Molding (or Moulding) is a manufacturing process of shaping a pliable or liquid material using a matrix or mold. The material is shaped with the help of a stiff frame. Plastic is molded by placing liquid or powder-like polypropylene or polyethylene into the hollow mold. After that, the polymer gets the shape of a hollow mold. Different arrays of pressure and heat are used to manufacture the end products. Plastic molding is required for various domestic ad commercial purposes. When you hire a plastic mold maker for your project, the cost of the mold will depend on several different factors.
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A plastic mold company or maker considers different important factors to offer price quotes to its customers. If you want to hire a mold maker for your plastic injection molding project, keep in mind the following pricing factors.
The pricing of plastic molding depends on the design of the part. The intricate parts require intricate mold that means the tool costs will be higher. If you want to reduce the costs, then you should keep your design simple. Sometimes, a small but complex mold proves more expensive than a simple design large mold.
Apart from the design, the part’s size also influences the molding cost. If the part is larger, then the molds will also be larger. In that case, more material will be used. The machining time also goes up to mold larger parts. A thin, small part molding process will be completed faster than the molding of large parts. Therefore, molding large size parts results in higher costs.
The resin that you choose also affects the plastic molding cost that the plastic mold maker is going to charge. There are various factors behind it, such as availability, quantity, the value of the resin, color, additives, compounding, and grade. The mold temperature requirement is another important factor in pricing molding. If the selected resin contains abrasive materials, like mineral, carbon fiber, or glass, then it may also affect the mold’s maintenance cost.
For volumes, hours are required to be spent in the production process. The projects with higher volumes require high-quality tools to ensure reliable service. Therefore, higher production time and the requirement of high-quality tools result in a higher cost. The manufacturing cost also depends on the cavities number. Higher cavities result in long ‘press time’, resulting in more project cost.
Another influencing factor in setting up the molding cost by a plastic mold maker is the ‘Cycle Time’. To ensure a rapid machine cycle, uniform cooling is required by the tool through cavity impressions. This means that the tool will need greater precision build and it will increase both tool maintenance and construction costs.
If a part has tight tolerance, then it will require extra steps during the mold manufacturing. This will increase the tool cost. However, the value that you gain with tight tolerance will always pay off in the log run. This is why you should always look for a plastic mold maker that specializes in tight tolerance.
The upfront plastic molding costs from an overseas company may be lower, but they often end up being more expensive in the long run. Therefore, you should look for a local company, but make sure the company is reliable.
The biggest upfront cost of plastic molding is normally the mold itself. While molds come in several variables (including complexity ad size), the selected material also impacts that cost.
The standard mold materials are aluminum and steel and both have certain qualities that offer different benefits over others. However, aluminum material is easily available and it has greater thermal heat transfer. You should share your expectations with the manufacturer so that they can help you select the best possible material.
If you have got the required information, then having the right tools and hiring the best plastic mold maker will become a straightforward job. And if you don’t have the right information, then it may become a scary process.
Before you hire a molding company, here are the most important things that you must ask them first:
Your DFM engineers need to specify the exact plastic-type that you plan to use for your parts. There are different types of plastics available and many of them require specific tools for molding. All materials don’t heat, cool, or shrink at the same rates.
For an efficient and quick running of tools, the designer needs to take this factor into consideration, while designing the molds. Keep in mind that only a few seconds delay in manufacturing your parts can result in hundreds of dollars’ value of additional costs for producing the product.
You must determine the number of cavities the mold might have. For this, you need to have a very precise estimate of how many parts you need to run at the beginning of the production. You should also be very clear about your long-term production objectives.
When a product is in its prototype stage, the prototype mold might be a necessity. But, it requires parts of production-quality in large quantities for justifying the investment. Therefore, you must discuss this thing with the company.
This is one reason why you are supposed to invest in the DFM. A DFM manager can easily determine the mold complexity and sizes of tools required. He will also be communicating with the plastic mold maker and the molder all the way through the process.
When mold is quoted, there is much to consider, so you must make sure what the parts will be doing and what they will need. This will save a bulk of unnecessary work.
The production of tooling is also not very quick or easy. You also need to ask mold makers for their recommendations about cold-runner or hot-runner systems. Another important thing is to know whether or not the tool design will need a secondary process. If yes, then will it really add additional cost to your goods sold?
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By following all the tips and recommendations available in this article, you can easily determine your expected plastic molding costs. However, one significant thing to ensure is you must inquire about the credibility and reputation of the mold maker company you are planning to hire.