Injection molding is used to produce plastic parts for different industries in a high volume. The injection molding cost may start at $100 and go up to $100,000.
When the volume and complexity of the required parts are low, the cost is low, and when the production volume is high, followed by the complexity of parts, the cost may increase.
However, when it comes to producing these plastic parts in bulk, the overall cost of injection molding may be much more affordable to consider.
The procedure of injection molding itself is a rapid and affordable method. This helps process and produce several plastic parts in no time. The production cost is mainly because of the mold used for injection molding.
The mold is also called a tool that causes the cost to increase, and also it is a leading primary component needed for the production process. As far as raw materials are concerned, the price of these raw materials is not that high compared to the tool itself.
Hence, the fixed cost of production is a costly procedure, whereas the variable costs are far much lower. Also, the fixed cost may be managed with affordability if the production volume of plastic parts is high. The more pieces produced, the more the fixed overheads will be divided.
TYPES OF COSTS IN INJECTION MOLDING
To assess the costs involved in the injection molding process, it is essential to study the cost incurred by each procedure and part used for the process. This guide will shed light on every single detail associated with the cost of injection molding.
Equipment cost is the direct cost that takes a more significant chunk in cost for injection molding. However, equipment cost depends upon the size of your injection molding tool and the required volume for the production purpose.
When the production requirement is on a smaller scale, investing in a smaller size injection molding tool is recommended. This small desktop-sized tool may easily be used at home and is low in price. If injection molding is carried out very rarely and for a lesser number of plastic parts, this tool could be a perfect choice.
However, when the requirement of injection molding is at a larger scale, with a very high production volume, the machine needs to be significant. The bigger the machine, the more are the costs associated with it.
These massive machines are used for industrial injection molding processes, and they may range between $50,000 and may go up to $200,000 when it comes to the price assessment. Also, it is not just the investment in machines that counts; there are also other costs associated with these machines.
The injection molding machines used at the industrial level are also equipped with a labor cost. In order to operate these machines, labor would also be needed. Similarly, repair and maintenance costs, service costs and monitoring costs are also associated.
MOLD COSTS (TOOLING COSTS)
Mold costs are also an essential part to consider when assessing the cost of the injection molding process. These costs are dependent upon three most important aspects, and these are discussed below:
Since molds are a prime requirement of an injection molding process, the mold’s production is essential. Also, the mold should be according to the complex requirements of the part itself.
CNC machining is used to manufacture these molds; the molds made from this process are primarily manufactured using stainless steel and aluminum materials. In order to manufacture these molds, complex cavity designs are needed.
In many instances, many changes may be required to meet the criteria of the complexity of the model. In this case, manufacturing a mold slows down and ends up costing more than required. In order to operate this machine, labor is also required, and this even increases the operational costs.
ELECTRICAL DISCHARGE MACHINING (EDM)
EDM is based on working with a mechanism of passing electrical charges to create a highly complex mold. The molds that are created using EDM usually are the ones that are not supported by the standard processes.
EDM involves a lot of costs, and it works with an electrode-based tool used over a workpiece to create a cavity of the mold for being used in injection molding. The charges are mainly responsible for creating the mold design as required.
This process is used widely on the industrial level due to the nature of its complexity and also the costs involved. It is suitable for being used for high volume production of plastic parts.
The most affordable, quick and easiest technique to consider when looking forward to the molds of injection molding amounts to be 3D printing. It is based on the principle of working on stereolithography and is a speedy and affordable procedure.
Molds with a high level of complexity may also be created using the 3D printing technique. The manufacturer of products may then use these molds through injection molding. The best thing about choosing this method for injection molding is the ease associated with it.
3D printing won’t require additional operational costs or other inexpensive equipment investments. It is a reasonably good process, and within no time, it creates molds for the injection molding process.
3D printing would be suitable for small scale injection molding and large scale. It means that it may be considered for the production of industrial level and may be considered for production through desktop setup.
In several instances, it has been observed that usually, companies end up outsourcing the task of manufacturing molds. That is because the investment in equipment is high, and associated costs may cause many problems.
If these methods are incorporated in-house, trained and experienced staff would also be needed to operate this equipment. Hence, this also adds to the cost; however, if these molds may be made in-house, the cost would be less. Outsourcing would be an expensive option to avoid hassle and defects in the mold design businesses opting to outsource.
However, 3D printing has resolved many concerns of businesses that work in the injection molding industry. Since the procedure is simple, less costly and hassle-free, it allows people to create highly complex molds in-house and that too at a reasonable price.
INJECTED MATERIAL COST
Injection molding is dependent on two things: one is the mold, and the second is the material used. Therefore, when assessing the cost, the cost of material is also an important aspect to consider.
There are plenty of options to choose from for injection molding. Among those several options, the common ones are ABS, polystyrene, polyoxymethylene, polythene, polypropylene, nylon, etc.
The material cost starts from $1 usually and goes to $5 for a kg. The choice of material required is also a significant concern on which the cost is dependent. The kind of product that has to be manufactured decides the kind of material used.
Every plastic part is designed keeping in mind the properties required by it, and the same properties tend to reflect in the material while selecting injection molding.
LABOR OR SERVICE COSTS
The latest machinery used in the injection molding process is mainly automated. The molten plastic is poured into the mold in an automated process. Also, the other techniques used for mold designing, like 3D printing, CNC machines, etc., depend on the CAD software.
However, still, certain labor costs may be required. The cost of monitoring the process also involves labor, and also set-up costs and repair costs may be included under this one. Also, the machinery may sometimes need repairs of the defective or damaged parts, which adds to the cost.
The elimination of staff is not possible totally; a supervisor or an operator would be required to start and stop the process and look after the work. Also, machinery is subjected to a lot of repair and maintenance, and hence this also needs to be taken into account.
INJECTION MOLDING COST OVERVIEW
Injection molding costs depend on the equipment, material, labor, and service and maintenance costs. Among these, mold costs are also one of the main concerns that add up whether the mold is manufactured in-house or outsourced.
The best way to control the cost of injection molding is to ensure that the production volume is high. As higher will be the production volume, the cost per unit of the product will start decreasing.
Although outsourcing mold manufacture is also costly, sometimes that’s the only solution since in-house manufacturing is also expensive. On the other hand, for areas where the production of plastic parts is high, these outsourced costs also tend to get divided and won’t feel too expensive.
VARIABLES THAT IMPACT THE INJECTION MOLD COST
The cost of tools makes the process of injection molding an expensive one. The cost of products that come out using injection molding is also very much dependent upon the production volume.
Injection molding is a process in which the molds take time to cool down; the earlier they cool down the part, the quicker will move the rest of the production. Hence, it is essential to focus on the cooling factor while manufacturing the mold.
Manual cooling may not be possible in all cases except when the process is done with low production volume using a 3D printing technique for molds. Hence, to repeat the production cycle, it is imperative to have the mold manufacturer with a quicker cooling intent.
There are also other factors as well that tend to have an impact on the variable cost of injection molding and are discussed below:
Part size is responsible for identifying the variable cost of injection molding. A minor part requires a smaller mold, and the smaller sized mold will also cost less. Smaller parts also solidify quickly, and hence the production cycle repeats quickly.
However, for the larger sized parts, the production cycle takes time to be repeated because the process of cooling and solidification is prolonged. Moreover, the cost of these more giant molds may be high, which even adds to the variable cost of production.
It is a reality that a complex design requires a complex level of expertise and hence a higher expense. So, when it comes to injection molding, the complex parts would require a complex mold tool, and manufacturing them will be expensive.
If you consider the mold used for the injection molding, you will find the two sides to the mold, side A and side B. Side A is the face of the mold, which is smooth with its surface and side B has all the details and complex structure.
In the case of side A and side B, being complex in their making would also cost more in manufacturing. Whereas, if the simpler molds are used, their expense is far less than the complex ones.
Production volume is also the main concern determining the cost of injection molding. When it comes to producing smaller components in a small space, it could be done with 3D printed molds and is a cheaper means.
However, complex and more significant parts required to be manufactured in bulk may need industrial level processes. This requires huge machinery and tools with suitable complex molds and hence is an expensive way out.
However, even if the parts are complex but in a large volume, the cost divided among the parts and per-unit cost is low.
PART VOLUME AND CAVITIES
The mold cavity is also a consideration that determines the cost of injection molding. When the cavity is higher in number or the depth of the cavity is more, the solidification time will also be more, and hence the process will slow down.
The slow injection molding process always leads to an increased cost because the number of parts produced tends to decrease.
REDUCING INJECTION MOLDING COSTS
Many ways may be considered to reduce the cost of injection molding; a few of these ways are discussed here:
- Try to be as efficient as possible in terms of designing the mold. The simpler your mold is, the lesser your injection molding cost. Try to eliminate the sharp geometric corners and designs that require time and detailing in mold production.
- You can consider using a universal mold instead of investing in different molds at a time. This, however, requires a very clever approach to product design so that you can play on reducing the cost of the mold.
- Try to eliminate the unnecessary features on the mold. The more you cut down on those features, the simpler your design and less cost of mold would be. Moreover, the fewer features there are, the quicker the solidification process would be, and hence a cost cut would be enjoyed in this case.
Injection molding is a pervasive process and needs to be up to the mark. In case of an affordable choice, Bohaorapid may be a suitable solution to offer its clients the best outcomes at a reasonable price.