What kind of injection molding supplier is a better choice?
With regard to this question, people believe that it depends on the specific situation. When considered from the only perspective of factory size, it is better that you choose the larger one, because a large size is often an synonym of strength, meaning that the comprehensive strength of the factory is better. Besides, the size also indirectly reflects how popular the factory is among customers! However, conversely, the larger the size, the higher the management cost is, so there will not be noticeable cost advantages. It is very important to know whether the injection molding supplier you choose regards you as an important customer, i.e., whether you are important to them.
If your purchase volume is small, due to insufficient company strength or whatsoever, blindly choosing a large-sized mold manufacturer sometimes costs you extra money just because they don’t treat you as an important customer. Currently, a lot of large-sized mold manufacturers refuse to take small amount orders, nor do they take responsibility for this state of mind, simply because you are not able to meet their requirements for order amount or order quantity. To you, it may feel like showing excessive passion to a cold person. Though the metaphor may be inappropriate, it shows quite the reality.
In such circumstances, most businesses prefer to choose small / medium-sized mold factories from China. As a matter fact, that’s what every player in the industry is doing right now. Anyway, these factories offer molds and products at a more acceptable price, which means it is a good deal for the customer. However, your concerns will soon come back: are they able to make the mold on time and with great quality; what is the production volume, and how long is the service life of the mold.
To respond to your concerns, we recommend you to focus on the horse sense, i.e., choosing the injection molding supplier with a complete set of facilities. It is what we usually refer to as the mold manufacturer with “Five Sets”, that is, the CNC machining center, the slow speed wire cutting machine, the EDM mirror spark machine, the high-speed high-precision plastic injection molding machine, the 3D / 2D measuring instrument, as well as other necessary equipment for mold machining, making and testing. This should be taken as the key indicators to evaluate and finally select a injection molding supplier, because without these machines, The injection molding supplier would need to outsource the mold manufacturing process.
If so, negative impacts will be exerted: First, it increases the mold manufacturing cost; Second, it takes time for the mold manufacturer to repeatedly discuss and coordinate the transfer of workpieces during the outsourcing process, which, in turn, will extend the molding cycle, thus very easily causing delays of mold and product delivery. Although you may have the delay clauses well stipulated in the Purchase Agreement or Contract, the penalty will not be able to make up for the actual and long-term losses of your company in case of a delay, which will put the purchaser on a bed of thorns.
How to effectively minimize the cost of mold purchase?
From my experience, we firstly need to understand how many orders of the new product we can expect – is it big enough. In the review stage of the new product development, if the order amount cannot reach 500,000 or above, I will not recommend the hard mold. Just simply develop a soft mold, which is what we usually refer to as the mold for test. Thanks to the low cost of a soft mold, if the market reacts unfavorably, it’ll help save the unnecessary high cost of hard mold development; if, later the sales of the product booms with sharply increased demands, the hard mold can be developed at any time during the first round of mass production. Since it is just a hard copy of the soft mold, production and shipment schedule of the product will not be affected.
Also, there is another benefit in this practice – the injection molding supplier is able to learn something from the design, development and production experience of the first mold set (soft mold). When applied to the development of the second mold set, such experience will help make significant improvements. Even without you asking for it, the injection supplier would certainly like to do it for you, because it takes less efforts for them to copy a mold design. However, if the order amount of the product cannot be predicted, developing a hard mold at the very beginning of your project will increase your mold purchase cost by at least 1/3. Moreover, you need to take the mold cost into consideration as early as the engineering design stage. For instance, the selection of mold core materials, e.g., S136H and NAK80, as well as other components, such as the fine nozzles, will also cause the mold price to increase to different levels, except that the customer specifies higher requirements, or which material to use for the product.
Last but not the least, the following several points must be given special attention to if you want to select the most proper injection molding supplier:
- You get what you pay for, so don’t believe in low prices blindly, because there are often some traps that are unknown to us hiding behind the low price, be it shoddy or cut corners. We have to know that a injection molding supplier has to pay a lot for rent, water, electricity and the workers, while earning profits for itself.
- I prefer to select a well-equipped, most preferably, a medium-sized and above mold manufacturer. This year, due to the low price, I learned a lesson during my purchase process. I selected a small-sized China mold factory, which only employed a few dozen people in the entire mold division. And, inside the factory, there is even no CNC, with incomplete mechanical equipment, but only a few pieces of out-of-the-date equipment. Unsurprisingly, the final result was that though the factory developed the mold, mass production was not possible at the end.
- At last, it is recommended that you select a injection molding supplier by comprehensively analyze the overall situations and characteristics of each respective factory. Make a rational choice after making an objective evaluation of your own needs with regards to your mold and product positioning, so as to achieve a satisfactory result!