No stranger to growth in the past, the global injection molded plastic market is anticipated to continue its upward trajectory, with a compound annual growth rate of close to 4% through 2030. Industries of all types, from automotive to consumer electronics, industrial equipment and medical or industrial usage rely on injection molded components and parts to retain their cost competitiveness and to maintain innovation.
Due to this increased demand, companies that want to keep their competitive edge when launching new products created with injection molding must exercise speed and agility. This is especially true considering that the time to market for new products has become further and further compressed. Early engagement with a full-service plastic injection molding company can streamline your development process and accelerate your time to market.
Here are six ways full-service injection molding companies can help your business reduce time to market for new products.
- Design Assistance
Have you ever experienced making samples of a new product on a 3-D printer and then being told that the product was not manufacturable? By engaging a plastics partner in the initial stages of your design you can save hours of effort.
An injection molding expert like Ferriot can provide input on what design features are possible from a manufacturing standpoint. This will allow you to design with manufacturability in mind and save hours of effort by eliminating the number of design iterations required.
Product design input can impact mold creation as well, considering that a standard mold can take up to six weeks’ time, while a more complex mold might take eight to ten weeks. A simplified product design shortens the mold lead time. Your selected injection molding company or partner should be an integral part of a collaborative process with all stakeholders in new product development.
- Custom Mold Manufacturing
Designing an injection mold is a blend of artistry and scientific precision. A seasoned tooling engineer can provide indispensable guidance to achieve an ideal mold design and to streamline the development phase.
Our staff can evaluate various design aspects, exploring strategies for incorporating:
- Part features: Part features refer to the specific characteristics and details of the product that are essential for its functionality and appearance. These can include dimensions, surface finishes and the overall part shape and wall thickness. Evaluating part features helps ensure that the final product meets the intended design and performance requirements.
- Holes: Holes in the product design serve various purposes, such as accommodating fasteners, allowing for fluid passage, or serving as ventilation openings. Properly positioned and sized holes are essential to ensure the functionality of the product and can also impact the molding process, affecting factors like mold cooling and ejection.
- Recessed elements: Recessed elements are features that are set below the surface of the product. These could be pockets, grooves, or indentations. Evaluating recessed elements is crucial to ensure that they can be accurately reproduced in the injection molding process without defects or imperfections.
- Windows: Windows typically refers to transparent or translucent parts in a product. These areas may require special attention in the design to achieve the desired optical clarity, strength, and resistance to scratches or distortion. Proper evaluation of windows ensures that the final product meets visual and functional requirements.
- Inserts: Inserts are additional components that are placed within the part either during the molding process or afterward. These are used to aid in product assembly. These can include metal parts, fasteners, or reinforcement elements. Evaluating inserts involves assessing their compatibility with the molding process and ensuring that they are securely bonded to the molded part.
The main goal is to create a mold that may decrease the need for extra manufacturing steps in the future.
- Injection Molding Process Options
By consulting a plastics specialist, you can receive valuable insights on the manufacturing capabilities of your design. The outcome of this consultation will enable companies to create a design that is easier to manufacture. One goal is to reduce the amount of time and effort spent on multiple design revisions. Choose a company with various injection molding processes to increase the likelihood of finding the ideal process to create your part.
These processes can include:
The time it takes to bring new products to market has continued to decrease. By getting involved early with a plastics partner who offers comprehensive services, you can make your development process more efficient and speed up the time it takes to launch your product.
Highly skilled and knowledgeable engineers will adhere to established testing procedures, such as FMEA methods, and employ appropriate testing tools to validate components. Every process has its own unique characteristics that can meet specific product requirements. An experienced plastic collaborator can assist in identifying the ideal technique to deliver a high-quality component.
- Value-Added Finishing Services
Value-added services, such as assembly, pad printing, ultrasonic insertion, hot stamping, painting, or EMI/RFI shielding, are typically necessary for most plastic parts. Choosing a plastic manufacturer that offers these services in-house can streamline the production process, reducing the time it takes to create a finished product by several weeks. When secondary processes can be performed by the molder, cost savings can also be achieved, since some of the work can be incorporated during molding in the press or by the operator in the molding cell. In addition to cost savings through efficiencies, it is more economical to have the work done at the molder’s location saving additional freight cost to ship to another location to have the work completed. This can take weeks out of the lead time to produce a finished part.
- Contract Manufacturing
Utilizing a plastics partner that can also source components and provide assemblies can simplify the OEM’s manufacturing process and drive cost savings. The right partner can provide supply line development and management, by building longstanding relationships with qualified suppliers.
Longstanding relationships with reliable suppliers can help source materials in a cost-effective manner, while also factoring in material availability and logistics. This reduces the supply chain risk for the OEM. In addition, assembly capability under one roof provides cost savings by eliminating additional shipping and assembly cost.
- Total Quality Management
Engaging with a plastics specialist can help your company achieve optimum efficiency and profit while producing quality parts. Whether you are taking a product from concept to completion or transferring an existing mold project, effective quality management practices are an important factor. A qualified plastics partner has procedures in place for mold, part and process qualification and has documented processes that will ensure production quality. Qualified and skilled engineers will adhere to established testing procedures, such as FMEA techniques, and employ suitable testing apparatus to validate components.
Optimizing your new product development process is a strategic imperative where the first to market with a new product enjoys a competitive advantage. Engaging a qualified plastics partner early in the new product development process can help you to accelerate your time to market by saving time and investment cost and delivering a quality product.
Call Ferriot for the expertise that can help you streamline production and optimize your plastic injection molding processes.