An estimated 80% of a project’s costs are determined within the design phase.1 For injection molded parts, tooling often consumes a good share of the budget and decision-making, but it’s not the only consideration.
Value-added services (also known as secondary operations) are essential and sometimes overlooked during design because of their injection molding post-processing status. However, identifying the proper value-added services early in the project timeline can help eliminate injection molding defects that could ultimately lead to costly fixes.
On the whole, the global plastics market value topped out just shy of $580 billion in 2020. Of that revenue, the injection molding application segment held the largest share at just over 43%1 — a strong indicator of how plastics are fast becoming manufacturers' primary solutions to weight, sustainability, and compliance challenges.
But, injection-molded components are only reliable solutions if they perform to the expectations of industries that increasingly depend on plastics such as the automotive, electronics/electrical, and construction sectors. Performance is largely dictated by the resin chosen for a specific injection-molded part, but which material is the right one?
For an accurate answer, manufacturers turn to Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of plastic components and custom injection molders experienced in all aspects of testing.
There’s no denying that pandemic-related, weather-influenced, and manmade disruptions have caused chaos within the plastics industry. For OEMs, finding injection molding solutions during these turbulent times is problematic. Finding knowledgeable molders to take on complicated design, engineering, injection molding, and other challenges that less skilled molders can’t handle is equally as difficult.
When it comes to designing and launching a new injection-molded part, design engineers can always count on:
- The design drives part performance
- If something goes wrong with the part, the design is the first place to look for answers
- The importance of part design increases considerably with tight tolerance injection molding
No pressure, right?
OEMs across many industries can attest to the benefits of plastic injection molding. It’s ideal for consistent, affordable production of a wide range of high-quality complex plastic parts that can withstand about any environment.
That’s reason enough to rank injection molding high on the list of go-to solutions, but there’s more. To better understand how and why manufacturers use the process, let’s take a look at the individual merits of the top 14 benefits of plastic injection molding (listed in no particular order):
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.
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.
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.