Plastic injection molding automation is a staple for custom injection molders, and with good reason. The speed and precision automation lends to producing extremely complex injection-molded parts is unparalleled. Automation also helps realize cost efficiencies by eliminating humans — and the related potential for error — from the process.
With so many benefits, it’s easy to understand why plastic injection molding automation is appealing to OEM and molder alike. What makes it even more valuable is when a custom injection molder has an in-house automation team available to develop creative turnkey solutions to even the toughest customer challenges.
Confusion about which plastics align with a particular application can cause uncertainty about if and when to use custom injection molding. As a result, OEMs may not take advantage of how plastics benefit product design.
“Thermoplastic” and “thermoset” sound similar and both plastics categories offer choices appropriate for complex applications in a range of markets. However, it's the properties and processing behaviors of the materials within the categories that ultimately reveals the best choice for your injection molding project.
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.
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.
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.
How expensive is injection molding? It's a common question, and it's also deceptively simple. Any injection molder can quote you a price. Since you expect to pay for the service, it's not necessarily a matter of understanding if or even how much you'll invest injection molding.
Rather, knowing when to strategically invest in the process is key in managing the cost of injection molding to achieve exceptional outcomes.
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.