Plastic injection moulding: reducing lead times
As a leading UK plastic injection moulding company, reducing lead times – lead time compression – is extremely important to us.
Minimising lead times is critical for many of our customers, who are under increasing pressure to bring their products to market faster and more efficiently than ever before, while reducing stockholding or bottlenecks in supply chains.
What are normal lead times for plastic injection moulding?
Injection moulding is ideal for producing medium to large volumes of plastic parts and components. It’s an extremely cost-effective and high-quality process.
It can, however, take time to get the process of injection moulding started. This is generally due to the time required to design and engineer injection mould tools; then to run prototypes and make any final refinements to ensure that each tool produces consistent, high quality parts for the lifetime of the project.
Injection mould tooling is normally expensive. To keep costs down, most injection moulders have used overseas suppliers, often in the Far East, to produce mould tool sets. As a result, lead times are typically around 12 weeks, largely due to the delays caused by transport. A 12-week lead time may be acceptable for many projects. However, if shorter lead times are required then our fast-track service can help.
Investment in injection mould tooling technology
As a leading UK plastic injection moulder, we continuously invest in new and emerging technologies, which help us to reduce customer lead times in a number of different ways.
For example, our latest hybrid additive manufacturing system, with integrated CNC machining, allows us to produce customised injection mould tool inserts and parts quickly and with exceptionally high levels of precision.
This approach, combined with the use of standard tool-parts on which custom engineered mould shapes can be constructed, enables us to reduce lead times for injection mould tool sets by as much as 50%, without affecting quality or functionality.
We also have extensive in-house design and tool-making facilities, which allows us to respond quickly to the needs of customers. We can therefore engineer complete tool sets from scratch, or adapt, renew or refurbish existing injection mould tools, often at realistic cost and with prompt turnaround.