Real cost of plastic mold tool and injection molding from China

China Plastic Mold and Injection Molding Cost

plastic mold cost
plastic mold cost

Injection molding is an eminent manufacturing process for creating parts by injecting molten material into a mold. Injection molding can be performed with a wide variety of prevailing materials, including metals, glasses, elastomers, and most commonly thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers.

The injection molding process begins with melting the advisable material in a heated barrel. The molten material is then injected under high pressure into a cooled mold cavity. The material inside the cavity solidifies and takes on the rich shape of the cavity while the runner and gate system are ejected from the part.

Injection molding is one of the most popular methods of manufacturing plastic parts because it is fast, efficient, and versatile. Injection molded parts can vary greatly in size and complexity, and are used in a wide variety of industries from medical to automotive.

history of injection molding

Injection molding is an advisable manufacturing process for creating parts by injecting molten material into a mold. It was invented in 1872 by Arthur Eichengr n, and it has been widely used since the 1970s. Injection molding is used to create many different types of products, from medical devices to toys.

The history of injection molding goes back to 1872, when Arthur Eichengr n invented the process. Eichengr n was a German engineer who was working on a way to create metal parts using heat and pressure. He discovered that he could inject molten material into a mold and that the material would cool and harden quickly.

Eichengr n’s invention revolutionized manufacturing, as it encourages for the mass production of parts with complex shapes. Injection molding quickly became popular in many industries, including the automotive industry.

Many buyers who purchase injection molds from China are solely focused on saving money.

However, this isn’t the right attitude to take since you’ll ultimately want a mold that works properly and is reliable instead of just being cheap.

cost of plastic mold

Injection molding is a rational manufacturing process for creating plastic parts and components. Injection molding is an obviously fast and efficient way to produce high-quality parts. However, injection molding can be a costly process. The cost of injection molding depends on several factors, including the type of plastic, the size of the part, the complexity of the design, and the quantity of parts.

Taking all these factors into consideration, we naturally come to the conclusion that it is worth to buy injection molding from China if you keep some considerations in mind.

The cost of injection molding also not surprisingly depends on the type of mold. Simple molds can be made from aluminum or steel and are typically less expensive than complex molds made from more expensive materials. The size of the mold also affects the cost. Larger molds require more material and are more expensive to build. The complexity of the design also affects the cost. More complex designs require more time to fabricate and may require special features such as cooling channels or ejection pins.

mold cost breakdown

1Steel Material20-35%
3Assembly(bench work)15-20%
4Mold design5-10%
5Tax, profit20-30%

To determine How much a plastic mold tool and injection molding, some factors are considered:

To determine How much a plastic mold tool and injection molding, some prevailing factors are considered:

Part Complexity

the increased complexity of injection molded parts will led to some impacts. One of the biggest evident challenges is ensuring that all of the cavities in a mold are filled properly. This can be challenging when there are many small and intricate features on a part.

Cavity Count

For the purpose of savings, multi-cavity molds are often used to reduce individual mold costs. This is accomplished by molding two or more different or same parts in the same tool cavity at the same time, thus reducing the total number of required tools for a given project.


When it comes to injection molding, there are a slice of factors that go into the cost. One of the biggest factors is tolerances. The tighter the tolerances, the more expensive the mold will be. If you’re looking to save money on your injection molded parts, you may want to relax your tolerances a bit. This can be a tricky balancing act, as you don’t want your parts to be too loose and sloppy. But if you can find the right balance, you can save yourself a lot of money.

Tooling Materials:

Steel is the most common material used for injection molds, due to its indispensable strength and durability. However, steel molds can be quite expensive to produce. Aluminum is another popular option for injection molds, as it is less expensive than steel and has good thermal conductivity properties. However, aluminum molds are not as strong as steel molds and can wear down more quickly. There are also a number of composite materials that can be used for injection molding, such as carbon fiber or fiberglass. These materials offer a balance of strength and affordability, but may not have the same level of durability as steel.

Cam Mechanisms In The Tool:

Cam mechanisms are used to create movement in the mold so that it can create various shapes and designs. There are many different types of cam mechanisms, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most common type of cam mechanism is the sliders and lifters. Sliders and lifters are very versatile and can be used to create a wide variety of shapes and designs. However, they are also very expensive.

Tool Life Expectations:

For example, a high priced plastic mold that is used infrequently will have a much longer lifespan than one that is used regularly. This is because the mold will not be subject to as much serious wear and tear. Similarly, a tool that is used for a more delicate task will also last longer than one that is used for more heavy-duty work.

Resin Grade And Aesthetics:

Resin grade and aesthetics are important considerations when choosing a plastic mold for your project. Resin grade(like GF content,FR grade…) is determined by the demands of the injection part and the manufacturing process. Aesthetics are determined by the finish of the mold and the overall look of the piece. When choosing a resin grade, it is important to consider the features of the material and the manufacturing process. The higher the purity, the higher the price. However, if you are looking for a specific look or finish, you may need to sacrifice some purity. Aesthetics are determined by the finish of the mold and the overall look of the piece. If you want a high-quality finish, you will need to pay more for a better quality mold. However, if you are looking for a more rustic look, you can save money by choosing a less expensive mold.

These costs are indeed amortized over the number of parts to be produced; nevertheless, the real cost includes the time required for the molding process and the processes needed to build the parts.

Thus, a  hot-runner tool may cost more than a two-plate tool initially; however, they do not require a separate operator to separate parts from runners, as the part cost may be lower than if the injection molding plant is used a two-plate tool.

Purchasing departments should not barely have responsibility for purchasing tools : there are too many factors that they may not understand. Tools should be required to be specified beforehand. The goal is to have the lowest cost for the right tool to make the parts according to specifications by competent molders.

When buying a mold, it is important to pay attention to the areas of interest that need to be addressed. The checklist on mold design and the injection mold specification sheet cover these areas of interest.

In the early stage of product development, the design and sales departments should take mold costs, production costs, and the final piece price into account.

It will enable management to decide your direction; It is not difficult to estimate the cost of a mold, but you should consult all parties concerned.

If you request a quotation for tooling, you should have the preliminary design complete, final drawings, and a sample of the part if possible.

Part drawings and specifications should include the following information:

  1. Dimensions that determine the complexity of the cavity and part tolerances.
  2. Various essential surface finishes are required.
  3. The requirement for tight tolerance as well as the number necessary.
  4. In square inches, the area is covered by the part’s length and width.
  5. All functions that operate within the mold (caming, unscrewing).
  6. Tolerant-based tooling requirement balance.
  7. Resin was used to form the part.
  8. Tolerances and part volume should determine the number of cavities.
  9. Different types of tools include two-plate, three-plate, hot-runner, etc.
    Decide on the number of materials and standard components to be used and calculate costs from the suppliers’ catalogs after answering the questions above.

Mold makers must prepare a list of comprehensible manufacturing processes and assembly processes and the various items involved in production; these must include the

  • cavity(ies),
  • the cooling requirements,
  • the location of cooling lines around the cavity,
  • the ejector system,
  • and any other operational procedures required.

Compute how long each procedure takes, and figure out the hourly wage rate for each procedure. Add in external labor costs for heat treatment, finishing, polishing, surface texture, etc., to get a feel for everything that has to be done.

The purchasing department can achieve greater efficiency and accuracy by acquiring this information, enabling them to evaluate and budget for a specific job more accurately and efficiently.

A first-time mold buyer, particularly one who is unaccustomed to mold design and construction, will often have difficulty compiling this information. Often, the wage rates and length of time required for production will be only estimates.

It is important to collect information from suppliers to determine the exact cost of new equipment.

By specifying how the tooling provider must prepare its quote, the buyer can gather specific information, such as a breakdown of components, functions, and schedules.

The cost of mold design can range from $3000 for straightforward designs with few or no revisions to $7000 for constant revisions. Mold design costs are about 5 to 10 percent of a simple job.

It generally takes between 4 weeks to 10 weeks to design, machine, build, finish, and qualify a tool for injection molding. To avoid shipping and transporting the mold back and forth, choose a tooling source capable of performing injection molding on the tool.

The best way to learn in the mold estimating process is to consult mold builders specializing in molds similar in size and complexity to the one being produced.

Examine the quality of their work and their equipment, processes they use, and the range of services they offer.

Solicit quotes from the tool builders and manufacturers who own molds. If you do not have mold builders, you may need to contract a molder. During this phase, it is important to be able to describe the part requirements fully.

This process can eliminate the additional expense and result in a piece-part price that is even lower. With these abilities, the tool will initially cost more but ultimately results in a piece-part price that outweighs the cost of the tools.

cost of injection molding

The cost of injection molding will depend on a number of factors, including the size and complexity of your part, the type of plastic being used, and the quantity being made. In general, it costs more to manufacture small quantities than large quantities.

Why those important for injection molding cost

injection molding cost
injection molding cost
  • Part size- bigger parts mean a bigger mold, which means that bigger steel will increase the steel cost for the injection mold.
  • Part design- the more complex a part is, the more detailed the mold has to be. Some complicated parts will require special features to be added, such as lifters or sliders. Therefore, you should be open to advice from your mold maker and see if there’s anywhere that you can alter the part design to save on injection mold costs.
  • Materials: Depending on the part material of choice, the injection mold will have to be made of a particular material. For instance, if corrosive plastic-like PVC is to be used, the mold will have to be stainless steel to avoid any damage, ultimately bump the price up.
  • Part finish requirements- where parts have high gloss surface requirements, then more expensive steel and precise technical polishing will be vital, adding to the price.
  • Production volume- higher volume molds need more cavities, and so the mold will be larger. They also require a higher steel grade to last for longer, which impacts the injection mold cost.
  • Country of manufacture- different countries have different wage rates. If your mold is made in a country where labor costs are low, then you’ll naturally save money. In China, the average cost of an injection mold is around 40% less than in western nations.

tips to reduce injection molding cost

Here are some great tips to ensure that your organization’s costs remain as low as possible:

Consider opting for soft tooling

Soft tooling is a cheaper option than hard tooling, which involves making a mold out of steel or aluminum. Instead, soft tooling uses polyurethane or other materials that are more flexible and less expensive. This type of tooling is more commonly used in manufacturing companies that don’t have much experience with injection molding.It can be used for low-volume production runs and prototypes. It’s also very cost effective and requires less lead time than hard tooling.

Use a more efficient plastic resin

Plastic resins have different properties that affect your ability to lower injection molding costs. For example, some resins are designed to be used in high-volume applications, while others are designed for low-volume manufacturing. You can also use recycled plastics in your molds, which can help reduce costs further.

The most important factor in lowering your injection-molding costs is picking materials that use less energy to melt and cool down — especially if you’re using multiple colors or complex molds.

For example, if you’re using a rigid PVC material with thick walls (which requires more energy), consider switching to another material such as ABS or PP (polypropylene). Both materials have thinner walls than PVC and therefore require less energy during the heating process and cooling process

Simplify Your Design

It is not necessary to make a complex, fully dimensioned drawing to design a mould. A simple sketch and word description of each part with the part print can serve as the first step in cost reduction just by reducing CAD work and costs with several simple processes.

The geometry of your part is one of the biggest factors affecting the cost of injection molded parts. For example, complex geometries require more design work and more time to produce. They also increase the cost of tooling and molds due to their complexity.

In addition, thick walls require more material than thin walls so they’re more expensive too.

To make drill jigs used to make holes in shaped sheet metal parts from glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) laminates, one part of the sample part is usually made after the holes are all drilled in their correct location on the part. There are many kinds of instructions that can be provided for using this tool, whether it is a free-hand sketch or written instructions that specify the part dimensions and quantities of drill bushings that must be used.

Design More Efficient,longer-lasting and possible multi-cavity molds

Injection molds are made out of metal and they will eventually wear out. The more times you use them, the quicker they will wear out. You can lower your injection molding costs by designing molds that are longer lasting. This means using materials that don’t wear down as quickly as others (aluminum vs steel) and using titanium or nickel-based alloys for stronger pieces of machinery.

Injection molds come in all shapes and sizes, from simple straight-sided parts to complex parts with overhangs and cavities. The more complex the part, the more expensive it is to build. You can reduce this cost by building simpler molds that use less metal.

Injection molding uses extremely hot temperatures and extreme pressures that can wear out the mold over time. If you design a durable product and make sure it’s easy to produce, you can cut down on waste and save money in the long run. For example, if you need multiple parts of a single product made at once, consider using a multiple-cavity mold instead of singal-cavity mold.

Reduce The Cycle Time

The injection molding cycle time is the time it takes to complete all of the steps required to produce a single unit. A typical injection molding cycle includes:

  1. Feeding the material into the hopper,
  2. Heating and melting the material,
  3. Filling the mold cavity with molten plastic,
  4. Cooling and solidifying the part, and
  5. Opening the mold to release finished product

The injection molding cycle time is one of the most important factors in determining how much it costs to manufacture plastic parts. The faster a part can be made, the more you can produce in a given amount of time, therefore lowering your cost per part. Injection molding cycle times vary widely depending on the complexity of the part design and the size of the tool.

Automate repetitive tasks and processes

Automating your injection molding process can help you save money in several ways. First, it allows you to produce more parts with less labor – which means fewer people on staff and lower payroll expenses. In addition, automation allows you to increase efficiency by reducing cycle time. This means less downtime between production runs, which saves money on labor costs as well as raw materials like resin and plastics pellets. Finally, automation makes it easier for your employees to do their jobs without risking injury from repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis . Although automation may seem like a costly investment, it can be worth the upfront cost if it improves your bottom line.

Utilize Parts Or Models Which Are Already Available

Essentially, plastics can be described as a replicating material. Because of this, a form is always required, except in special circumstances, such as loft template constructions. The fastest method for replicating a part in plastic is to begin by working with an existing design, such as a model or prototype, and mimicking that design with plastic.

Build New Models That Are Male Shaped

When designing a master model, build it in a way that allows for the quickest duplication (which is most common in a male shape) and on the side of metal that requires the minimal amount of thickness transference.

Adopt Flat Runs-Outs

In maximizing the practicality of flat run-outs, most engineers strongly advise using them once constructed, as they provide the simplest possible way to construct their structures.
We want to advise any team member to simplify the reproduction process by removing all undercuts and loose pieces where possible and simplify the process of replicating shapes with plastics by removing all undercuts and loose fragments.

Choose Supporting Structures Wisely

Every type of support structure has its advantages and disadvantages based on how each type of tool is adapted. Wood has the benefits of lightness and low cost, but it does suffer from unreliable dimensional stability. Cast iron is the closest thing to wood in terms of price, and it is readily available, but it can require lengthy, costly machining to turn it into a finished product. Aluminum casts are more expensive than cast iron but can usually be ordered more rapidly and can be machined to a point quicker than iron. Cast steel has the highest strength, costing more and taking a long time to manufacture than other metals.

Fabricated plastic components can bear significant losses due to both the cost of components and the labor incurred. Still, they also offer advantages in terms of size and weight.

Fillers Added

Generally, where large quantities of plastics are required without their strengths, fillers can be used to increase the performance of the plastics materials that are relatively costly. The addition of fillers to lower injection molding costs also increases the hardness and stiffness of plastic parts. This is especially useful for parts that require high strength and durability.

A number of materials can be used as fillers in injection molding including:

  • Clay
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Ground limestone
  • Aluminum oxide (Alumina)

Reduce Scrap

One of the biggest contributors to your overall cost is scrap. If you have any defects or issues with quality, then not only will it affect your bottom line, but it may also cause delays in production and delivery times. By using a quality control system such as laser inspection equipment from LaserAce International, Inc., which checks for defects before they become major problems in production, you can reduce scrap rates and keep costs down.

All in all,we can get better profit from sourcing injection molding services. But at the same time we must try to find out new ways to cope with the problems that would arise.