Plastics manufacturing is a highly competitive, global industry in which businesses are presented with both time and cost challenges. Avoiding delays and reducing risks for costly design changes can mean that your product gets to market faster than your competitors.
The sharp line that was once drawn between development and production is now, oftentimes, blurred with manufacturers leaning on industry design experts to become involved in the design for manufacturability process. In fact, manufacturers rank design as the top factor in reducing overall manufacturing costs.
Over the years, best practices for tooling and part manufacturing have changed substantially. While production checklists are still critical components of the process, the work that happens earlier in the development cycle is what creates real efficiencies in regard to time and budget. When a tool-maker / injection molder is involved early in the development cycle, customer objectives are understood and unexpected surprises are avoided. It’s all about taking this 4-pronged approach:
- Design for Manufacturing
- Design for Functionality
- Design for Assembly
- Design for Sustainability
Establishing a collaborative effort early on and working together to develop a true understanding of what it will take to achieve the successful molding of a part, will create efficiencies for your part development process in a number of ways:
Time to market: This is the most important reason for partnering with an injection molder that provides the full scope of design, prototype and production services. When designers work closely with an injection molder, or use a molder’s design and prototyping services, valuable learnings are taken into consideration from the start and necessary adjustments made.
Cost effectiveness: Design, prototyping and production are happily co-existing these days thanks to great advances in technology. The prototyping phase and the production phase are more similar than they've ever been, in addition to more economical to accomplish and faster to produce. These advantages are paying big dividends, as prototypes are coming back as close to an end product as they've ever been before.
Design, production insights & intellectual property: When the steps in the design and testing process are segmented between various service providers, critical information obtained can be lost from one step to the next. Working with a company that provides a comprehensive design and production experience will ensure time and information is not lost and that specifications are kept the intellectual property of the customer.
The total cost to manufacture plastic parts is something that more OEMs are evaluating closely. Often, there is a lack of understanding of what the mold maker / injection molder needs to complete a project because they were not involved from the start. How can manufacturers and injection molders work together to change the trajectory of the conversation early on? It’s important for all parties involved to understand the efficiencies and value that can be missed when design, prototype and production are treated as separate processes.
Working with a design and production partner that offers the most innovative design consultation, software, automation and production processes will help you remain ahead of the competition in your industry.