Injection molds are meant to make manufacturing easier and increase productivity. Of course, that’s only when the right one for each project is purchased. The wrong fit or design can result not only months of lost work and delayed production, but damage to the equipment itself. With this in mind, here are 6 tips you should consider when purchasing injection molds:
1. Timing Depends on the Project
For some projects, a general injection mold will do, and you will not need to plan too far ahead during the design process. But for more creative projects that depend on precision, you will need to start planning the mold design early on in product development. If it is a complete custom design or a rarely-seen one, you will need to allow for more time for both design and approval.
2. Collaboration is Key
The most successful and creative projects are when the part designer, mold fabricator and injection molder are able to communicate efficiently and collaborate. After all, you don’t want to go ahead and approve a mold design only to find out that it cannot be made to specifications or that it won’t actually function as the injection molder needs it to. Though taking the time to communicate every step of the process may feel like it’s taking extra time, it can save you a lot of time (and money) later on.
3. Anticipate Issues
Even the best planning can sometimes end up in errors, but you don’t need to let it take you completely off guard. Plan (set aside extra time and funds) for potential re-cuts, for example. You may need the mold to be adjusted a few times before the plastic portions are brought into the exact range they need to be in. You may even need to resize the design in general at some point.
4. Prepare Your Production Floor Team
Even the most efficient production / shop floor teams will appreciate advance notice for when any new injection molds are going to arrive. They will need time to install the mold where it needs to go and make sure it is connected properly. They will need to check a number of things like lift straps, hot runner and coolant controllers, heater plugs and cables, water manifold ports, fittings, hoses, bolts, and more. This cannot properly be done at the last minute.
5. Standardize Designs that Work for You
Many people wind up needing the same injection mold later on. You can maximize both cost savings and efficiency by making the design standardized. Additionally, standardizing different features like clamp slots and connection locations on different machinery can also save you both time and money (especially if you need to relocate the injection mold later on).
6. Cost Savings May Not Always Be Worth It
Even more basic injection molds require a high degree of craftsmanship and precision. While you may be able to trim costs on many projects by going with cheaper options, it is crucial to really evaluate whether or not you can afford small errors or misalignments on your current one. Even small savings can end up costing you big time down the road if it means having to scrap a ton of used up material or tools and having to spend more on labor costs.