Many people believe that improving part quality means increasing costs, but that’s not always the case. In fact, with effective tooling you can improve both your overall quality and lower your costs. Tooling is a vital part of injection molding and a long-term investment. When you launch a new project, you want to make certain that you’re getting the best price for each part and an optimal return on investment.
That means you want high-quality production at an affordable cost. It may sound difficult, but there are things you can do to help you achieve both.
Correctly Design the Part
Improving quality and reducing costs start at the drawing board. Use careful planning to design the part in such a way that you’re engineering out cost and potential failure modes. This process is called Designing for Manufacturability or DFM. Of course, there are times when you can’t remove complexity. DFM is is your safety net so you start with a design that will simplify the manufacturing process and reduce unnecessary costs.
Following DFM also highlights issues with the part you’re designing. If you find these issues during the design phase, they’re much easier and less expensive to fix.
Design factors that impact cost include:
- Internal/External threading
- Resin Type
- Insert Molding
- In-mold Labeling
In some cases, you will have to incorporate features into your design that are more costly. By reducing costs in other areas, you are freeing up your budget to include necessary high-cost features.
Build the Right Mold
Designing the part is only half of the task. You also have to utilize the best mold for your project. There are two different types of molds:
- Cold-Runner Molds– These are less expensive to create and are often much simpler. However, each part produced will cost more.
- Hot-Runner Molds – These are usually more expensive because of their complexity. However, the parts are cheaper to the manufacturer.
Building the Mold According to the Design
How you build the tooling also plays into the overall cost. There are three main factors that will play a part in the tooling construction:
- The Configuration – Are you going with the standard three-plate design, or will you use a Master Unit Die (MUD) unit? Will you use a different configuration altogether? Knowing the answer to these questions will help ease the configuration process.
- The Material – What materials will be used to build your tools? Consider the durability and other factors before deciding on aluminum, steel, or another material.
- The Specs – Does your tooling need to comply with the regulations for Class 101, Class 102, etc…
Overall, remember that you don’t want to cut any corners when designing your part and tool. Analyze the cost in every area so you can allocate a budget fit for your entire project and specific areas. Attacking this head-on will not only reduce the time needed to set up the tool but also make it much easier to use in the future.
By following these tips for designing your parts and molds, you will feel confident in your tools dependability and avoid producing parts that don’t meet your quality standards. Another plus is that you will see an increase in the tools life expectancy, which will also influence your ROI.
Do you want to know more about how to leverage tooling to reduce cost and improve your part quality? New Berlin Plastics is fully equipped to perform a full DFM analysis to help you produce outstanding parts. Want to know more? Click here to reach out!