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Basic questions for outsourcing injection molds

Plastic injection molders who lack in house tool building experience typically are not aware of the complexities, materials and technologies that are required to build a quality injection mold. As stated above by the others, tooling is essential in making quality parts. Every project is different and has to be handled by the basic part requirements.

Specialized parts can require specialized injection mold makers. For example you would not want a tool house that builds hardware to be manufacturing injection molds for medical components. The skill levels and machinery are very different. This means you will need to have a variety of injection mold making partners that you can market.

We are a custom plastic injection molder that has been approached by many consulting services. We have in house tooling capability and have not used them. One of the main reasons is that they have not instilled confidence by asking the right questions about the project.

Some of the basic questions that need to be answered before quoting or outsourcing the injection mold need to be answered.

Life of product, quantity and terms
Part design constraints, critical dimensional features and surface finish. Which features need to be cut steel safe for adjustment after process is established. Your customer will expect you to know.
How many spares should be purchased in the original injection mold build?
Resin, cost of resin and allowable regrind will dictate hot, hot to cold or cold runner. The escalating cost and availability of resin makes this critical to injection molders. We are all striving for zero waste at the lowest cost. What size press are they expecting to use, shot size, residence time and expected cycle. Can this be done in their selected press?
Monthly delivery quantities to determine cavitation.

This will give mold size, mold class, 101 etc.

Once these are answered we would require a tooling engineer to be a project manager to follow up on the outsourcing, design approval and monitoring construction. We would expect to work closely with them and have regular updates. As a consulting agency good experienced tooling engineers will be the backbone of your business to ensure customer satisfaction. Initially they typically would not be salesmen but technicians; however they could end up being your best salesman after they perform for the customer and demonstrate their value by delivering the right injection mold at the right price.

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