Is Low Volume Injection Molding Really Cost Effective?
The rapid technological innovations being witnessed across the globe, have led to various industrial changes: both in a negative and positive way. One such industrial segment affected by this is the production process. While there are various procedures being adopted by various stakeholders in this sector, there is one that stands out; the low volume injection molding. However, this procedure is yet to be greatly adapted due to the various assumptions going around. For instance, some manufacturers believe that it’s a high-cost process that should only be used in high volume productions. But are these assumptions really accurate? Let’s weigh it down.
The Injection Molding Materials
When compared to the popular 3D printing, this process offers manufacturers several options when it comes to material use. Anything from glass-filled nylon, Santoprene to polypropylene is good for use. Also, users get to play around with a wide range of additives and fillers, something that they couldn’t with other similar procedures.
For instance, some experts argue that if you use aluminum as your molding as your preferred molding material, then there are greater chances of saving more cash and meeting your goals pretty fast. Therefore, typically, the materials you select for use will greatly influence your productivity and efficiency. There are also those suitable for high-temperature plastics such as Ultem.
Single Cavity Vs. Multi-Cavity Molds; Which Is Better?
If you’re an engineer and is aspiring to incorporate the use of injection molding in your work, you have to first decide as to whether you will go work with the single cavity mold or the multi-cavity ones. Making this decision is pretty simple as you will be properly guided by the number of parts you would like to produce. However, the only major difference between the two is their production rate, with the multi-cavity molds being pretty fast in mass uniform productions as compared to a single cavity.
On the other hand, a single cavity is quite economical when it comes to long-term spread productions as it’s less expensive and effective in its own ways. Additionally, when choosing between the two, you also need to focus on the future as seen if your production needs are bound to increase. If yes, then you should invest in the multi-cavity once and for all.
On-Demand Manufacturing and Injection Molding
Anyone in the On-demand business will gladly confirm that flexibility lies at the center of its success. Hence, the increase in the adoption of the low volume plastic molding process in this sector doesn’t come as a surprise. This is because unlike most belief, this method offers much more than prototyping. It goes ahead to stretch its efficiency in areas surrounding supply chain emergencies and plans dealing with end-of-life.
Unlike the past where customers used to own their tools, nowhere days manufacturers are doing this on their behalf, while meeting their needs. In other words, you as a customer doesn’t have to incur extra costs such as those of maintenance and storage. All you need to do is keep ordering your molds from your trusted supplier, that too at an agreeable cost. The duration of the process depends on the package you choose.
Any Unique Qualities of Low-Volume Manufacturing?
Well, there has to be a reason as to why this procedure stand out, right?
1: Works To Bridge Gaps
Low-volume manufacturing is also famously referred to as ” Bridge Manufacturing”. The reason behind this could be because it enhances the production of large quantity supplies that surpasses that of the prototype. But then it doesn’t cross the full-scale mass production line. So in other words, it connects small and upcoming manufactures to established ones without interfering with each of their works. Its versatility is also on another level, thus very beneficial for their various customers.
2: Maximizes On The Use Of Various Materials
As we had earlier on mentioned, this production method does incorporate the use of various materials. Most of which aren’t hardened. However, this doesn’t mean it compromises on quality. On the contrary, there is a guarantee of durability even with its “soft” aluminum molds.
3: Incorporates Various Processes
You can use this manufacturing alternative with both 3D printing and plastic injection molding. All these depending on your needs and of course budget at hand.
Any Benefit of Low-Volume Manufacturing?
Since the process considers all factors, it’s evident that the type of material you use and the manufacturing tool at hand can greatly impact the final cost per part. Therefore, if you thought that high mass production automatically leads to a reduction in the total cost per part, then it’s time to reconsider your options. For example, a steel mold might be such a reliability if you aren’t considering rapid mass production in the near future. So why invest in something that you won’t even need over time? It’s better instead, to work with the soft materials that equally guarantee durability, don’t you think?
The Number Of Orders
If you’re considering high-volume production, then you better be ready for unnecessary mold expenses and high requirements of minimal orders. This could be a total waste of resources, especially if you won’t be using the molds right away. So, in the long run, it will be more expensive than you anticipated as you won’t see any tangible savings in a short time. So if taking this into consideration, then low-volume production might be the best option for your small-scale business.
When you settle for an aluminum mold, you not only save on costs, but also get to enjoy a quick turn-around. First, you don’t have to depend on durability enhancers and the production requirements are simple. So, in the end, you get more molds within the shortest time possible and get enough time to market and conduct timely deliveries. And you simply start enjoying the profit of your labor almost right away!
From the above-detailed aspects of the Low Volume production, we can confidently conclude that; yes, Low-Volume Injection Molding is cost effective. You benefit from various aspects in terms of the low production costs, quick turnaround time and faster delivery to your customers. But then, you still have to research to see if it’s suitable for your product and business needs.
Image Credits: Injection Molding from Moreno Soppelsa/Shutterstock