How Much Does Injection Molding Cost?
Injection molding is one of the most common processes used for manufacturing plastic parts and components. Injection molding offers a cost-effective manufacturing solution for many applications.
What Is Injection Molding?
Injection molding is a manufacturing process typically used for the mass-production of parts when thousands or even millions are required. The injection molding process accounts for a significant portion of plastic manufacturing and is suitable for the production of products with complicated shapes and designs.
The injection molding process uses heat to melt plastic, which is then injected into a mold where it takes its shape before cooling and solidifying into the final product. The process is used by many industries that require large quantities of parts with the same specifications. Injection molding is used to make automotive parts and components, product packaging, bottle caps, toys, and most other plastic products.
Injection Molding Cost
One of the main considerations with any manufacturing process is the cost. While the mold typically represents the most significant upfront production cost, several variables affect the total cost.
The material used to create the mold is dependent on the formulation of the plastic used as well as the length of the expected production run. For shorter production runs, many mold makers use aluminum, which has a lower initial cost, but for longer runs, an aluminum mold may be more costly over time.
Extended production runs and runs that use plastics that cause excessive wear require a mold made from hardened tool steel, which is more expensive but often provides long-term savings. The plastic used is also a factor when determining the best material for the mold. For instance, plastic containing fiberglass material will wear down many mold materials.
Mold Size and Design
The cost of a mold is dependent on not only the material used to make it but also the size and design of the mold and the amount of tooling required to make it. Intricate parts require more time and skill to create the mold than simple parts.
The mold base holds the mold cavities, inserts, and components together and is also responsible for directly installing the mold to the plastic injection molding machine. Mold bases are typically available in standard sizes, which are machined to meet the needs of a specific project, with the cost based on the size, material, and any customization required.
For short runs, a mold is often designed to make a single piece, but for large runs, it is typically more efficient to create a multi-cavity mold that produces multiple parts at the same time. Multi cavity molds are capable of producing several identical parts simultaneously. While more expensive initially, the ability to increase production capabilities makes it a cost-efficient option for large production runs.
Reducing the Costs of Injection Molding
The costs of injection molding can be controlled and reduced by carefully analyzing the part produced and ensuring that it precisely meets the desired specifications.
Undercuts are complicated features that can disrupt the manufacturing process by preventing molded parts from ejecting correctly. Eliminating undercuts when possible can reduce the tooling costs of the mold, enable production runs to continue uninterrupted, and reduce the overall manufacturing costs of the part.
Eliminate Unnecessary Features
Every feature of the part produced adds to the production costs. Features such as textured surfaces, part numbers, and company logos that are not critical to the part add to the initial cost of the mold and also affect production costs.
There are thousands of different materials that are suitable for injection molding. These materials consist of alloys and blends formulated to have properties that meet nearly any specification.
3D Printing and injection molding are often considered competing technologies, but they each have their advantages. 3D printing is well suited to low volume production runs of 100 parts or less, and relatively small plastic parts or components that require a quick turnaround time. Injection molding has a longer turnaround time but is capable of producing thousands of pieces of any size or complexity.
How long does an injection mold last?
Several factors affect the lifespan of an injection mold, including the type of metal used for the mold and the formulation of the plastic used in production. A plastic injection mold can typically complete anywhere between 100,00 to 1 million or more cycles in its lifetime.
Contact Darter Plastics
At Darter Plastics, we specialize in manufacturing parts using the injection molding process. Our dedicated team has the skill and knowledge to answer your questions and provide the expertise to help you with your project. To learn more about injection molding or to request a quote for your project, contact us today.