Injection Molding Tooling Tips- The Key To Success

August 24, 2018

Is Your Design Sabotaging You... A high-quality injection molding tool is one of the most important factors in producing a high-quality plastic product. Companies often go with the lowest cost tooling option because the initial investment in a steel tool takes a huge chunk out of your budget. The problem is you’ll pay for it in the end in broken tools and unusable parts.

A bad tool sometimes has nothing to do with how the tool was manufactured, but how the part was designed. A poorly designed part can cause bad steel conditions resulting in part warpage, sink, drag marks, and much more. It can even weaken the steel, causing tool damage. The tool manufacturer won’t care because they technically built the tool you requested, and an injection molding manufacturer will not want your program because it will be impossible for them to run parts that meet your quality standards. This leaves you with time consuming options: pay for costly tool maintenance, modifications or, in some cases, build a new tool.

The best way to avoid issues with your injection molding tool is to start working early with a contract manufacturer that has the expertise to look at all aspects of your product, including assembly and secondary applications. Design for manufacturability (DFM) engineers and tooling design engineers can assess your product to:

  • Determine whether the current part design is manufacturable. Draft and radii may be required for your part to help the tool perform at its best. Check out our Injection Molding Design Tips
  • Address areas that will cause part warpage and sink
  • Highlight areas that will cause unnecessary costs because side actions will be required
  • Discuss opportunities for insert molding or overmolding if applicable
  • Provide mold flow analysis
  • Assist in resin selection

Some applications may require a bridge – or quick turn - tool, but that’s not always the case. By working with the manufacturer you plan to scale production with early in the design stages, you may find that you can avoid this step altogether by focusing on DFM and mold flow analysis. You could be incurring unnecessary costs on prototype runs and spending money on a design that may not even be manufacturable for high-volume production because of inefficiencies.

When prototype parts are required and bridge tooling is necessary, it's even more important to work with a trusted manufacturing partner. The cheapest option may not address critical part design changes to run a healthy long-term program; good prototype parts do not guarantee the tool design is good enough to withstand production volumes. When working with your manufacturing partner, there is an opportunity to collaborate and address those potential issues while also learning from the prototype tool.

At Cadrex, our DFM and tooling engineers have decades of experience providing part design and tooling solutions for many different industries. We provide in-house tooling design and work with trusted domestic and international suppliers to manufacture production tools. Once the tool is in production, our tooling team provides required maintenance to keep the tool performing at its best. Why do we have these experts in-house? Our answer is simple: we are selfish. A well-designed tool benefits us because we can produce quality parts and keep our customers happy.