One of the frustrating challenges centred around injection moulding has been the cost and complexity of engineering the injection mould tooling which together can cause relatively long lead times.
One approach, used by most plastic injection moulding companies in recent years, has been to offshore the design and production of tooling to production centres, generally in the Far East. However, this inevitably extends the time and, in many instances, has an impact on quality and accuracy, as communication and project planning can be an issue.
Typically, the lead time for an injection mould tooling set supplied from the Far East can be in excess of up-to 12 weeks. The timelines are based on the workload of the shop, what level of complexity is required in the fabrication of the mould, modifications identified, and shipping times. If last-minute modifications are required due to identified flaws then this timescale can be largely extended causing additional headaches.
As you may know, the start of an average project to manufacture a plastic injection mould tool insert can look normally like this:
- Discovery call to outline requirements
- Purchase order (P.O) received
- Project kick-off
- Tooling design
- Customer approval and confirmation to proceed
- Manufacture of mould
The attention to detail and communication required is why an unwanted LONG timeline can occur, but as experience plastic injection moulders, we have developed a mature and innovative process to reduce lead time…and costs.
Use additive manufacturing for plastic injection mould tools
To address these issues, we, as a leading UK plastic injection moulder, have invested heavily in advanced hybrid metal additive machining technology. This combines a 3D laser metal printing process with an integrated CNC milling system, capable of producing high performance finished metal tooling inserts quickly and cost-effectively.
Combining custom-engineered injection mould tool inserts and component parts with standard bolster sets means that complete injection mould tools can be manufactured in less than 5 weeks.
Just as importantly, if we need to modify or repair an injection mould tool, we can engineer a replacement tool insert in a matter of days due to our pool of expertise within our facilities.
Use innovative technology, expertise & moulding tool rooms under one roof
Additionally, to reduce lead times for plastic injection mould tooling still further, it is important to choose a plastic injection moulding company with an in-house toolroom, as this enables engineering work on changes or repairs to be carried out as quickly as possible.
Similarly, an injection moulding company with an inhouse toolroom will have the skills and knowledge to help you modify tool designs to reduce engineering complexity, time, and cost without affecting the quality, functionality or aesthetics of your injection moulded parts.
Plastic injection moulding has global success as a manufacturing solution. Most notably, its popularity is due to the affordability of the process, and the potential of production speed. At OGM, we acknowledge the time and money that can be saved through innovative technology such as, additive manufacturing and industry expertise. Through the years, each of customer’s requirements varies and is it the diversity in needs that we encourage as we want to deliver the highest quality moulds in the shortest period to allow our customers to be successful. Therefore, if you have a current project or one soon, chat with one of our leading experts today.