Plastic injection molding is an effective way to mass produce a product or production element for your business. Whether you need a few hundred, or hundreds of thousands, of a single item, the right injection molding company can make it happen.
Before you select a custom injection molder for your project, perform a thorough evaluation for fit. To ensure you have the right production partner, we have a handful of questions that will get you started in the right direction.
7 Areas To Explore When Evaluating A Potential Plastic Injection Molder. Ask About:
First and foremost, are you looking to form a long-term relationship? If so, look for a good strategic and cultural fit with potential injection molders. Take the time to uncover the company’s professional reputation in the industry. As you can imagine, suppliers and customers will talk and in today’s world of Internet forums and review boards, it’s easier than ever to uncover tidbits that raise “red flags”.
There are over a dozen different kinds of plastics available in manufacturing. Some plastics are designed for holding chemicals while other plastics are used in food preparation. So as you can imaging, you need to discuss plastic requirements with a future plastic injection molding company.
It doesn’t do you much good to have several thousand products manufactured, only to find it is not FDA approved for your food or it does not properly hold the given chemical.
Discuss what plastic is needed for product and make sure the plastic injection molding company is able to use this form of plastic. In the case of packaging, the wrong plastic can often derail your entire operation.
Drill Down Question: How long will it take to get a quote for our project and what information do I need to provide to receive a quote?
If you your company has significant production volume requirements, you need to know what sort of production capabilities the plastic injection molding company possesses. This generally is depicted by pressure tonnage. A given machine might run anywhere from 40 to 4000 tons.
The larger the machine, the more units it can produce in a given time period (as more plastic is available to push into the mold without stopping to refill). If you need to produce a large number of units in a short period of time, make sure to discuss this production requirement with the molding company. One of the last problems you want after signing a contract is the in ability to produce the number of units you require, whereby setting your manufacturing back.
Does the potential molder have the molding capabilities you need? The variety of machine sizes available for your work may matter. Some plastic injection molders focus on smaller machines, some on larger, and others try to have a broad range of machine sizes.
A strong quality focus may be important – or maybe not. Quality-focused organizations are more likely to deliver quality products on time and at a competitive price. If quality and delivery are less important, non-ISO certified companies may have slightly lower prices – but that is not a guarantee.
Most molders will run the majority of materials available with the exception of PVC. If PVC is a requirement, be certain to confirm the ability to produce it. Also, molders may shy away from some “exotic” materials that require specialized equipment to run.
Drill Down Question: How many molding machines do you have and what are their capabilities?
Drill Down: Tell us about your parts assembly and sub assembly services.
Drill Down: Tell us about your parts decoration services.
Outside of core part production, are other capabilities required? These may include one-time projects (and expenses) like part design, prototyping, mold design and build. If the project will last multiple years then the importance of one-time expenses is diminished. Also important the need for critical secondary operations such as screen-printing, assembly, specialty packaging etc. Very few molders have all of these capabilities and virtually all molders have access to these capabilities through supplier relationships or outsourcing.
Keep in mind that sending plastic parts out for one or more, secondary operations is expensive. The outsourcing of secondary operations means parts must be packed, shipped, unpacked, performance of the secondary operation, then re-packed and re-shipped.
There are different national quality standards available for plastic injection molding. While using a company within the United States should suffice for all domestic goods, if you intend on shipping items to foreign locations, you need to make sure they hold up to international quality standards.
Even if this is a potential option down the road, knowing your finalized product meets international standards makes taking the next step to exporting your product easier. Sitting down with your potential molding company and going over global standards can pay dividends.
Drill Down: Tell us about your quality assurance program.
Drill Down Question: Are you ISO certified?
When working with a company, excellence involves more than just the finished product you receive. It is also defined by the quality customer service you receive. Maybe you have a last minute request and you need to talk with someone about it. Perhaps you have an issue with a current order. You need to know who will be working with you and how the company can support you. Depending on your project, the availability of proper customer service can be a deal breaker.
Additionally, long-term business-to-business relationships require an extra measure of pleasant, helpful customer service. If building a relationship and having access to robust customer service are not requirements for this particular project, an offshore-based molder may become an option.
Drill Down Question: What are your normal hours of operation, including availability of customer service?
Evaluating previous work is a universal requirement before signing on with a service provider. You should always ask for recommendations and examples from the prospective company. Not all plastic injection molding companies are created equal, which means some will stand out over others in terms of quality.
Look over the company’s portfolio and even feel free to contact some of their customers before signing a contract. Word of mouth recommendations can go a long way in signing with the right company, or avoiding a potential issue down the line.
Drill Down: Describe your experience in our specific industry.
Drill Down Question: How cost effective is it for you to provide custom injection molding services in the U.S. rather than China/Asia/Mexico?
Our years in the business have taught us that these 7 areas can be the most critical to explore when evaluating custom plastic injection molders. Be diligent in your evaluation process and cap it off with an extensive factory tour and don’t skip the reference checks!
About GreenLeaf: GreenLeaf Industries is an ISO 9001 registered manufacturer that consistently adheres to all its standards to provide our clients with consistent, reliable, quality automotive and industrial plastic parts.
We are an American injection molding company, unafraid to compete in the world market and determined to succeed. Established in 1999, we take pride in our high-quality craftsmanship and superior customer service. Visit us:
310 Bussell Ferry Road
Lenoir City, TN 37771