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Injection molds are a necessary and typically expensive part of any critical use plastic component project. Oftentimes, protecting this considerable tooling investment is overlooked until the mold breaks down or experiences another serious problem that bottoms out the bottom line. With good reason—emergency repair expenses on top of the time, productivity and product lost can be staggering.
Almost nothing impacts the quality of the final injection molded product as the tool itself. That said, the pressure is on when it comes to securing a tooling quote. And here’s the trick: there is no trick. It’s all about information and reliance on those with expertise in the matter. It’s why we developed a whitepaper about it, which you can download now. Meanwhile, here are five tips to help get tooling quotes right.
A surprising number of projects are completed without using a prototype mold—the general idea being that a prototype mold is just an extra step that slows down overall development and production adding unncessary cost. Actually, just the opposite is true—without a prototype mold, a lot of adjustments are usually required on the production tool, driving up cost which in turn causes delays in production.
Injection molders typically rely on outside mold builders to custom-build molds for their clients. Molds rarely arrive with perfect dimensions; typically, after the mold is received, checked out, and tested, adjustments need to be made to the mold to assure all design specifications are met. For most injection molders, this requires sending the mold out for those final adjustments, which burns up a lot of valuable time. Kaysun, however, has the ability make these adjustments in-house and “fine tune” molds after initial sampling to modify the mold core/cavity geometry and achieve the desired dimensions.
There isn’t a whole lot that injection molders can do to speed up how long it takes to receive hard tooling. While they wait, however, they can take a number of key steps to streamline the product development process, up to and following the completion of the actual injection mold—saving up to a week or longer in lead time.
Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) is a symbolic language that is used on engineering drawings and computer-generated models to communicate geometric dimensions and allowable tolerance for various parts. Not only is this a useful exercise for product design, it’s also helpful on the manufacturing floor because engineers and operators can quickly see the degree of tolerance that is required for each part.
While the injection molding process is a mainstay for many industries, it isn’t static. Molders are continually challenged with evolving their knowledge and use of emerging tooling technologies, materials and trends to make products that are competitively advantageous and profitable for manufacturers.
There are several options for prototyping your designs—the one you choose really depends on what you expect to accomplish with the prototype. For example, is the prototype just for show or will it be subjected to some testing? The most common prototyping options are SLA/SLS, urethane cast, soft tooling, and hard tooling. But which is right for your component? Read on to discover the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Success in the injection molding business isn’t just about having the right equipment or the latest technologies. This is a good start, of course—but to completely meet the ever-evolving needs of clients who make complex products under challenging time and cost constraints, injection molders must have top tool makers in their supply chains that embrace the same vision of manufacturing excellence and customer service.
Injection molders and their tool makers must be rock-solid partners that are committed to the same beliefs about how to conduct business. Core to this philosophy is that tool makers must treat the injection molder’s clients as their own.