How Much Plastic Mold & Injection Molding,China Tooling Cost Analysis

China Injection Mold Cost

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.

How much a plastic mold tool will cost is dependent on several different factors.

You should, therefore, request the  information when getting a quote.

The checklist below details the various areas of interest that you need to consider when purchasing a mold:

  • How many check dimensions are required on the print- this will determine the cavity complexity, as well as the part tolerances
  • Surface finishes which will be necessary
  • Number of necessary tight tolerances and their requirements
  • Any required functions in mold operating, such as unscrewing or lifters.
  • Balanced cooling requirements- these can  determine  tolerances.
  • Part resin
  • Number of cavities in the part, determined by tolerances and part volume required
  • Tool type, e.g. hotrunner, two plate, or three plate
  • the size and complexity of its parts,
  • the gating direction
  • the tools steel used
  • the mold accessories brand
  • an estimated cycle time
  • and a guaranteed lifespan.

For instance, a three plate or hotrunner may be more expensive at first, but unlike two plate tools, they don’t need anyone to operate them or separate the runner.

plastic mold structure
plastic mold structure

This will mean that you save money on the piece part price, even though the tool cost is higher.

With this information in hand, you will be able to calculate the costs for yourself, and see just why some companies set their prices higher or lower.

When you have answered all of those questions, you’ll want to figure out the amount and type of materials and components that you’re going to need, and use supplier catalogs to come up with a total cost.

While all of these costs will eventually be recouped once a certain number of parts have been produced, it’s important to note that the real cost will also have to take into account the manufacturing process and the molding cycle as well.

Don’t put the full responsibility for tool buying on your purchasing department, though. That’s because there will likely be factors that they don’t fully understand.

Make sure that you determine and specify your tool requirements in full before you start the buying process.

Ideally, you’ll want to choose the right tool for the lowest cost, produced by an experienced and knowledgeable molder.

Why those important

Part size- bigger parts mean a bigger mold, which means that the steel cost for the injection mold will be increased.

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. You should therefore 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.plastic mold cost

Materials-depending on the part material of choice, the injection mold will have to be made of a particular material too. For instance, if a corrosive plastic like PVC is to be used, then the mold will have to be stainless steel to avoid any damage- which will 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, which further add to the price.

Production volume- higher volume molds need more cavities, and so the mold will be larger. They also require a higher grade of steel to last for longer, and this has an impact on 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.

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