, surpassed only by finding engineers, researchers, and scientists which bounced from 94 days to 118 days over the same time period.
Since the type and characteristics of an injection molding machine influence project outcomes, you may think equipment selection is best left to the injection molder.
Undoubtedly a molder’s input is key in aligning projects and injection molding machines. However, familiarizing yourself with machine basics will help you make better design choices, more accurately forecast project costs and production times, and even guide you to the injection molding partner best equipped to meet your needs.