With over 5,500 plastic injection-molding companies in the United States, product manufacturers are challenged with choosing the best partner to help mass produce a product or production element for a business. When you need thousands of parts produced on-time and under budget, having the peace of mind that your injection molder will truly be a partner, and keep your needs in mind, can make all the difference in the world when it comes to getting your product to market faster. Many important decisions that occur throughout each project process depend on information that is shared very early on. When expectations are presented at the onset of the project, there is less likely to be a communication breakdown down the road. Here are 6 other important considerations when selecting a plastic injection molder.
1. Production Capabilities and Technology
It is important to verify before starting any project that your molder has the capabilities you need. When you work with a molder that offers multiple presses in various sizes, they have the ability to undertake the entire project while using like materials and colors. It’s also important to understand any capacity constraints your supplier may have in relation to project timing. A partner who has the necessary machinery and utilizes the latest technology will be able to help you quickly scale production up or down to meet market demand without having to search out and qualify a new contract manufacturer. This type of versatility can save time and money.
Around the world, technology and automation sets injection molders apart. Those that incorporate the latest design and production capabilities will provide competitive prices in comparison to overseas alternatives. Over the years, the advancements in automation and lights-out manufacturing processes have impacted the plastics industry at a high level. Not only has it allowed businesses to improve in the areas of cost and turn-around time, it has also allowed plastic part producers to lower the likelihood of defects and increase the overall quality of products created.
2. Expanded Services
Prototyping and part design are functions that oftentimes fall outside of the scope of services an injection molder offers, or is introduced to the process much to late to create any cost or timing efficiencies. This is an interesting fact considering manufacturers rank design as a top factor in reducing overall manufacturing costs.
Just like technology, best practices for tooling and part manufacturing have changed substantially over the years. The work that happens earlier in the development cycle, specifically design, is what creates real efficiencies with project time and budget. When a toolmaker / injection molder is involved early in the design and development cycle, customer objectives are understood and unexpected surprises are avoided. It’s all about a 4-pronged approach:
- Design for Manufacturing
- Design for Functionality
- Design for Assembly
- Design for Sustainability
3. Quality Standards
Do your parts need to pass strict inspections or meet high safety and quality standards? If so, it is imperative that you partner with an injection molder that is ISO certified which guarantees that parts will be molded with correct and specified materials.
4. Customer Service & Communication
Long-term business-to-business relationships require the extra element of exceptional customer service and communication. Especially with complex parts or projects that include a high level of intellectual property sensitivity, working with an on-shore partner that is responsive to your needs will give you valuable peace of mind.
If your needs are specialized or unique, finding a supplier that understands your industry, materials and challenges is crucial to the success of the project. You may want to speak directly with non-biased customers who can help you decide to do business with the supplier by confirming business practices, communication style, financial stability, product quality and turnaround times.
5. Available Resins
Material / resin selection is a critical element to the design and production process for a successful product. Working with an experienced injection molder will help you ensure that the end use will be kept in mind throughout the design and material selection process. In addition to the base material that is determined to be the best option for your product, filler materials and other additives can be included to enhance the properties of the part. Experienced injection molding engineers can also help you reduce costs by providing recommendations to lower the amount of material used when possible, without compromising quality.
Price is always a top factor for a manufacturer when determining the best injection-molding partner. Budgets and ROI calculations are a part of doing business. However, consider the process of buying a car. Sometimes a “bargain” deal may result in costly repairs a few months later. Many elements come into play when considering overall price for part production and more goes in to a long-term relationship than just choosing the lowest quote. While the lowest priced option may seem like the best solution, it could cost you more money in the long run.
Consequences from poor design and material selection, issues that arise during production and ultimately missing a product launch can quickly add additional costs. Consider the overall value of the service that is being provided, the quality of work and your partner’s ability to be a vital resource to you and your team.
Most manufacturers have unique and specific needs. Finding a supplier that understands your industry, common materials and unique challenges is crucial to the success of any plastic injection molded project. By reflecting on these 6 important considerations, you will streamline the process of choosing a knowledgeable and experienced plastic injection molder and guarantee positive outcomes in regard to relationships developed, budget and time to market.