Posts by: Momentum

5 Ways That Plastic Injection Molding Companies Reduce Waste

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The reduction of waste is a challenge in all manufacturing industries. Design flaws and inefficient technology can contribute to this waste. That’s why many manufacturers take advantage of plastic injection molding. As a process, plastic injection molding makes it easier for manufacturers to produce prototype plastic parts, which in turn minimizes future product flaws, production costs, and scrap waste. 

In honor of Earth Day, we’re highlighting five ways that plastic injection molding companies help reduce worldwide waste.

1. Creating Reusable Product Designs

Design and Engineering

Plastic injection molding companies like MSI Mold use CAD (computer-aided design) software to help manufacturers develop designs that are accurate for fit, form, and function. A great deal of attention is put on the life cycle of new plastic products that are being designed. 

When designing new injection molded products, a good industrial design engineer will always consider how long the plastic molded part will need to function without being replaced. If parts are well designed, manufacturers can rework or repair them instead of replacing them. In fact, large companies that use custom injection molded parts for their products often have very specific engineers that only focus on product life cycle to reduce waste.     

2. Using Recyclable Plastics When Necessary

Recycling of raw plastic material is a very large market within the injection molding industry. In fact, injection molding manufacturers save cost and waste by using millions or billions of tons of recycled plastic every year.

colored diagram showcasing different plastic codes

Almost all plastic injection molded parts will have a recycling code molded into the part. This code indicates which type of plastic the part is made from. This helps recycling companies properly group the plastic parts within their processing.

Common recyclable thermoplastic materials include:

  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polyethyelene (PE)
  • Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
  • Nylon 6 & Nylon 66 (PA6 & PA66)

3. Using Modern Machinery & Software

Injection Molding Machine

The injection molding industry uses a wide array of machinery. The absolute best injection molders invest large amounts of capital to have the most modern machinery and software available.

By using modern machinery and software, custom plastic part manufacturers can save an immeasurable amount of manufacturing time, produce plastic parts with near zero scrap, and save 50 to 60% of the electricity needed compared to injection molding companies that use old technologies. 

At MSI Mold, we use all of the most modern equipment, and we are proud to reduce waste at every opportunity.

4. Practicing the 6S & Lean Manufacturing Methods

6S process for company. Sort, shine, sustain, standardize, set in order and safety , 6 method , vector concept .

Another way that plastic injection molding companies reduce waste is by using the 6S framework of manufacturing management that emphasizes cleanliness, efficiency, and the reduction of scrap and/or wasted human effort. 

6S stands for Sort, Straighten/Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain, and Safety. But, at its crux, the process involves eliminating inefficiencies caused by a disorderly workspace.

Injection molding manufacturers that formalize a company-wide 6S program never waste time searching for the things they need. You could describe 6S companies as “everything has a place, and everything is in its place.”

In Lean manufacturing, “waste” is not only about scrap material. Any action that does not add value to the process, to the product, or to the purchaser is considered waste. It involves analyzing different methods, collaborating between groups, and always searching for wasted time, talent, or treasure (material assets). 

When plastic injection molding companies implement 6S lean manufacturing procedures, the consumer can expect a higher quality product at a lower cost. And, injection molding manufacturers can still gain additional profit from the increased efficiency.

5. Providing Rapid Injection Molding as a Service

Custom Injection Molding

Lastly, rapid injection molding delivers production quality plastic parts with really fast lead times. This process allows manufacturers to test their ideas before full-scale production occurs. MSI Mold uses the rapid injection molding method to build customer plastic injection molds in a very short lead time. 

For the past two years, supply chain disruptions have created enormous amounts of waste for manufacturing companies. The global failure to sustain harmony within the supply networks of products and materials has led to billions of dollars wasted on expedited delivery methods and underproduction of high-demand raw materials and components.

MSI Mold helps companies avoid wasted time and money due to supply issues. Our rapid injection molding methods produce the same production quality parts with the same plastic materials as traditional production services without the wasted cost, time, and effort.

Learn More From MSI Mold Today

Expect less waste and higher quality plastic components when you partner with MSI Mold. Founded in 2005, we’re a leading American plastic injection molding company serving clients in a wide array of industries.

You can count on us for high-quality tooling designs, rapid prototyping, and custom plastic parts. We handle every mold design and manufacturing process in-house in our U.S. facilities, and never from an offshore location.

If you would like to learn more about our services and capabilities, please contact us today.

What a Career as an Injection Mold Maker Looks Like

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MSI workers in discussion

Injection mold makers have a very important role in the manufacturing industry; without them, businesses wouldn’t have the high-quality plastic molded parts and products they need.

In this article, we’ll cover what injection mold makers do and how to transfer into this great career.

What Injection Mold Makers Do

The overall duties of an injection mold maker are to design, produce, repair, and/or inspect the details of a new mold, which is what shapes a final product.

Another duty of a plastic injection mold maker is to use 3D CAD modeling software to design plastic prototype and production molds. Prototype molds serve as a tool for producing real-world examples of what the final product will look like, and can help manufacturers understand potential design changes that may be needed before production quantities are ordered.

Mold makers must also understand different types of plastic and how they behave during the injection molding process.

The Importance of This Role in Manufacturing

Many industries rely on injection mold makers to help them efficiently and accurately produce thousands of parts. Having a well-made mold ensures better production success, lowers overall costs, and ensures fewer mistakes during production. Without experienced mold makers, manufacturers risk lower quality parts and products.

Are You Qualified to Be an Injection Mold Maker?

MSI Design & Engineering

Now that you better understand what injection mold maker jobs require, you may be wondering how to pursue this type of career. Let’s look at some of the requirements you would need.

Education Requirements

A minimum of a high school diploma or GED is required for this type of job. Preferably, an injection mold maker will have an associate’s degree in a technical field, or have completed an accredited mold making apprenticeship. Basic math skills and mechanical aptitude are also a must.

Some mold makers are trained on the job and will have a minimum of two years in mold maintenance or mold making. Technical schools across the nation also offer plastic mold build training courses. The end result may be a certificate that proves you have studied the basics of machining, plastics manufacturing, and mold design.

Skill Requirements

Beyond basic education, ensure that you develop the right skills. These skills include knowledge of injection molding machines and the various types of plastics that are used in injection molding. Additionally, knowing how to read mechanical blueprints and use precision measuring devices is important.

Mold makers must also have good manual dexterity, communication skills, and the ability to work well with client representatives and coworkers. Additionally, managing your time well, problem-solving, and troubleshooting are all skills that will be of value while on the job.

Where Can You Find Plastic Injection Mold Maker Jobs?

The plastics industry is continuing to skyrocket, which means that there is no better time to start a career with MSI Mold. We’re a rapidly growing company with a family-like atmosphere, and offer a wide array of benefits, including:

MSI Mold building
  • Competitive Pay Rates
  • BCN Health Insurance
  • 3% Retirement Matching Package
  • On-the-Job Training Offered
  • Frequent 3-Day Weekends
  • Clean, Well-Lit, & Climate-Controlled Environment

Apply for an Injection Mold Maker Job Today

Apply button image

Are you searching for a plastic injection mold maker job? MSI Mold is hiring! We’ve been a trusted name in the plastics industry since 2005 and specialize in production process development, plastic part design, and tooling program management. 

Because we’re committed to maintaining a family-like environment, you can expect to learn more and grow when you work for us. Visit our careers page to learn more about our opportunities. If you have questions or would like to learn more about our work, please fill out our convenient online form.

Understanding the Cost of Injection Molding

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Understanding the Cost of Injection Molding

injection molding cost

How much does injection molding cost? ​At MSI, we want you to get a better understanding for the cost of injection molding. We’ve broken down the various cost factors associated with plastic injection molding in our blog post below.

The costs involved for manufacturing injection molded parts can be broken down into two categories. The first is a one-time cost for injection mold tooling and the second is the cost for producing your production parts.

Injection Mold Costs

Part Complexity

​The most significant factor in tooling cost for a plastic molded part is the complexity of the part. Injection molded parts with a lot of sharp corners, thin ribs or undercut features will generally be more expensive to make tooling for.

If the locations of sharp corners prevent the use of a round cutter for machining the mold features, they will require a secondary machining process called EDM machining. Likewise, rib features that require machining deeper than 1/2 inch and thinner than 1/16 inch into the mold can also require secondary EDM machining.

Undercut features on plastic part designs will always increase the cost of the plastic injection molds. Undercuts force costs into the mold design time and machining time. They can also sometimes require the molds overall size to become larger to accommodate the space needed for the “side actions” (moving parts) that form the undercut features.

Mold Construction

There are many different injection mold construction methods for endless different part shapes, and many different reasons why they all have a place at the table in the injection molding industry. But, in basic overall injection mold construction we like to simplify them into two groups: “Insert molds” and “free standing molds”. Visit our injection mold page for a good understanding of each.

Within each group there are hundreds of different styles, sizes, and complexities around the industry, but from a general cost point of view insert style molds will cost significantly less than free standing molds.

how much does injection molding cost

​Within a molds construction there are many different styles of side actions, as mentioned above, that are used to release plastic parts with undercuts during the part ejection process. The lowest cost side action method, and used by many of our competitors, is frequently called a “hand load” in our industry. Hand loads are loose parts of the mold that get ejected from the mold with the part and need to be manually removed from the part then re-inserted into the mold every molding cycle by a person.

Hand loads are a low cost tooling option to deal with undercut part features in the mold, but they increase part cost and can lead to inconsistent part quality. At MSI we prefer to use more “automatic” side actions in our molds because they allow for a faster and more consistent injection molding process which gives our customers better parts for a lower cost.

Injection molds with automatic side actions do carry a higher cost to make than hand load molds, but for any production quantities higher than a few hundred pieces the payback in part cost savings will generally wash out the added mold construction cost.

Number of Part Cavities

The number of part cavities within the mold will directly affect the price of the mold. Parts that only require a low quantity of parts per customer order will be constructed as a 1 cavity mold to produce only 1 part per machine cycle, and parts with a high quantity of parts per customer order might be constructed as a 2, 4 or 8 cavity mold producing several parts per machine cycle.

Multi-cavity molds will certainly cost more than single cavity molds, however, keep in mind that part pricing will have an inverse relationship to mold cost when considering mold cavitation and a projects total overall cost.

Part Size

Perhaps the easiest tooling cost factor to understand is the relationship between part size and mold cost because the size of a plastic part is directly related to the mold size required to produce the part. It also follows that larger molds require larger amounts of building space, larger and more expensive CNC machinery and equipment to work on them, etc.

However, there can be some crossover of the cost-to-size relationship in some cases. For example, a small injection mold with a very complex design can sometimes cost more than a larger injection mold with a very simple design.

Molded Part Costs

Material Choice and Part Weight

The plastic material selection you make for your plastic part is not only critical to the part’s function, it also plays a huge role in its cost to manufacture. Raw plastic material cost can range in price from $1 per pound to $25 per pound. So, care should be taken in plastic part design to minimize the weight of the part when possible.

Choosing the correct plastic type can also help achieve faster cycle times or production rates of your parts to reduce overall costs. For small parts the cost of the material has a small effect on the unit price and the production rate has a large effect. On larger heavier parts the cost of the material has a large effect on the unit price along with the production rate.

$ Material Part Cost = $ Plastic Material Price x Part Weight lbs

Cycle Time and Mold Cavities

“Cycle time” is a term used in our industry for both injection molding and CNC machining. In simple terms it is the amount of time required for a machine to complete one production cycle. The total injection molding cycle time is made up of the following steps:

  • mold closing time
  • injection fill time
  • injection pack/hold time
  • cooling time
  • mold opening time
  • part ejection or take out time
  • re-cycle time (which would only apply when parts must be ran in a semi-automatic mode with a machine operator)

So how does cycle time relate to part cost? Let’s discuss the primary sources of the non-material related costs for injection molding.

Non-Material Related Costs

Let’s start with the machinery and equipment. Today’s high-tech servo driven injection molding machinery is very expensive. The tonnage size rating of the machine and its surrounding support equipment will determine the overall capital investment required to run production. Small tonnage machine sizes are used for running small molds and small parts, and large tonnage machines are needed to run large molds with large parts.

Even a small injection molding machine along with its support equipment will cost near $100,000 and very large machines will cost millions of dollars. It also follows that the machinery has a finite effective life cycle because it wears out and also loses its technological advantage to newer technology over time, just like everything these days. Knowing the cost being the capital ($) investment in machinery divided by its effective life cycle (time), it’s easy to understand that translates into an hourly operational cost of ownership of the equipment.

Secondary to the capital equipment costs discussed above, would be a combination of fixed and variable costs like a factor for rent on manufacturing space, electrical power usage, etc. Through simple math these costs are also very easy to drill down into an hourly operational cost.

The sum of all non-material related hourly costs combined and calculated out with a profit margin will become what is known as “machine rate” in our industry.

Finally, here is how the simple non-material related cost of an injection molded part is determined by cycle time:

The # of units produced per hour = (3600 sec / cycle time sec) x number of mold cavities

$ Non-Material Part Cost = $ Machine Rate per hour / # of units produced per hour

Since machine rates are all very competitive across the injection molding industry, cycle time and number of cavities in the mold are two significant determining factors in the total cost of a plastic molded part.

Packaging and Extras

Two more items that can really have a big pricing effect on a molded part are packaging and extra operations. Commonly requested items like the following can increase the cost of injection molded parts:

  • Layer packing
  • Cell packing
  • Poly bagging
  • Retail packaging
  • Plating
  • Painting
  • Pad printing
  • Secondary machining

Injection Molding Cost

All of these factors combined will make up the injection molding costs involved in your project. Call or email us today to get with one of our sales engineers!