Configured Components Help Save Time And Costs, and Maximize Efficiency

How to achieve big cost and time savings in your mold work by streamlining the mold design and ordering process. How using standard mold components can enable you to spend more time designing and building molds instead of all the components that go into them.

As we all know, the global economy has been going through one of the worst recessionary periods in the history of the free market. As a result, companies across a broad spectrum of the plastics manufacturing industry are facing unprecedented challenges. Those managing to survive the downturn are struggling to remain competitive, striving to maintain profit margins and retain customers until the downward spiral is reversed. The pressures they face are being shared by their mold designers and builders, whether a dedicated in-house team or one or more external moldmaking partners.

In times like these, the need to save time and costs and maximize efficiency becomes more critical than ever before. Yet, mold builders also need to continue to design and produce high quality products that satisfy customer needs, while still preserving their own viability and profitability. And, they need to ensure delivery on a timely basis to meet manufacturing production schedules. That can be a daunting challenge, especially as mold designs have become increasingly more complex, requiring considerable time and skilled labor.

One proven strategy molders and moldmakers can implement to meet customer demands for shorter leadtimes, higher quality and lower prices is to utilize precisely configured custom or standard components to build their molds. Working closely with a supplier who understands your business and your application requirements is key to your success when implementing this strategic outsourcing strategy.

 

What to Look for in a Mold Components Supplier

Selecting the right source for components can save your mold design and building team significant time, labor and expense in almost every facet of the process—from design and development to manufacture and assembly. Finding the right working partner can ease the burden by shortening the design phase, streamlining workflow efficiency, ramping up productivity and speeding time to production.

Given the complexity of mold design and part geometries today, there are many factors to consider in evaluating marketplace suppliers of custom and configured mold components. In your search, be sure to compare and contrast the suppliers’ product offerings and capabilities in regard to:

  • High quality component materials, which can affect overall mold quality relative to strength, wear resistance and long-term reliability. Inferior materials can lead to mold brittleness, low service life or even breakage.
  • Good surface finish, according to specification, which can significantly affect mold release characteristics, durability and finished product quality.
  • Precise dimensional tolerances, per specification, which can eliminate the time and labor needed to perform additional machining, handworking or finishing.
  • Competitive pricing.
  • Short leadtime.
  • No minimum order requirements.

In addition, the mold component supplier should have an established track record of excellent customer service and a reputation for delivering high quality products that conform exactly to the mold designer’s specifications.

A vendor that also has the ability to deliver the specified products within a tight timeframe anywhere around the globe increases the value to the moldmaker exponentially. In these times especially, long leadtimes are simply not an option and can lead to costly production delays and dissatisfied customers. That’s why it is also important to take the time to scour the market and select a supplier capable of maintaining adequate inventories of configured parts, performing rapid prototyping of custom parts, and offering timely delivery of a wide range of design and configuration options.

 

Types of Custom and Configured Mold Components

In many instances, configurable components may be available with optional alterations that can be specified when ordering. In other cases—where you might need to have standard items machined for a single or multiple cavity production tools—the supplier may be able to offer this service at a small additional charge.

Following is a representative sampling of some commonly used large and small mold components that can be precisely configured to extremely exacting specifications.

  • Straight and stepped ejector pins, ejector sleeves and blades
  • A wide selection of pins, including center pins, straight core pins, step-type round pins, taperless core and inlay core pins, block core pins, angular pins, date mark pins, pins with gas vent and other pins for specific use. High quality pin suppliers can grind the pins to length with angled or radiused faces within a given range, so you can assemble the mold without spending hours or days grinding pins.
  • Cavity inserts
  • Various sizes and types of slide cores, guide rails, runner locks, gate bushings and parting lock sets
  • Cooling and heating components
  • Positioning and leader components, sprue bushings and locating pins
  • Mold opening controllers, electrodes
  • A variety of mold accessories, coil springs and die casting parts

Summary

An experienced component supplier can add incalculable value—in terms of delivering mold parts in the specified material and finish and configuring components to extremely precise tolerances. That’s why many leading mold design professionals rely on a trusted, single-source partner to deliver consistently high quality mold components, confident that they will arrive manufactured precisely to their specifications and ready for integration into their mold designs. It’s proven to be an effective strategy that gives mold builders one less thing to worry about.

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