plastic molding order process and timetable

Step 1. Design of components (clients are welcome to supply 3D files)—-Client Side

The quotation process is a very important step in the injection molding process. It allows us to get an idea of the products we will be making and determine if it is possible to carry out the production, as well as decide on the most suitable material and processes for each product.

The customer will design the component and supply it to Topworks for checking. If changes are needed, we will make them and send the design back to the customer for approval. Once there is agreement on all aspects of the quotation, we will proceed with production.

If there are any doubts about the feasibility of the project, we will be in touch with you so that we can reach an agreement on how best to proceed.

This part of the process is completely free for our clients. You can supply us with your 3D files, and we will be happy to make sure that they are ready for injection molding.

Step 2. Parts Prototyping (if necessary)– Client Side Or Topworks side

The parts prototype is a critical step in the process for injection molding quotation. If you do not have an existing part, then you need to create one before you can proceed further. We can use 3D printing or CNC machining to create a prototype. This helps you understand how well your product will work, and how much it will cost to manufacture. If you already have a prototype, then this step can be skipped.

Step 3. Tool Design— Client Side Or Topworks side

During this stage, your Tooling Information Worksheet is used to design the tool.

When designing a plastic mold, there are several factors that need to be considered:

Mold Geometry — The geometry of your part will dictate how big molds you need and which ones should be made first.

Runner and Cavity Geometry — The runner geometry will help determine where parts are joined together during assembly and how many parts can be produced per shot (per cycle).

Coolant Channels — Coolant channels around each cavity help cool down the molten plastic quickly so it doesn’t deform during ejection from the mold or warp during cooling. They also reduce shrinkage by allowing air bubbles to escape before solidifying completely

Ejector way — Ejector pins push out the part from the mold. They can be either manual or automatic, depending on your needs and preferences.

Step 4. Tool Check and Mold Flow Analysis — Topworks side

Injection molds are made of steel, aluminum or other materials. Each material has its own characteristics, which affect the manufacturing process. The goal of tool check is to determine if the mold is designed properly and meets the requirements for production. Tool check also helps to identify and eliminate potential problems before they become costly production delays.

Mold flow analysis is a method of determining the distribution of molten plastic in an injection mold and its effect on the quality of parts produced from that mold. The amount of time required for cooling and solidifying parts depends on their size, shape, material thickness and internal cooling passages within the part. This information is critical to determine how much time is needed between shots in order to produce parts that have good appearance, strength and dimensional accuracy.

Step 5.Tool Fabrication — Topworks side

The tool is precisely fabricated according to the validated design using Computer Numerical Control (CNC), and Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) technologies)…

Step 6.First Shots To Client(T1) — Topworks side

The first test shots will be sent via courier soon after the injection molds are made. Once sent, these usually arrive in 2-5 days.

Incoming shots are first reviewed by the client. If a shot needs to be corrected, the client returns it to us with their comments. The corrections are made and we resend the same shot to the client for approval. Once approved, we proceed to finalize that shot and send it back to the client for final approval.

Step 7.Tool Modifications and Texturing — Topworks side

At this point, Topworks makes any changes to the tool that is necessary to bring it into compliance with the approved specifications. Topworks makes any changes that are necessary (specifically excluding design changes, which are always charged for) free of charge.

In this stage, the texturing process is done, which is usually the last step before mass production.

Step 8.Mass Production Run or Export — Topworks side

In this stage, the tool is handed over to the customer or ready for export.

Timing

PC injection molding
PC injection molding

Tooling usually takes 5 to 6 weeks from receipt of deposit funds and assumes that the 3D files are correct.

It is possible to shorten the lead time if you have a special urgent request (additional fees apply).

“T1” samples are the first samples built based on your 3D files.

The test shot stage takes approximately one to two weeks to complete, depending on the original 3D design and the complexity of the plastic parts.

The lead time for production will vary depending on the complexity of the parts, the tooling, the materials, and the client’s desired quantity.

Please let us know if you have a deadline.

We will discuss what can be done in order to meet your deadline. In general, we would require about two weeks to complete orders of 10,000 units.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions regarding the exact duration of your project, as times (and project scopes) vary greatly.

The time required for delivery depends on the manner in which the shipment will be handled. Examples include DHL, UPS, FedEx, TNT, air or sea shipment.

If you have assigned a freight forwarder, we can utilize your existing freight forwarding agreement for a nominal fee.

If there is no specific forwarder, we may be able to suggest forwarders that we have previously worked with.

Generally, our experience indicates that depending on the final destination, the shipment takes two to five days via international courier, two to five days by air, and twenty to forty-five days by sea.

Delivery FOB China is the simplest method, but international courier services would not be recommended due to their complexities. EMS is an alternate option for small quantities, however, if the delivery is urgent.

Additionally, customs declaration timetables vary by country.

Please contact your local freight forwarder for further information.

9 Tips To Make The Mold Buying Process Easier

It can be complicated to buy an injection mold, as there will likely be a lot of back and forth between buyer and contract molder before the final product is settled on. However, the following tips can help save you plenty of time, and make the whole process that little bit easier.

  1. Create an RFQ that goes into a lot of details.As skilled as moldmakers are, they won’t be able to read your mind when it comes to what you’re looking for. Include as many specifics as you can at this stage, including the number of cavities, the steel, the desired lifespan of your mold, and any guarantees that you might need. If you aren’t too sure on any of these topics, then tell your moldmaker, and they will be able to help you settle on what’s right for your needs. The more accurate you make your RFQ, the more accurate a quote you will receive in return.
  2. Be open about why you want a quote. If you simply need a general quote to pass on to another department, then let the moldmaker know- they will then be able to get back to you quickly. Creating an accurate quote can take a lot of time, and it’s not fair to waste the moldmaker’s time if you don’t need that much detail, or if you might not even buy from them.
  3. Don’t infringe on a moldmaker’s intellectual property. The ideas and suggestions offered by your moldmaker remain their intellectual property- you can’t simply take those suggestions to someone else to do it for you. If you settle on a different moldmaker, then take their suggestions on board- not only is using someone else’s ideas not okay, but it could also confuse the final moldmaker, who won’t understand exactly why those suggestions were made in the first place.
  4. Think about forming a partnership with your moldmaker. By working closely with your moldmaker when it comes to budgets, timetables, and part quantity expectations, you’ll be able to work as a team to achieve better results in the long run.
  5. Keep an open line of communication with your moldmaker throughout the process. Plenty of moldmakers will be happy to provide regular progress reports and keep you updated on the latest developments with your build. It’s important that you know everything is proceeding to schedule, so if you need any information, be sure to ask so that you can put your mind at ease.
  6. Ensure you always make your payments on time. Most moldmakers work to a tight budget and require expenses to be paid up-front before they can proceed with your build. If you delay making payments, then you won’t get your mold on time- it’s as simple as that. Different moldmakers will offer different payment plans, so talk with them to figure out a plan that works for both of you.
  7. Changing your part design will likely mean changing the injection mold itself. If you wind up making changes to your part design while the injection mold is being produced, you will be unlikely to get the mold at a price quoted, or to the original timeframe. Any changes will mean the mold has to be altered accordingly, which adds to both the cost and the time of the mold build.
  8. Know in advance when your mold will be There are different definitions for a completion date- they could range from when the final payment is made, to when you receive a sample part, to shipment of the final product. In most cases, an injection mold is considered complete when it is ready to produce the part it is intended for. The majority of moldmakers will be willing to make small changes towards the end of the process in order to make a part according to print dimensions. If these dimensions change late in the game, then the injection mold may still be considered complete- any additional changes will have to be paid for via an engineering change order, or ECO.
  9. If something is cheap, there’s usually a reason behind it. While there will be moldmakers out there who offer a cheaper-than-average rate for a quality product, there will be plenty of others who offer discounts because they cut costs themselves. In the long run, it’s better to pay good money for a high-quality product, instead of getting stung by a mold that doesn’t meet your standards.

When buying an injection mold, that age-old adage is certainly true- you get what you pay for. Any molded components that you produce will only be as good as the mold that you used to make them, so you should ensure your injection mold is perfectly suited to your needs- before you buy it.