If you have a new plastic project in mind, one of the first things you’re likely to wonder is, “What will it cost to create this small plastic part?” In order to answer your question, an injection molder will need to know a little more. Though you may not have precise answers, even educated guesses can help shape an accurate quote so you can explore your options.
What the Shop Will Need to Know
While producing a quote for a new plastic project almost always requires some back and forth, you can simplify the process by being prepared to answer these questions when you start a dialog with your plastic injection molding shop:
- What is the function of the part and its critical features or cosmetic needs? Knowing how a part will be used gives the shop a general sense of how it should be produced. For example, will it involve inserts or overmolding? A logo orlettering? Secondary services? Does it mate with another part? What are the cosmetic surfaces? The more details you can provide, the better. Even if you don't have answers, a shop should be able to help coach you through the decisions.
- Do you have 3-D CAD models and/or sample parts? Once the shop understands the general purpose of the part, it’s time to get into the specifics. CAD models are very helpful when it comes to generating a quote, by estimating the amount of material needed, and visualizing the part we can significantly reduce guesswork.
- What do you think expected annual use (EAU) will be and what is the longevity of the program? This can feel like the hardest question, because of so much uncertainty and/or optimism, but even vague estimates will help. Rather than thinking about the single "correct" answer, think about scenarios. These scenarios will help select the tooling that will meet the right mix of upfront cost, production part cost, and reliability as the years wear on. If you have aggressive cost needs or high volume, multiple cavities will be necessary, but those will cost more upfront. If you are limited in upfront capital and very uncertain of market adoption, perhaps single cavity tooling would be better to test the market. If your program is destined to last for millions of cycles, hardened steel and special features would be appropriate to make sure your tooling can go the distance. A shop should be able to talk through why they made the recommendations or selections that they did. These are some of the easiest corners to cut and can hurt you in the long-run, so be leery of the low price without asking more questions.
- What type or types of resin do you expect to use? While the shop can provide helpful insight on the right plastic and additives to use for your project, it’s wise to have done some initial research on your own before you request a quote. A little bit of background can help you better understand the thoughts they share with you. For a recent blog on the topic, click here.
- What’s your timeline for delivery of the parts and production? Businesses often want to be responsive by offering short timelines to win business. Customers want to have their expectations met, but can feel disappointed when the timeline is overcommitted. Understanding that there can be a difference between "first-parts" and "production-ready" parts will help you develop the timeline that meets your goals and leave you feeling satisfied.
Kicking Off with Confidence
A final key to producing accurate quotes is experience. Although every project is unique, over time, plastic injection molding veterans like we have on our team develop a strong sense of how things will play out and can provide highly accurate cost estimates. If you need a quote on your next project, give Aim Processing a call.