Bloggers and thought leaders with a passion for regional economic development, innovation and business improvement.

How do I go about ordering a mold from China?

How do I go about ordering a mold from China?

Unfortunately, there are no fixed rules for ordering a new injection mold from China plastic mold companies. As you go through the process, though, you should note down what works and what doesn’t, and refer to this list of procedures the next time you place an order to make things easier.

Before you begin, you need to get your priorities right. Don’t worry about the tooling at this stage- it won’t really help you keep the costs down. Instead, you need to begin with an ideal product cost, along with a projected annual volume. This will be used to determine the number of cavities needed, as well as the press requirements. With these in mind, you can make an estimate of the manufacturing costs, and determine the results you need to secure a profit on manufacturing.

This information is the bare minimum you need to start creating specifications for your new injection mold. You may also be able to quote the tooling to your unique specifications at this point. You’ll then have to think about shipping charges and deadlines before the production process begins, since this will have a big impact on the costs of production. It’s a good idea to compare costs between Chinese and US or European molds with this in mind regularly, so you can be sure you’re making the best savings possible.

Remember, the price of the mold itself isn’t what’s important- instead, you should think about the cost price of what will be made with the mold. The mold can be adapted based on this- for example, if you’re only making a low volume of product, then the cost of the mold will make up a large share of the product price. In that case, you should try to reduce the mold price by cutting down the number of cavities, or possibly considering a non-hardened or aluminum mold. On the other hand, large volumes will mean you need a faster cycle time to turn a profit. That will mean a higher number of cavities, probably a hot runner, and a high level of optimized cooling within the mold itself. If you are able to keep up a high volume, then the mold will only make up around 5-10% of the price, and if it’s well made, you’ll be able to ensure it always works on the first shot, and can provide round-the-clock production for many years before it’s replaced.

In addition, there are several other factors that are essential for good product design. From the wall thickness and flow length, to the amount of pressure needed and the required resin, many things need to be considered. For example, if high injection pressures are a necessity, then extra gates will be needed to take off some of the stress.

So, when consulting with mold manufacturers from China, it’s a smart idea to ask if that Chinese mold company has any history with making the sorts of molds that you require. You should also look at reviews from previous customers who bought from China before, and, if possible, visit their facility to take a look for yourself at how they store plastic molds, and the tooling and fabrication area. This will give you an idea of how much care they put into making molds, so you can see if they are up to the job of making yours.

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Industry 4.0 and the "Digital Twin" applied to People

"A digital twin can be defined, fundamentally, as an evolving digital profile of the historical and current behaviour of a physical object or process that helps optimize performance. The digital twin is based on massive, cumulative, real-time, real-world data measurements across an array of dimensions. These measurements can create an evolving profile of the object or process in the digital world that may provide important insights on system performance, leading to actions in the physical world" (Deloitte).


"The real power of a digital twin — and why it could matter so much — is that it can provide a near-real-time comprehensive linkage between the physical and digital worlds. It is likely because of this interactivity between the real and digital worlds of product or process that digital twins may promise richer models that yield more realistic and holistic measurements" (Deloitte).  


Now if the engineered object is an on-body assistive tech device (e.g. an orthotic), a mobility product, or sensor enabled clothing, then we get real time data on the health outcomes of a PERSON, as opposed to just a machine. This is a huge help for people with chronic health conditions, the aged, the disabled or better still for the first time offering a proactive real-time illness prevention capability.


Industry 4.0 technology now enables the consumer to be directly included in a co-design process, and we can therefore highly personalise the end-product, sensors and data required precisely to their needs.


The Australian disability workforce will have to increase by more than 50,000 FTE before 2020 (yes that’s less than 2 years = 2020). We got another 150,000+ aged care employees to train up over the next decade. This has a major positive economic impact in the short term. Not planning for 2030, training and innovating NOW with real and budgeted $$$ for an industry segment that Aust is really good at, and one that will not go away.


Both Govt and training institutions need to actively work to fill these new work roles or miss a great jobs growth opportunity. Sadly, neither are giving it much attention, despite the STEM agenda. ... and the jobs are exciting future industry STEM jobs - in both healthcare and manufacturing.  


To do all this successfully in a ‘Consumer Directed Care’ (CDC) environment we will need consumers, care workers and engineers to work together across industry boundaries and be jointly involved in creating highly personalised, ‘continuum of care’ health packages. VR & AR are beneficial, but new technologies such as IoT and digital twins will be much more impactful for CDC.


These are just a few of at least 10 new technologies that make up Industry 4.0. With ‘Consumer Directed Care’ now compulsory for NDIS at $22B p.a. and In-Home Aged Care at $4.7B p.a. (plus another $1.6B p.a. in the 2018 budget) this is Australia’s biggest and most immediate Industry 4.0 and STEM jobs opportunity.


IT IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE - chronic conditions, aged care (frailty mgt), rehabilitation, disability and even prevention all need a 'Continuum of Care' services model, with data tracking. This is very different from our expensive transactional Acute Care services model. With Billions of $$$ spent every year on this the Govt can benefit from a massive ROI on their healthcare budget bottom line.


No other country in the world is implementing ‘Consumer Directed Care’ (CDC) on the size and scale that Australia is. If Industry 4.0 is the leap to cyber-physical systems and cyber-human systems, then Digital Twin implementations with sensor technology applied to real-time monitoring and proactive outcomes for real people (v’s machines) is something we should be moving towards as a global differentiation for the country. Now that's real Industry 4.0 thinking. 



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Author : Steve Zanon

Australia is in a unique position to be a global leader in Assistive Technologies and an international centre for Disability and Ageing Healthcare development. Australia holds a leadership position in the Asia-Pacific region in these health sectors - a market with both essential and perpetual global demand.


Assistive Technology refers to the breadth of manufactured equipment, or technical interventions, in the home, in the workplace and for mobility and transportation that are needed by people who are ageing, disabled or rehabilitating from injury. These technologies might be high tech applications, personalised devices to meet individual needs, or they may be as mainstream as a mobile phone put to innovative use. Combined with appropriate health care services, this technology enables people to participate as fully and independently as possible in both community life and in the workforce. It provides many opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t have.

AT Examples


This industry sector would drive new partnerships between businesses, researchers, health services and training providers. New local economies would evolve around advanced manufacturing, equipment modification and installation, aged care services, and IoT/sensors. These industries would accelerate the commercialisation of new healthcare services and products; and produce a steady stream of 21st century SMEs in a key manufacturing sector.

Within this ecosystem there would likely be a cluster management service, similar to those in Europe, which would be external to, but aligned with the major government funders. It would stimulate innovation and competition at both individual and sector level, and help to enable the competitive supply of highly personalised product offerings.


  • Australia already has the components needed to not only create an Assistive Technology manufacturing industry but to extend its scope into a multi-sector economic ecosystem. This broader framework would align manufacturing, education, research and healthcare toward a common goal, delivering significant national economic and social benefits. A co-ordinated ‘smart specialisation’ approach is all that is required to mutually support and build on our existing strengths in these areas.
  • With the rollout of the NDIS, Australia has become the Asia Pacific regional hub for Universal Healthcare, Consumer Directed Care and Social Insurance. The unique scope of the NDIS as a universal medical reimbursement scheme puts Australia in a globally leading position. One we should take advantage of.
  • We have a confluence of major health providers to leverage, including regional health services, primary health networks (PHN’s), a sophisticated residential aged care market, speciality hospitals which are all well established in Australia and are the envy of Asia. They are increasingly focussed on research outcomes and delivering innovation in the provision of their services.
  • Our combined healthcare expertise and access to health data is unparalleled in SE Asia.
  • We have significant manufacturing infrastructure and skills base to leverage. Our manufacturers are seeking ways to diversify or transform to mitigate the contraction of our traditional heavy industry base. Many opportunities exist to create new products or efficiently recondition, modify and reissue used equipment, with client specific requirements driving the approach.
  • Australia could provide the proving ground for the next generation of health care – Value Based Healthcare. This would be a consumer centred response to the development of assistive technologies and ‘continuum of care’ health services. All highly personalised for our seniors, people with a disability and chronic conditions.
  • Research and industry partnerships in both Universities, TAFE’s and CSIRO are driving innovation and design in metals, plastics, chemicals, fibres, biotech and advanced manufacturing practices.
  • Advanced manufacturing is gaining traction with exciting new developments in composite materials, additive manufacturing, i-manufacturing, digital twins, AR/VR, IoT device sensors, and many more.
  • World class success stories are emerging from local SMEs, which are developing smart technology solutions in related fields such as medtech and sports technologies.

 AT Disability Stats


A snapshot of the Assistive Technologies market data gives a sense of the scale of the opportunity, and points to areas where efficiencies can be achieved;

  • One in every ten Australians relies on Assistive Technology in their daily lives. (ABS 2004)
  • 9% of the Australian population under the age of 65 experiences core activity limitations ranging from mild to severe. The number leaps to approximately 40% for people over 65.
  • An estimated 460,000 people are expected to participate in the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
  • The Assistive Technology market in Australia has been estimated to be $4.5B annually. (ATSA 2013; AIHW 2011; AEAA 2010)
  • In 2010–11 $600M was spent on Assistive Technology by the primary state/territory (27%) and federal (73%) Assistive Technology programs. The NDIS will add another $1B per annum.
  • Import replacement is desperately needed - approximately 80–90% of Assistive Technology is currently imported, with very high mark-ups. Specialist retailers in Australia obtain their stock from approximately 300 distributors, with about 80% of Assistive Technology coming from less than 40 importers.
  • Effective Assistive Technology provision can reduce long-term care and health costs, increase participation in employment and education, and significantly improve the lives of people of all ages with a disability. (Audit Commission 2000, 2004; AIHW 2006; Heywood & Turner 2007), so government is keen to support the sector.


Manufacturing and technology companies are interested in tapping into this market for many good reasons …

  • The great majority of products currently supplied are old technology, allowing for a “NexGen” range to emerge using more contemporary engineering solutions.
  • Customer dissatisfaction is high. As most of the existing merchandise are generic ‘off-the-shelf’ products, they don’t match individual requirements and therefore consumer drop off rates exceed 50%.
  • It’s a higher margin manufacturing business. Approximately 85% of stock is generic and imported with high mark-ups, offering local manufacturers scope to generate profits, particularly in product personalisation.
  • The large volume of consumers across the population offers a mass market into which to sell. Refer ABS population statistics.
  • The retail distribution channels for Assistive Technology are well established and easy to tap into.
  • The majority of Assistive Technology imports come from Europe and USA, both of which are high cost manufacturing countries. High personalisation requirements means that the local manufacture of products or product components will maintain a competitive advantage.
  • The market is perpetual in nature, as opposed to fashionable, there will always be a consumer need.
  • Most of the product recommenders are trusted service providers (e.g. Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Orthotics), and for reputational reasons need to consistently offer their clients the best solutions in the market. Poor quality is a barrier to market reputation and gaining volume.
  • Barriers to entry for many existing manufacturers are relatively low. Assistive Technology is a superset of medtech, meaning that the great majority of products do not require the additional TGA approval that the clinical medtech segment does.
  • There are opportunities to target a variety of segments within the market - low tech, high tech, medtech (e.g. TGA approval), engineering support systems, manufacturing platforms and bureau services (e.g. CSIRO’s lab22). This allows a wide diversity of manufacturing companies to enter the market.


With rollout of the NDIS and the expansion of the aged care sector, the vast majority of Assistive Technology will now need to be installed in the local environment (i.e. in-home, in workplaces and for transportation/mobility needs). As such, the sector will require many apprentice and TAFE skilled personal as well as high-end design engineers. Due to the on-site installation, personalisation, refurbishment and maintenance requirements, the ratio of blue collar to white collar workers will be significantly higher. Assistive Technology is therefore a sector crying out for both white and blue collar manufacturing skillsets. This provides a great opportunity to increase employment prospects in regions hit hardest by the downturn in traditional manufacturing.

As the NDIS scales and the aged care industry grows, an even larger and more skilled carer workforce will be needed. These are areas of high employment growth, yet are in structural transition with the introduction of Consumer Directed Care. Both healthcare sectors have very similar skill requirements and high turnover rates. They should therefore be high on the list of local education providers. The NDIA forecasts that an additional 50,000 jobs new jobs will be needed across Australia by Dec 2019, including over 16,000 in Victoria. The NDIA will fund these new jobs through its reimbursement of disability services. A similar volume of replacement jobs will be needed in aged care. 


A number of factors indicate the readiness of both government and business to embrace the opportunity around Assistive Technologies;

  • The rollout of the NDIS means that $22Billion per annum in funding (1.1% of GDP) is available for the market.
  • Government recognises that a new model for Assistive Technology provision is required. The previous role of government as the selection agent, purchaser and owner on behalf of people with a disability does not reflect current values around consumer choice and control in both disability and aged care service provision.
  • $1.3 billion in approved government funding has been assigned to manufacturing industry transition, entrepreneur development and employee re-skilling initiatives over the next few years.
  • Total annual NDIS consumer reimbursement for Assistive Technology is $1Billion per annum, across an extensive list of product categories. There are 418 product categories in total, with a variety of products within each category. For manufacturers there are many opportunities and quick wins to target.

AT NDIS Pipeline


A thriving industry ecosystem would deliver;

  • Next generation healthcare for what will soon be 25% of the Australian population.
  • Better health outcomes and quality of life for seniors, disabled and chronic care patients. The NDIS and aged care industry will measure this by consumers getting back-to-work, extended employment duration, living at home longer and greatly extended social/community engagement.
  • Economic growth for Australia by (1) developing next generation advanced manufacturing products, and (2) new supporting, enabling and preventative healthcare services.
  • More targeted and efficient use of government funds (i.e. faster return to work, shorter care facility stays).
  • A flexible and responsive training industry delivering a national and international highly skilled workforce into many segments of the health care supply chain.
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John Sheridan
Assistive technologies represent a huge opportunity for Australia, and for export into South East Asia and beyond.
Thursday, 03 May 2018 07:28
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An Example of Multi-Industry Economic Development

Historically, the economic success of most cities and regional areas has been built on their unique competitive strengths. The future will be no different. These are its differentiators, which have enabled it to generate both wealth and jobs to support the local community. However, strengths are not static and are continually subject to decline and change, in line with our ever-transforming world. Ongoing success hinges on a region’s ability to plan for, develop and renew its strengths in line with major economic opportunities as they present themselves.

In recent years, more and more economists have realised that there is huge untapped growth potential in cross-sectoral cooperation. They are therefore looking beyond the borders of industrial sectors and see the benefits in integrating different industries to create substantially improved value chains. While any region cannot be ‘all things to all people’, one of the best things it can do is to link up its strengths such that the economic output it produces is more than just the sum of its parts. This allows local companies much greater collaboration opportunities, to better differentiate themselves and to create a stream of higher value-added products and services.

The good news is that Australia has all the key ingredients to execute on a major 21st century industry convergence opportunity. The county’s strengths in the healthcare, manufacturing and education sectors could be aligned to create a global ‘Smart Specialisation’ around ‘Consumer Directed Care’ (CDC). CDC is a personalised ‘continuum of care’ model which is now compulsory for both Disability Services (NDIS) and in-home Aged Care.

Consumer Directed Care is an approach to the planning and management of care, which allows consumers and carers more power to influence the design and delivery of the products and services they receive. It allows them to exercise a much greater degree of choice in what services are delivered, where and when they are delivered. The NDIS is currently rolling out it’s $22B per annum in funding for CDC, with 2018-19 being the scale-up years. This is a significant new (government funded) revenue stream for industry to target, which will deliver much improved social outcomes.

 NDIS Rollout

‘Consumer Directed Care’ is a major extension to our Universal Healthcare system. But more than that, this is our entrée into ‘Value Based Healthcare’, an emerging 21st century model. Participating in this new global value chain provides a unique quality value-added advantage for our economic development into the 21st century, both locally and subsequently for exporting into Asia.

The most effective path in developing Innovation Hubs is when a community takes it upon itself to define and act on its own social and economic vision. Government’s role is to facilitate the local community’s construction of a pragmatic, step-by-step roadmap and implementation plan for its industry sectors as they transition to service new 21st century needs.

The European 'Smart Specialisation' model for developing industry clusters is based on combining as many local core strengths as possible and aligning them into a new or emerging 21st century value chain. Industry convergence is a key driver.

New Media

The next generation of Assistive Technology is a key enabler for our transition to Consumer Directed Care. It provides the platform for a series of important steps forward for our disability and aged care services. The NDIS recognise this and are providing $1B per annum in new funding specifically for Assistive Technology products. The introduction of Industry 4.0 technology, the integration of sensors, and blockchain for managing new tradable digital assets, will be transformative.

Assistive Technology refers to the breadth of manufactured equipment, or technical interventions, in the home, workplace and for transportation/mobility that are needed by people who are ageing and frail, disabled or rehabilitating from injury. These devices might be highly specialised, personalised to meet individual needs, or they may be as mainstream as a walking stick or an iPad put to innovative use. Combined with appropriate health care services, this equipment enables people to participate as fully and independently as possible in community life.    

Assistive Technology provides an appealing “sweet spot” intersection between two of the government’s targeted growth industries – Advanced Manufacturing (a horizontal industry) & Medical Technologies (a vertical industry). These are both key planks of the government’s innovation agenda and are strong areas of industry focus for Australia. Industry 4.0 is a key technology platform that will help facilitate the transition to Consumer Directed Care, moving local industry up the value chain and underpinning state-of-the-art healthcare solutions well into the 21st century.

Industry 4.0 technology now enables the consumer to be directly involved in a co-design process, and we can therefore highly personalise manufactured products precisely to their needs. But to do this successfully in a ‘Consumer Directed Care’ environment we will need researchers, engineers, clinicians and consumers to work across industry boundaries and be jointly involved in creating highly personalised ‘continuum of care’ health packages, which the NDIS will fund. 

21st Century Industry Convergence

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Recent Comments
John Sheridan
Great article. And it clearly highlights to the opportunities available in cross silo collaboration and action.
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 07:38
Steve Zanon
I'll need partners to help develop new 'tradable digital assets' to drive the circular economy. This will mean digital skills badg... Read More
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 12:16
John Sheridan
This is very interesting territory and blockchain tokens fit into this area as well.
Sunday, 21 January 2018 10:34
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Wheels - Part 2: Beyond 'Old Automotive Business-as-Usual'


Moving forwards with barely a glance in the rear-view mirror we wanted to de-commission in Part 1, it’s all about future prospects – and how not to sleep through the signals and previews. 

An opinion piece was syndicated looking at international developments and dynamics.

The full document can be accessed via:

or an email to will cause a transcription to self-park in your inbox.

Willing customers are the vital starting point, and not some inconvenient statistical factor in an otherwise inspirational narrative.”

Let’s stay with customers, collectively known as ‘markets’. Global demand for Light Duty Vehicles – cars, vans and derivatives such as utes – is on a 2.5 times growth trajectory 2002-2030 that will require ‘the industry’ (in whatever future form) to supply tens of millions of extra units every year.

The customer base is not shrinking – and 75% of this stellar growth is happening in non-OECD markets. ‘Commercial geographies’ – production operations, supply chains and channels-to-market – will be quite distinct from the modus operandi of the first automotive century.

It’s all about developing capabilities [industrialisation] for competitive positioning via capacity building [commercialisation] in exposed international markets – themselves experiencing much turbulence due to the antics of established players and the clock ticking on traditional fuels.    

Following ‘Is it worth it?’ there’s a section that addresses ‘Can we do it?’ that also explodes a few myths about assembly plants and supply chains of yesteryear: smart manufacturing for New Mobility – including onshore – no longer needs to exclude the regions.    .    

  • Accessible growth markets exist with volumes and dynamics we can realistically chase, as our geography can now be turned to our (competitive) advantage – we are neither too small nor too remote.
  • We have capabilities and untapped potential in key design and manufacturing areas: power- and drivetrain elements / advanced materials / lightweighting for volume production / 3D & AM, et al underpinning hype-free claims to ‘cutting-edge’ – mediocrity is never worth the trip!
  • Being at where we’re at is a 2-sided coin: old-style assembly locations are no longer set in stone, and new manufacturing technologies are recasting supply chains and cluster configurations as we speak.
  • The country that invented fast Wi-Fi and the black box Flight Data Recorder surely has great credentials as a pro-activist in the operating infrastructure for E-Mobility: hacker-proof ultra-connectivity, anyone?

 Chequered flag 02

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There’s a reason the glass area of the windscreen is much bigger than that of a rear-view mirror …

… the field of vison is much bigger, it’s in front of us and is therefore ‘future’ and can only be reached by moving forwards.

That’s a clue to what will be a recurring theme, namely that ‘relevant innovation’ is directional and delivers progress – however measured in a specific context. Anything else is either ’change’, which can move sideways or backwards, or just hyped-up complexity – and that fails the ‘progress delivery test’ big time, as well as soaking up financial and expert resources.

Back to the plot.  


Last year – fully cognisant of the clock ticking for a shrinking onshore ‘car industry’ – the Founders’ Group of MotM updated an earlier piece that had been the basis of a Government submission.

MotM New Automotive Future 2016

The full document can be accessed via:

or an email to will cause a transcription to park in your inbox.


Meanwhile, as a scene setter for BlogVolk on the run, page 2 highlights are reproduced here:  

Background to 2016 update

Members of the Manufacturing on the Move [MotM] Leadership Group collaborated early 2014 on the compilation of  ‘A New Automotive Industry Future for Australia’ – a sector supplement to the preceding work ’Securing Australia's Manufacturing Future‘ .

Much of the content released 24th February 2014 is still valid, such that we are republishing and adding this summary note on ‘2016 key factors’:

  • Fast forward from ‘old automotive business-as-usual’ the next place we land should be more than just ‘new automotive’; specifically, the target market on MotM’s Sectorscope™ is now identified as ‘Transportation & Mobility’. 

  • Electro-Mobility is becoming mainstream, with existing and new companies being taken very seriously.
  • It’s possible that a big Establishment player – cutting corners on emissions – has given the ramping up of E-Mobility an extra nudge, but the momentum was already building.
  • The customer base is not shrinking; it’s all about accessible growth markets and our geography can now be turned to our (competitive) advantage – we are neither too small nor too remote.
  • Commercial geographies’ – production operations, supply chains and channels-to-market – will be quite distinct from the modus operandi of the first automotive century.
  • Old-style assembly locations are no longer set in stone, and new manufacturing technologies are recasting supply chains and cluster configurations.
  • There is non-stop attention paid to ‘driverless’ or ‘autonomous cars’ as a kind of cure-all and/or entry strategy to mobility markets for tech giants without an old automotive heritage.
  • The technology challenges of ‘driverless’ may be do-able with currently available or near-term solutions, but the practicalities of ‘cyber-infrastructure’, mixed traffic systems and ‘liability baggage’ carried over from conventional automotive engineering mean that large-scale ‘autonomous’ is far from a done deal.  
  • That said, Australia having invented fast Wi-Fi and the black box Flight Data Recorder, surely has great credentials as a pro-activist in the operating infrastructure for E-Mobility: hacker-proof ultra-connectivity is coming.

    "The intent of this stream is not yet another industry post mortem – we’re at where we’re at, and it doesn’t have to be all bad. The next edition will shed some light on what’s out there in our new windscreen forward vision, down the highway to wherever." 

‘Wherever’ in this case is shorthand for ‘accessible growth markets’.

 Stay tuned!    


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