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How to Reduce Injection Mould Manufacturing Cost?

In recent years, the manufacturing cost of injection moulds has continuously increased, so how to reduce the cost of injection moulds has become the hot topic that we discuss. Therefore, this article tries to analyze from the various aspects of mould manufacturing, in order to reduce the cost of injection mould manufacturing. Quality, price, cycle and service are 4 major factors that mould producers and users are very concerned about. In recent years, mainly due to the continuous increase in labor costs and rising raw material energy prices, resulting in injection mould manufacturing costs are also raising, and opposite of this, the profit rate of injection moulding company is constantly falling. Some injection moulding manufacturer reflect that the quality and level of some injection moulds currently produced are worse than they were five years ago. This is really puzzling: In the past five years, there has been a lot of technological progress. How does the quality level drop? They explained that because some users (or injection mould purchasers) unilaterally and simply demanded price reductions, they were indifferent to the injection mould quality level, so they had to be forced to use low-priced materials, low-grade mould standard parts, and unreasonable simplification of the injection mould structure. Use the methods of reducing the manufacturing process and processing costs to deal with. Therefore, it is not that injection moulding companies can’t produce high-quality and high-level injection moulds. Although this phenomenon exists in the injection moulding industry, this kind of abnormally low-cost manufacturing can’t be promoted, and should be guided correctly and suppressed. Therefore, promoting low-cost manufacturing under the premise of ensuring and improving the quality and level of injection mould.

Analyze manufacturability, reasonably determine mould type and structure, and select injection mould materials as needed.
Now most users will provide injection mould companies with digital information when ordering moulds. However, companies that use moulds are often not familiar with moulds, and they don’t take into consideration the manufacturability when designing products. Therefore, phenomena such as poor consideration on craftsmanship or even impossible manufacturing may occur from time to time. In order to avoid repetition and waste in injection mould design and injection mould manufacturing process, the injection mould manufacturer should conduct manufacturability analysis before the mould design to ensure the design and manufacturing success. After that, the mould type and structure should be determined. Starting from reducing costs and under the premise of meeting user’s requirements, rapid economy moulds, aluminum alloy moulds, cast iron mould frames, etc. should all be considered. Clever structure can sometimes significantly reduce mould manufacturing cost. In addition, the correct selection of materials is also very important. So in addition to the user specified, we should follow the principle of selecting the most suitable material. The use of high-grade materials for the manufacture of middle and low-grade moulds will increase the cost and cause waste. The corresponding heat treatment should be combined considered with the technical requirements and materials. Therefore, it is also advisable to use low-melting point alloys, aluminum materials or processed plastics, resins to manufacture moulds under the premise of meeting user’s requirements.

Shortening injection mould manufacturing cycle from all aspects.
Shortening injection mould manufacturing cycle is not only user's request, but also a common pursuit of injection moulding companies. Because in general, for injection mould companies, shortening the injection mould manufacturing cycle means improving efficiency and reducing costs. Injection mould production can generally be divided into several major stages of design, processing, assembly and debugging, so we must seize the key links of each stage, so as to effectively shorten the entire injection mould production cycle.
  • Shortening mould design time: today, Computer Aided Design (CAD) has become popular. Therefore, it is critical to select software, use software, and gradually popularize 3D software. So accumulating experience, electronicizing knowledge, and building databases have become very important. The use of CAD rapid design and optimization techniques combined with computer-aided analysis (CAE) technology and the use of mould-specific software to push design work forward are some of the most effective methods. Engaging and participating in product development in advance and designing with the mould users can not only advance the mould design work, greatly shorten the preparation time for the mould production technology, but also make injection mould and injection moulded products more rational, avoiding phenomenon of repeated production due to the modification of product by mould user and the poor processability of product.
  • To achieve digitalization manufacturing and informatization management: it is trend to use high technology and informatization to transform and upgrade traditional industries and do a good job of deep fusion of industrialization and informatization. CAD / CAE / CAM integration technology, C3P, C4P, KBE technology, mould flexible manufacturing (FMS) and automated processing technology, all rely on digitalization. Reverse engineering, concurrent engineering, agile manufacturing and virtual manufacturing (including virtual design, virtual machining, virtual assembly, and even the formation of virtual enterprises and virtual reality, etc.) also rely on digitalization. Therefore, digitization is the key that mould manufacturing from "experience" to "science". Realizing digital manufacturing can not only shorten manufacturing cycle and reduce costs, but more importantly, it can improve the quality, precision and reliability of injection mould. Doing a good job in informatization and realizing informatization management are another important topic for injection moulding manufacturer. Informatization management of injection moulding company has evolved from past financial management to process management, product data management, project management, manufacturing process management, knowledge base management, product life cycle management, cost management, e-commerce and resource management, etc. Advanced and convenient barcode and chip technologies and management software for single-piece, small-batch production have been used in the informatization management of injection mould companies. Good application of informatization management can not only greatly shorten the production cycle of moulds and reduce costs, but also improve the management level and efficiency of entire enterprise. Now, the development and application level of enterprise informatization has become a significant indicator of a company's overall competitiveness. Intelligentization, integration, and networking have also become the development direction of informatization.
  • Advanced technology and details: high-speed machining, including high-speed cutting and high-speed electrical machining, is an effective method for injection mould industry to shorten the mould production cycle. Statistics show that high-speed cutting combined with CAD/CAM technology can shorten the mould manufacturing cycle by about 40%. CNEDM-attached robot can increase the productivity by 50% and reduce the cost by 30%. Use robots to install workpieces, use appropriate high-quality tools and fixtures, select suitable cutting fluids, electrical processing media, and lubricating fluids, use corrosion-resistant and low-loss electrode materials, and rapidly fabricate electroforming electrodes based on RP technology combined with special processing techniques. Spark mixed powder processing, as well as the application of rapid prototyping technology and rapid tooling technology, can effectively shorten the mould production cycle. Finishing and assembly and debugging have a great influence on injection mould manufacturing cycle. Reducing the time of finishing and assembly and debugging, and gradually increased the ratio of machine-clamps (ie, the ratio of machine-working hours to bench-worker hours), and gradually developed numerically-controlled automatic polishing techniques and digital simulation test-mode debugging techniques as well as compound processing, flexible processing, automation and intelligence processing technology, etc. Chemical processing technology, etc., can effectively shorten injection mould production cycle, and is beneficial to improve the level of injection mould quality.
  • Standardization and standard parts: statistics show that the standardization of injection moulds is well done, and mould standard parts are widely used, which can shorten the injection mould production cycle by 30% to 40%. In terms of standards, in addition to national standards and industry standards, it is more important for injection moulding companies to establish their own enterprise standards. This is because standards are the foundation. Digitalization manufacturing and standardized automated production are even rely on standards. The practice of many companies also proves that standardization can significantly increase labor productivity and shorten the injection mould production cycle. Therefore, to do a good job of standardization and establish various standardized systems are very important for the development of injection mould manufacturer.

"Specialization, precision, characteristic", social collaboration and corporate culture.
According to the Chinese standards for the classification of industrial enterprises, the vast majority of injection mould manufacturing companies are small and medium-sized enterprises, and large enterprises are less than one-thousandth. For the majority of small and medium-sized enterprises, it is of utmost importance to do precision, special, new, strong and effective. China is also vigorously supporting " Specialization, precision, characteristic " companies. " Specialization, precision, characteristic " can reduce costs and produce benefits, and also can improve the quality of products, can promote the transformation and upgrading of enterprises, and promote technological progress and industry development. Professional division of labor is continuously refined with the progress and development of society. As the specialization of division of labor continues to refine, social collaboration becomes more and more extensive. For injection mould manufacturing, it is self-evident that the extensive division of specialized division of labor and social collaboration can reduce costs, improve efficiency and benefit. However, the key is how to act. In addition to the previous outsourcing associations and processing processes and other external associations, the combination of production, study, and research, the formation of various industrial alliances, technology outsourcing, and the use of public service platforms are gradually emerging. As long as they are used well, these can also reduce the cost of injection mould manufacturing. Individual design and single-piece manufacturing for a specific user is one of the characteristics of injection mould production. Because the requirements of different moulds are different, different processes and different equipment must be used to adapt to them. Therefore, even though attention has been paid and social cooperation has been carried out, the utilization rate of certain equipment of injection mould manufacturing company is low, and the phenomenon of some links become bottleneck is still relatively common. At this time, the company's managers must take effective measures based on analysis and research to maximize equipment utilization and eliminate "bottleneck" as soon as possible. With the development of technology and social progress, now and in the future, it is necessary to gradually create good moulds without relying on skills; mould manufacturing gradually realizes a high degree of automation. Mould delivery time is getting shorter and shorter, and the cost of injection moulds will be getting lower and lower.

Finally, I think we should also analyze the relationship between low-cost manufacturing of injection moulds and low-cost production of mould users. Reducing injection mould manufacturing cost can generally reduce the production cost of the mould user. The two should be the same, but there is not only a degree of problem, but also a question of a reasonable match between the two. The so-called "degree" is to reduce the injection mould manufacturing cost, and it can’t be excessive. Reducing the manufacturing cost of injection mould must be carried out without reducing the quality level of injection mould and meeting the requirements of mould user. The core of the question of a reasonable match between the two is to comprehensively consider that the mould should give the user the greatest benefit. If the product requirements are low or the batch size is small, then the cost of injection mould is should be also low or even lower. However, if the product has high requirement or the batch volume is large, so that we can’t simply pursue the low cost of injection mould. This creates a question of a reasonable match. For example, a set of conventional moulds and a set of hot runner moulds can both meet the requirements of the user to produce a certain amount of qualified injection moulded parts. From the mould cost alone, the conventional moulds are lower in price than the hot runner, and it seems to be advantageous, but view from the total cost of the user's production, due to the use of hot runner mould not only ensure product quality, but also the production efficiency and raw material utilization can be greatly improved. So view from the user's overall total cost, using hot runner moulds that are much more expensive than conventional moulds can actually reduce more production costs. The key here is a reasonable match. Therefore, injection mould companies should pay more attention to the interests of user companies when striving to reduce the cost of injection mould manufacturing. Making reasonable match recommendations, and often communicating and negotiating with users. All are fully considered and jointly decide on the most reasonable plan.

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