One of the most common questions we receive at Midstate Mold & Engineering is, “How much will a plastic injection mold cost?” Determining the cost of a mold is typically a main priority; the mold being one of the greatest upfront production costs. This article reviews a few factors that determine the cost of a mold.
Factors That Affect the Cost of a Mold
Depending on the drawings, prototypes, and sample parts, the costs can vary greatly. Designers and engineers need to examine these features and determine the best molding solution. Extensive research can lead to the redesign of a part to maximize manufacturing efficiency, which helps to increase the number of parts that can be made with each molding cycle.
The cost of the base is estimated from the size of the mold, the type of steel used to make the base, and if customization is required. The mold base holds all the mold cavities, inserts and components together that normally come in standard sizes, but can be machined to meet the requirements of a specific design.
Number of Cavities
Fewer cavities in a mold require less tooling work time and less cost. The more cavities a mold has requires more tooling work and time because of the complex designs. Makes sense. Experience molders will be able to maximize cavitation for optimal productivity. Only one part should be used per mold, multi-part “family” molds often cause more process issues, but can save money on tooling.
The Core Metal
Some mold makers will use molds made from aluminum if the production run is shorter and if the mold will be for short-term use. Midstate prefers P20 steel instead of aluminum in this case, the process is much better. If a project requires a mold to last for several years, the aluminum mold may cost more in the long-run, and in this case stainless steel could be the best choice.
Machining of the Core/Cavity
Every mold requires customization for placement of cores, cooling lines, ejectors, cavities, and many other components. The steel in the tool will also affect costs; hardened steel molds offer the longest product life and are more expensive to machine.
Complexity of the Part
Like the number of cavities, complexity will also determine the cost. The part complexity includes the surface finish of a final part or the number of undercuts (any indentation or protrusion in a shape that prevents the part from being directly ejected from an injection molding machine).
When tracking a company for your next project, sourcing U.S. based manufacturers and materials will ensure the highest quality. Most high-production U.S. molders will only use top-notch materials that work with leading-edge CNC machines to meet strict performance standards.
One of the main advantages of working with an offshore company were the cost savings. That’s why at Midstate, we do offer lower-cost offshore tool production if it suit’s the customer’s needs best. However, to ensure a smooth process from prototype to finished product by one single company, we propose to create the molds under our direction.
After reviewing some of the factors that determine the cost of a mold, it may appear to be a daunting experience. However, working with a reputable manufacturer with a long history of mold making in diverse fields, Midstate Mold & Engineering can make this a relatively simple process. Contact our experts so we can provide extensive information on your next project.