It’s important to understand that the quality of the end product of injection molding – the plastic part – is a product of three major things: the plastics used in the injection process, the injection machines themselves, and the tool that casts the injected plastic into the final part. While all play a critical role, many of the issues that can arise from the project can be traced back to the molding tool. Time, cost, and the location where your tool is made can all affect the end product, which in turn can affect your end product. Learn what it takes to build the best plastic injection molding tool.
Part One: Reviewing the Product
The goal of manufacturing your product is taking your prototype and producing the strongest and most cost-effective manufacturable version. This should ideally start as early in the process as possible, reaching out and contacting a tooling company to help with prototype development. Starting this early in the design process can help your company understand the strength and limitations of plastic injection molding and advise any modifications that should be made to the product, so the best parts can be produced for you. Learn more about the importance of “moldability” in our blog, When Should You Talk to Your Tool Designer.
Part Two: Designing the Molding Tool
Once you’ve worked out what the part or parts should be, it’s time for the tool designer to go to work and create the mold. What the mold will look like and what the cost will be is determined by a number of factors, such as:
- Part Size: The size of the part or multiple parts in the single mold will impact the size, which in turn impacts the cost, machines it can be used with, and cost per part.
- Part Complexity: Complex parts may require multiple cavities, complex cavities, or additional processes such as two-shot or overmolding.
- Number of Cavities: More cavities can save on the number of tools that need to be created, but can require more complicated presses or post-production processing.
- Mold Metal: Molds can be made of various types of metal. While hardened steel costs more with more expensive molding, a cheaper and easier-to-use metal like aluminum might wear out after a shorter production run.
Note these aren’t the only factors at play, and you should consult with your mold designer to understand all the factors that come into play with the cost of creating the mold and the needed maintenance for the part. See the blog, What Factors Determine the Cost of a Mold?, for more details.
Part Three: The Tooling Process
Once the design is finalized, it’s time for the creation of the tool. This is often made by the tool designer, but check with them to see if they offer offshore tooling as well. While we provide such an option, it’s important to talk to the designer and understand the benefits and drawbacks of offshore tooling. Regardless, during the creation process the tool is built to the specification of the design and then tested – either at the tooling facility or at the parts manufacturer.
Here at Midstate Mold, we pride ourselves on comprehensive mold making from assisting in prototype development, tooling design, tool construction and testing, parts production, and parts maintenance. Contact us today to get started on making your plastic injection molding tool a reality.