A successful injection molding project starts with the design of a product, and then the design of precision plastic injection molds. With the need for shorter lead times and better quality today nobody has time to get it wrong, so here’s how you can get it right.
Plastic injection molds can be complicated to get 100% right off the bat, especially if you’re trying to get it done from the other side of the world. You’ve heard all the rumors about bad quality and cost-cutting when it comes to China, and you’re probably scared you will get substandard products if you do place an order with a mold maker in China.
Know Where to Start
You must specify your requirements and only work with mold makers in China that you’ve vetted properly. The drawings of your mold design need to be on point and drawn up by a professional, and there can be no margin for error. If you start your Chinese mold-making communication and process with a well-defined drawing you’ve already won 90% of the battle.
For a plastic mold-making company to quote 50% less than that of its nearest competitor for the SAME plastic injection mold, they must cut their costs to below 50% of their competitors. This is typically reflected (or not reflected at all) in material selection, surface finishes, material hardness, lack of precision grinding of mating surfaces, and lack of close tolerances in wall thickness on thin wall products.
All these problems can be avoided by a clear statement of specifications at the RFQ stage. The problem with obtaining quotes from mold makers in China is that when rigorous specifications are required, the price differential between quality mold makers (irrespective of global location) becomes minimal.
Make Sure That You Own the Mold and Any Rights for That Mold
Some Chinese manufacturers have a strong incentive to keep your molds and prevent foreign buyers from moving to a new location or factory. In a lot of cases, the mold embodies most or all the IP in the product. If you’re producing with a factory in China, you must make sure that the mold makers understand that you own the physical mold.
You need to make it clear to the manufacturer/factory in China can only use the molds for producing your products and that they can’t produce any products for a third party using your mold or mold designs. Then you need to make sure that if you want to move your mold at any point in time to a different factory, that the receiving facility will have the right to take possession of the molds and that you can freely move them to a new location.
You or a Trusted Third Party Should Be Present at the Mold Testing
Once the molds have been manufactured, they must be tested properly, reports filed, feedback is given on the outcome, and most important of all any faults or parameter fails needs to be rectified.
To do this, the mold is mounted onto adequately sized injection molding machines, set up for an optimized injection cycle, and launched for a limited production run with all the parameters of a full production intent operation. This allows you to inspect the tools under real performance situations, fine-tune their settings, and generate a complete report of findings including the points that need adjustment or improvement and tool modifications for a trouble-free operation that affords the mold a maximum lifespan.
It’s critical that you or a representative of your company be present and, in most cases, a third-party QC company with a track record in experience to be present and advise on the outcomes of the mold testing.
Since 2012, QTC has started helping global clients solve plastic fabrication issues in China. They are specialized in producing all kinds of [plastic injection molding] (https://www.qtcmfg.com/injection-molding/), blow molding, silicone molding, extrusion molding products, etc. QTC works with more than 24 China plastic manufacturers. Meanwhile, they have good relationships with plastic material suppliers and molding factories. We can control the whole process from plastic material to finished products. That’s why, their clients can save at least 45% than manufacturing in the US, and at least 18% than working with other competitors in China. Until now, QTC has handled over 120 plastic fabrication projects for US & European clients.