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AIM Processing Small Plastic Parts Blog

Small Plastic Part Injection Molding: Does In-House Toolmaking Limit Your Options?

[fa icon="calendar"] Jul 10, 2017 12:42:43 PM / by Jon Gelston

Small Plastic Part Injection Molding: Does In-House Tooling Limit Your Options?

One of the keys to the accurate and efficient creation of small plastic parts is having a mold that is perfectly designed for the task at hand. There was a time when toolmakers were generalists who could create a mold to meet any specs. Today, however, with advances in everything from the design of parts to the materials used to make them, that’s no longer the case.

Balancing Trade-Offs

In many of your vendor decisions, you may consider and prioritize a variety of factors.  Among them: price, leadtime, durability, precision/accuracy, and construction design to meet your dimensional or quality requirements. The first two are fairly easy to assess. The third may be supported by conformance to industry construction standards. The last two factors can usually be assessed only after you've made your purchase and anticipate your first shots, which could be too late. Saving money or time matters less if your tool doesn't perform for you.

Industry Evolution Requires Greater Specialization

As the needs of manufacturers have changed, toolmakers have had to become more specialized, selecting different blends on the price, leadtime, durability, precision, and quality map. Consequently, if the plastic injection molder you’re working with is a “one-stop shop” and creates its own molds, you may find yourself relying on a toolmaker with one particular blend of price, precision, and quality.

This isn’t to criticize the skills of “generalist” toolmakers. These are smart, experienced people who are very good at what they do. However, there are a number of benefits of working with a small plastic part injection molder like AIM that collaborates with a wide range of specialist toolmakers. For example:

  • Design expertise. The toolmakers we use have an in-depth understanding of every design aspect for the type of mold they specialize in.
  • Material insights. The experts we reach out to are always up-to-date on the latest information regarding the materials used with their type of mold.
  • Availability. When you can source molds from toolmakers anywhere in the world, you can always find someone who is available to work on your project.
  • Cost/quality balance. As with any profession, the more skilled and experienced a toolmaker is, the more they can charge for their services. Because we work with a wide range of moldmakers, we can find one for you who can deliver the quality you need at a price that’s within your budget.

A Healthcare Analogy

To compare small plastic part injection molding to medicine… your family practice doctor is a well-educated and skilled professional who knows a great deal about a whole host of medical conditions. However, if it is determined that you need open-heart surgery, your general practitioner is not the one who will be performing the procedure. And both you and your doctor are happy that there are cardiac surgeons who can do the work.

No, your plastic injection molding project is likely not a life-or-death endeavor, but you get the point. When the right result is important to you (and your customers), you want to be working with someone you’re sure can deliver it.

Calling on the Best in the Business for Your Next Project

How can our 20+ years of experience in creating top-quality small plastic parts and our network of highly skilled toolmakers help ensure that your next project is a success? Let's discuss your project details.


Talk to Our Plastic Parts Specialists!


Topics: Plastic Injection Molding

Jon Gelston

Written by Jon Gelston