Uncover Eight Ways to Reduce Your Injection Mold Cost
Every business can benefit by reducing manufacturing costs. For large-scale production, manufacturers will find the cost of injection molding lower than that of 3D printing or CNC machining. At the same time, injection molding services also offer flexible options for limited runs for prototypes.
Most of all, making the right design choices can significantly reduce an injection mold cost. In fact, many design improvements do not only lower costs — they also result in higher quality products and faster results.
Trimming expenses while producing high-quality, efficient products means understanding both the capabilities and limitations of the injection molding machine and materials used. With that in mind, consider eight ways to either lower the cost of injection molding or to use better injection molding techniques to reduce overall production costs and develop better products.
1. Have a Mold Flow Analysis Done Before Using an Injection Molding Machine
Few things can increase the injection mold cost more than finding problems with the mold design after using the injection molding machine. A mold-flow analysis uses specialized software to simulate the molding process, including the mold design and the particular plastic formula intended for use.
This digital prototype can demonstrate critical product properties in the finished product. These include potential air bubbles or shear stress. Because they have taken steps to identify potential problems, businesses have the chance to improve their design before they spend money on molds or products.
2. Reduce the Cost of Injection Molding by Planning for Mold Mods
Mold developers have a much easier time removing metal than adding it. Thus, a metal-safe design plan relies upon sometimes removing metal but never adding it back in. This matters because injection molds often undergo several iterations before producing the perfect final product.
As an example, consider a typical prototyping process:
- First, designers can begin working with the smallest and most basic design.
- After approving the first iteration, they can remove metal in the mold to add more features or make the part larger.
Because the company will not need to buy a new mold for every iteration of their design, they can save a considerable amount of money and even speed up their design process.
3. Consider Designing Self-Mating Parts to Reduce the Injection Mold Cost
Sometimes, the same piece can function as both parts of a product. As an example, consider the design of a container with a top and bottom that snap together. Instead of developing two distinct pieces, one part that can connect to the other from either direction might serve the same purpose.
Instead of producing two distinct molds, the top and bottom can come from the same mold. Rather than sending half as many of each part to the injection molding machine, it is more efficient and cheaper to simply produce twice as many of the same part.
4. Remove or Simplify Non-Essential Features
Molding in logos, textures, and other features may help make products look unique and help with branding. On the other hand, including each extra touch to a mold will with accumulate additional charges that increase the cost of injection molding.
Sometimes, compliance with regulations or other product requirements makes molding essential. Some sensible design practices can still minimize extra costs. As an example, some mil-friendly fonts for numbers or letters include Arial and Verdana. Also, try to keep the fonts at least 20 pt. and no deeper than .015-inch cuts.
5. Minimize or Eliminate Cosmetic Details
As with non-essential features, cosmetics may improve appearance and help with branding. Each organization needs to decide if the potential benefits outweigh extra costs.
For some examples:
- Fine finishes will involve at least some manual polishing work.
- Also, polishing a larger area will cost more than attending to a smaller one.
6. Look Into Overmolding to Save Manual Labor on Parts
Obviously, simpler designs cost less than more complex one. On the other hand, adding extra features may cost more but save money in the long run.
Take the example of having to add in gaskets to form a seal. The businesses might pay more for injection molding to include the overmolding that adds in the gasket. At the same time, this feature may save overpaying for the labor to have the piece manually added in later. In this case, paying somewhat more for a more feature-rich injection mold can still provide a more budget-friendly option for the entire production process.
7. Consider Multi-Cavity Molds as Another Option to Spare Manual Labor
For some products, separate components may have traditionally been produced independently and fitted together later. Sometimes, it is more sensible to produce some or all these components as one solid piece. That way, they will not need to get screwed or glued together later. Very often, this solution can also produce a more durable finished product.
As another example, it is sometimes possible to mold two parts of a container together and have them joined with a molded hinge. This can reduce or eliminate the labor needed to fasten them together manually later.
8. Choose the Best Injection Mold Service Plan
Choosing the right service option can greatly impact both costs and production efficiency.
For instance, a good service plan for prototyping will cost less overall but more for each part produced. Prototyping plans may also impose charges for such extras as inspection reports and impose other limitations.
In contrast, businesses should expect to pay more for production-ready injection molding but less per each part produced. These plans also include should include reports, longer storage, and more flexible options.
How to Benefit the Most From Injection Molding
Obviously, a lean design will generally reduce costs. At the same time, businesses should consider investing in features that may help reduce manual labor or improve quality. A trusted partner will help clients achieve the best balance.