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.