If you’re a manufacturer of products that use plastic parts (or metal parts that can be converted to plastic), it’s likely you’ve considered the injection molding quote process. Injection molders are known for their ability to help product engineers create efficiencies with getting products to market faster and under budget. They also vary in their ability to produce low to high volume parts in a variety of sizes.
Obtaining an injection molding quote is the first step in determining which injection molder is the best fit for your part and unique specifications. In order to streamline your process, consider these questions before requesting an accurate quote for your part design, development and production.
1. Do you have access to CAD drawings or samples of the part to be quoted?
Injection molders can form the most accurate quotes when they have a clear picture of the part they are being asked to make. Ideally, detailed dimensional drawings (CAD drawings), provide very clear information on the size and complexity of a part. Additionally, a sample or prototype can help an injection molder make discoveries early in the process that will maximize design tweaks and the overall manufacturability.
A sketch or concept is very different from a finished part. There are factors leading from design to manufacturing that are important to consider when moving your idea to reality. In fact, many manufacturers cite the design process as the most prevalent area to create cost and time efficiencies in the injection molding process. If you do not have access to CAD drawings or part samples that have been proven in the production process, it is important to choose an injection molder with significant design engineering experience and / or prototyping capabilities. Let them be a resource to make recommendations that will improve the performance of your part.
2. What does the end use of your part look like? Are there any chemical or environmental factors to consider?
Do you have a clear description of the intended use for your plastic part? Having a clear explanation of the intended use will help your injection molder determine the appropriate design tweaks, material and recommendations for part improvements. The information you provide also offers a picture of the wear and tear a part will be exposed to over time and any environmental factors that may contribute to a part breaking down.
3. What quantity is needed?
Quantity projection is an important factor for many injection molders because it may determine if they can, or are willing to run your part. Most injection molders categorize their business as low volume or high volume. Low volume typically constitutes production runs under 10,000 parts, where high volume may include runs over 750,000 parts.
For shorter production runs, aluminum molds might be recommended. However, if your project will require large quantities over time or multiple runs over time, a hardened steel mold would be the best choice. While the upfront cost of hardened steel is greater, it will produce more consistent, higher quality parts – as well as pay for itself over the life of the tool.
4. What is the size and complexity of the part?
Simply put, more intricate part designs require elaborate mold designs, which generally increase the tool cost. Simple part designs require less complexity in the mold design, lowering the cost of the tool. Working with a knowledgeable injection molder with design engineer capabilities and resources early in your production process will help you find efficiencies across every stage of your project.
Also, understanding the size of your part will help your injection molder determine material quantity estimations.
5. What type of material or resin is required for your part?
There are many part design factors that help determine the best material that will drive the cost, function, versatility and production of your parts. Having a basic understanding of materials available and how they react to the environment your part will be exposed can help give you a starting reference point. Your injection molder should offer a detailed explanation of the materials or resins that best suit the unique needs and cost requirements for your production part.
While you don’t need to know all the ins and outs regarding the design, development, tool transfer and production process prior to obtaining a quote for an injection molded part – it’s always good to be prepared with the details related to your specific part’s needs. There’s no doubt that supplying this information to your injection molder will be valuable in every step of the process. Preparing your answers to these five questions will help you be prepared to establish a beneficial relationship with your injection molder.