It’s a long road from an idea to product on a store shelf, but here are the stages to consider:
Design engineering and prototype development:
This is the very first step in advancing your idea forward. Design of your part involves many things:
Is injection molding the best manufacturing process for this part?
What is the application of the part?
Is it used on its own or in combination with other items?
What types of loads and wear will it experience in use?
How critical are esthetics of the part?
Can we simplify design and cost?
The cost of engineering would easily start at $2,000 and could reach $10,000 for a more complex component.
Having come from the design stage, ILR can now put a prototyped 3D printed part into the customers hands. The customer reviews the basic form and function of the prototype to ensure it meets their requirements. Very often at this stage, clients recognize need for change. Somehow the part doesn’t fit their hand the way they thought or doesn’t balance the way they had hoped, etc. So, we go back to our design stage for some changes if necessary.
Product engineering and production planning:
How do we make this part now? Keeping in mind that part complexity leads to higher tooling costs. Gathering information on what is critical to the product. Material selection? How many cavities should the tooling be, to minimize manufacturing costs? (a mold can be designed to make 1 to 100s of parts at a time, but the tooling costs increase accordingly).
Trying to match manufacturing costs to product pricing expectations is the most challenging task for many inventors coming through our doors. The cost of tooling can be prohibitive on a larger scale. Often, clients choose to create prototype tooling. Prototype tooling generally has very few cavities, often just one, but the cost of making the mold is low. The offsetting factor of course, is that manufacturing costs are higher per piece.
But this often allows clients to test the market on a scale that is more manageable until they understand their own market better. ILR can often help with prototype tooling by providing a mold base. Thereby reducing some of this cost for its clients.
OR, we have had customers come to us knowing their market and price points, build the long-range tooling they need to be competitive straight off the design screen, and never looked back.
It varies by customer and highly dependent on access to resources.
How much does a mold (tooling) cost?
On a basic part small part, tooling can be as low as $4,000. On a much larger part, for example a winter shovel blade, costs could be as high as $60,000 for a single cavity tool.
Is there assembly required between parts produced? If assembly is necessary, there may be an additional cost associated with this. In particular, if the assembly extends beyond the production cycle of the tooling. That is to say, if the assembly cannot be performed with the operating time of the machinery or if it requires being performed after manufacturing of the product in a secondary or tertiary process.
How will the product be handled at the press? Packaged into a finished package for retail or bulk packaged for additional work to be performed. Does ILR need to help secure packaging through one of its many suppliers? How will the product be placed onto shipping pallets? Is there a product package that goes into a larger shipping box that goes onto a higher volume pallet? For example, is the product going to be packaged as one part per package, with 20 packages per box and 40 boxes per pallet?
Once the product is manufactured, what happens from that point? Would you need ILR to help with distribution or will product simply be picked up from our facility and into you?
How many parts am I required to order at a time?
This is what manufacturers refer to as minimum order quantities. There can be significant cost associated with the resources applied to preparing tooling for manufacturing. The administration, scheduling, hanging of the mold, connecting of cooling lines, packing area, set-up of the injection molding machinery. In order to offset this cost, the manufacturer generally applies a set up fee and also a minimum order quantity to ensure that there is enough part production to justify the costs associated with set-up.
Where do I start?
Now that you have a better understanding of the steps involved, please feel free to contact us directly. We will be happy to work with you, taking your vision from concept to reality!
If you already have everything you need to step right into manufacturing, please feel free to contact us directly for a quotation. If you have a non-disclosure agreement we are required to sign, you can email it to us to prior to quotation.
Once that is taken care of, we can review your project in terms of:
Material: which material is required and is it provided by customer or ILR
Packaging: How do you need us to package product coming off the line?
Cycle times and part weights: For pure mathematical cost calculations (time and material)
Volumes: Annual volumes and minimum order quantities
Logistics: Once product is made, how is it handled from here
We’re often asked about using recycled materials in product manufacturing but the answer is far more complicated than clients expect.
With our in-house recycling capabilities, we can provide some of the competitive advantages that come from using recycled content. We have partnered with our customers in several projects that have benefited from our expertise in using recycled materials, and the access ILR has to the millions of pounds of recycled material it already uses each year.
However, using recycled materials comes with its own set of challenges. Its use must be designed into the original part and tooling design for it to truly be successful. And with some products, using recycled materials, especially blue box materials, is simply not a viable option.
This is the sort of option we work through in our design stage as we work to better understand the product, its application and its market.
There are many different plastic manufacturing processes, how do I know if injection molding is what I need for this product idea?
There really are several primary methods of manufacturing plastic products. Each method lends itself to a specific category of plastic products. Feel free to connect to the site below for a better understanding of the various methods.
Video compliments of Conair Group