As part of our due diligence process prior to appointing a manufacturer, we recently visited a plastic injection moulding company based in the UK.
Whilst many of our projects are manufactured off shore (Usually China), sometimes this isn’t the preferred route. In this instance, the customer valued the ability to visit their supplier quickly and easily, and felt this was worth paying a little extra for. Surprisingly when the costings came back, the part price to mould in the UK was actually lower than a Chinese competitor. Shipping and lead time were also, not surprisingly, reduced.
But what should you look for when finding a plastic injection moulder? Its easy to get fixated with finding the lowest cost. From experience, we would recommend comparing the following;
- Lead time
- Who will own the tool?
- Who will fix it if a fault occurs?
- How many ‘shots’ is it guaranteed for?
- What material is it made from? Aluminium? P20 steel? Fully hardened steel?
- How many units could theoretically be produced in a given period of time?
- Prices at different order quantities appropriate to your plans
- Lead time
- Shipping costs
- Assembly costs (if you wish to receive assembled units)
- How will it be supplied to you? (packaged for sale, loose in a box, etc)
- Do the company use raw materials that meet your specifications?
- Can they show you examples of other products they make that match your quality expectations?
We would always recommend supplying a set of manufacturing drawings, which clearly state tolerances, surface finish, and acceptable places for material feed points and ejector pins.