Main Factors

There are a variety of factors that contribute to the considerable initial investment required to produce an injection molding tool. It’s one of the most expensive steps in the new product development process. The two primary considerations are material and engineering costs.

1. Materials

Most importantly and unavoidably, the materials required to withstand injection molding are expensive. The two main options are aluminum and steel. There are important differences between the two, and depending on the project either one can be a viable option. Aluminium is cheaper. This makes it a desirable option for many of our customers. If you anticipate a limited production run, it might be right option for you. However, aluminum tools give out faster. In general, when an aluminum mold would yield 1000 pieces, a steel mold would yield 1,000,000. Other factors might influence the lifespan of a tool.

2. Engineering

The other primary influence on cost is the skill and time required to design the tool itself. It is widely understood that a more complex tool is more expensive to product. Not because of the actual milling of the tool itself, that is done by CNC machining. The reason for the higher price tag on a complex tool is the time it takes to engineer and design it. The importance of having your tool designed and engineered by an experience designer or team of designers can not be overstated. A well designed tool made of the right material can product millions of pieces. Unfortunately, some designers and entrepreneurs insist on designs that are unstable. Some common unstable elements of a tool include lifters and sliders. As their names suggests, lifters and sliders are moving parts within a tool used to isolate a specific part. As with most moving parts within any system, they tend to break before anything else. We highly recommend against the use of moving parts within a tool. In addition, a simple and effective tool will yield the best results in a production run.

What can I do to minimize tooling cost?

  • Avoid moving parts
  • Keep it simple without compromising functionality
  • Use the right material
  • Hire a design team that are experts in DFM

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