No longer can shops make it as mere Mom and Pop injection molders. To be competitive in a tough economy takes more than just pumping out parts. Some production houses find sticking to custom work the best approach. Whether it is for 3D printing, machining or injection molding, the success of high-production shops such as ours depends on establishing and maintaining good relationships with customers. This is important because sometimes critical elements of a design were overlooked from a manufacturing point-of-view.
In some cases, a customer might bring in five parts it wants to injection mold. Because our shop has lots of flexibility, providing 3D printing, machining and injection molding, our engineers can inform customers that three of the parts are great for injection molding, but two of them would be less expensive to machine. As in other custom shops, many of our engineers have 10 to 30 years experience.
Custom shops can also verify designs as well as suggest changes that might cut a customer’s tooling costs by thousands of dollars, as well as improve the life of the tool.
Tooling might range from a simple aluminum insert, which eliminates the need to build a full tool, to multi-cavity high-production molds. Aluminum inserts provide quick change flexibility and can run upwards of 10,000 to 50,000 parts depending on part design and material. Multi-cavity tooling comes into play for runs of around 100,000 parts. Using families of tools lets injection molders get as many parts in one mold as possible and run them all in a set.
Custom shops shine at unusual jobs such as one we ran recently for the Library of Congress. The job entailed injection molding 30,000 capsules and lids to store sound recordings that date back 150 years.
We see a lot of interest in and a demand for shops that can provide high production and multiple manufacturing options. We see shops continuing to increase their flexible manufacturing capabilities into the future.