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Injection Molding (574) 272-3733
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SPI Full service manufacturing boxes in warehouse with forklift great lakes region

Full Service Manufacturing of Plastic Parts

SPI Full service manufacturing boxes in warehouse with forklift great lakes region

SPI Injection Molding and SPI Blow Molding offer full service manufacturing of plastic components and finished goods. As a full service manufacturing source in the Great Lakes region, SPI can handle all aspects of manufacturing for your product that contains injection or blow molded plastic parts. From design and tooling, to quality control and assembly, to packing and fulfillment, SPI supports your success by delivering quality parts on time, at a fair price.

From concept to completion

In this competitive market, companies seek every opportunity for cost savings. Maintaining high levels of quality while meeting increased demands for faster turn offers a competitive edge. Working with one experienced plastic molding company instead of working with multiple companies at different stages of the manufacturing process ensures consistency and accuracy for your plastic parts. Selecting full service manufacturing from SPI Industries helps you breathe easy.

Benefits of Full Service Manufacturing of Plastic Parts

Shorter production times

Keeping all phases of the plastic part manufacturing process with one company, reduces production time. Once production begins, each step in the process is set and scheduled. With full service manufacturing, all communication and coordination is streamlined into a proven system and managed by a team of professionals. Each part moves smoothly from tooling to delivery.

Reduced plastic part manufacturing costs

At our full service manufacturing facilities, engineers, designers, and manufacturers work together on each project. The close proximity of the departments allows them to communicate quickly and efficiently. If there are adjustments needed throughout the manufacturing phase they will be identified and addressed at each step. This level of quality control can’t be obtained when each phase of production is outsourced to different companies.

Streamline communication

Working with one company decreases errors caused by inefficient communication. We’ve all encountered issues when changes have not been explained accurately or in a timely fashion. Whether in business, or in our personal lives, limiting the amount of people involved in a process reduces the chance for miscommunication. With full service manufacturing you contact one team. There is no need to schedule meetings with multiple teams or determine logistics for communicating across different time zones.

Time is money.

Each step in the manufacturing process that can be eliminated saves time and money. Because a full-service manufacturing provider is accountable for all aspects of a project, often a higher level of personalized service will result. The buck stops with the full service manufacturing provider. There is no blaming other vendors. Ensuring all processes are correct in the very beginning helps projects move smoothly through each stage. Additional cost savings are returned through discounted rates offered by many full-service manufacturers that niche companies do not offer.

Keeping everything under one roof also eliminates the need to allocate additional funds for packaging and transportation between manufacturing facilities. Staff training, estimating, billing, reports, and correspondence is streamlined when all phases of a product are completed by one company.

Would you like to learn more about how SPI Industries could serve as your full service manufacturing source in the Great Lakes region?  SPI Industries’ processing technologies include blow molded and injection molded ready-to-use plastic parts. Give us a call today or complete the inquiry form to connect with an SPI product specialist. Certified to ISO 9001:2008 standards and compliant for food-grade parts, SPI will design and build your mold and deliver ready-to-use quality parts on time, at a fair price.

Accurate Estimate for Plastic Molded Parts

How To Get an Accurate Estimate for Plastic Molded Parts

Accurate Estimate for Plastic Molded Parts

Are you a developer, designer or inventor of products that requires blow molded or injection molded plastic parts? Do you think you are ready to bring your new idea to market? Are you looking for a price quote for blow molding or injection molding for your new product?

SPI is regularly contacted by developers, designers and inventors, who’s products are at varying stages of development. More sophisticated and experienced customers may have 3D CAD files or prototype molds built before calling us. Some customers may have 2D drawings or a homemade prototype mocked up. While, still others bring only sketches or concepts. We have examples of each maturing into successful product launches.

While the appearance of the product or the visible parts may be well thought out, the function, material and plastic molded part design requires a great deal of exploration. Below, we discuss some of the design questions we consider to deliver Quality Parts at a Fair Price.

We have specific questions that need answers before SPI can provide an accurate estimate on part pricing. We look at ways to help design for ease of manufacture at both the part design as well as the tool design. Producing a clear and thorough estimate for plastic molded parts design and development requires a great deal of communication and expertise.

Before you are ready to manufacture your idea, these questions are important to consider:

What is the end use of your product?

  • Will the part be exposed to chemicals?
    If a product is going to be exposed to bleach, or ammonia or other chemicals, there are specific resins that we will recommend to used that will ensure the integrity of the plastic part over time and use.
  • Will your product hold food or beverages for human consumption?
    There are specific guidelines required for food safe storage products. Because of the stringent guidelines, not all injection molding or blow molding companies offer food safe plastic solutions.
  • Will your part be exposed to extreme temperatures or other environmental conditions?
    These considerations will allow your molder to offer recommendations of resins and special additives that may be used to allow your part to function under extreme conditions.

Specific Design Elements will determine best processing technology for Plastic Molded Parts

  • What are the dimensions of your plastic molded parts?
    The size and annual demand of your part will dictate which plastic molding process is required. SPI can help you determine the best processing technology for your product. Typically, small, complex parts such as handles for tools or pens are ideal for injection molding. Hollow objects such as bottle and beverage containers are best suited for blow molding. Where does your product fit? We can help.
  • How complex is your part? Will your part need to be flexible?
    Is your part a simple rectangle with one notch that will connect with another part? Does your part have multiple levels, notches, clips or bellows? Does your part start large and get progressively smaller? Do any elements of your part need to move or be removable? Is a portion hard, while another component pliable such as a clip that must be squeezed into a hole to later expand? The complexity of the design will dictate the type of material, time needed for the mold development and tooling.

What materials are best for your plastic molded part design?

  • Which polymers or resins are best for your product?
    If you are not familiar with the many types of plastic materials on the market, a qualified plastic molder can help you make the best selection. Once a molding engineer knows the end use of your product, the size, quantity, and processing technology, they should be able to offer options for the best material selection for your plastic molded parts.

As you can discern from the many questions posed above, there are many variables that will determine the best solution to manufacture, assemble and deliver your product. The manufacturing company you choose should be a partner in the success of your product. Give SPI Blow Molding or SPI Industries a call, we look forward to partnering with you to help launch your new product. We will support your success by delivering Quality Parts, On Time at a Fair Price.

Plastic Product Manufacturing Michigan and Indiana

plastic-product-manufacturing-michigan-and-indiana

SPI Industries has been a leader in the Midwest custom molding and plastic product manufacturing scene since the 1950s. Our beginnings revolved around injection molding and high quality tool design and building. Over time we have expanded our capabilities to include custom blow molding, product assembly and customer fulfillment in South west Michigan. We are equipped to handle the entire manufacturing process from start to finish. It begins by working closely with customers to define the part specifications of our clients, based on the product requirements. We pride ourselves in delivering our customers Quality Parts.

Our experience in a wide range of plastic product manufacturing processes, helps reduce time and money spent generating designs and test prototypes. We can help facilitate the design and manufacturing of your product from concept to delivery. We pride ourselves in delivering our customers Quality Parts, On Time.

SPI has a long history of being a “Go To” custom blow molder in southern Michigan and custom injection molder in northern Indiana. Our experience as custom molders, has given us a broad knowledge base with many resins and processes that most other blow molders and injection molders wouldn’t even consider. This allows us to succeed at projects where others have failed. SPI can also let you know when there may be a better approach that we simply do not have the capability to provide. We pride ourselves on delivering our custom molding customers Quality Parts, On Time, At a Fair Price.

Why Choose Injection Molding?

Injection molding is the most commonly used type of plastic product manufacturing in use today.  The process can be used to manufacture items that consist of over 18,000 different types of plastic materials, such as thermoplastics and some types of thermosets and elastomers.

The injection molding process has existed since 1872; the first products manufactured by this process were billiard balls made by John and Isaiah Hyatt. However, injection molding can be used to manufacture almost any solid or open-ended object, from hair combs to the dashboards of cars.  The plastic injection molding process consists of injecting a molten plastic material into a metal mold and letting it cool and dry.  Designing molds for injection molding requires a lot of expertise; a mold must be designed so that the part will be of uniform thickness and allow it to be easily ejected from the mold.  SPI Industries is experienced in designing molds for injection molding. We will sample the mold and make minor adjustments until they are just right for manufacturing before we begin mass producing your products.

Often creating prototype parts will help in both part design as well as tool design. Having a prototype part for more complicated designs will generally help to reduce the amount of adjustments during the sampling process.

Why Choose Blow Molding?

In contrast to injection molding, blow molding is the process used for making hollow plastic parts.  It is also required when making items that vary in thickness in different parts of the object, such as gas tanks.  Blow Molding is commonly used for higher volume parts that are currently being roto-molded, due to a faster cycle time when compared to roto-molding. However, the nature of blow molding usually has longer cycle times and more processing variation than injection molding.

The SPI Industries Difference

Here are some reasons why SPI Industries should be your first choice for plastic molding manufacturing in the Great Lakes region

  • We can handle all steps of the design and manufacturing process, which will save you time and money.
  • We are equipped for both injection molding and blow molding.
  • We have decades of experience and keep up with the latest technological advances in plastic product manufacturing.
  • We are familiar with the requirements for plastic products in many different industries.
  • We can do small runs of products, large runs, or anything in between.
  • Because of the amount and variety of equipment we have in house, we can help bring your ideas to fruition in a relatively short time frame.

Quality Parts. On Time. At a Fair Price.

Benefits of Thermoplastic Elastomers for Injection Molded Goods

Benefits of Thermoplastic Elastomers

Also referred to as thermoplastic rubber, thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) have become increasingly popular for a wide spectrum of products and applications. Below we cover some of the benefits of Thermoplastic Elastomers and how they have changed the look and feel of many products on the market today.

Consider household and personal care items you have purchased recently. Hand held goods for personal and industrial use such as tools, utensils and toys, that are manufactured with TPEs have soft, smooth handles that make gripping much more comfortable.

From toothbrushes, to spatulas, to screwdrivers and new rubber ducks, many new products are manufactured with this long lasting plastic and durable rubber combination. The tactile feel of thermoplastic elastomers is just one of the popular benefits to end users.

The speed and the ease of processing for plastic injection molding and plastic blow molding also makes it a popular choice for manufacturers and molders. Thermoplastic elastomers can be used in countless extrusion and injection molded applications. When compared to traditional resins, thermoplastic elastomers can be molded in shorter cycles to allow for quick turn round of molded goods.

TPE is also a solution for products that need to perform in a variety of temperatures including plastic products that will be exposed to the outdoors.

ADVANTAGES and BENEFITS OF THERMOPLASTIC ELASTOMERS INCLUDE:

  • Processing ease and speed
  • Design flexibility
  • Lower fabrication and production costs
  • Lower energy consumption
  • Resistance to solvent and abrasion
  • Resistance to weathering
  • Improved product performance
  • Shorter cycle time
  • Lower part costs per finished piece
  • Broader range in product density
  • Product consistency
  • Environmentally Friendly – recyclable scrap
  • Resistance to heat and cold
  • Can be injection molded, blow molded and thermoformed

These benefits of TPEs are just some of the reasons SPI Blow Molding and SPI Injection Molding recommend thermoplastic elastomers for a wide range of products and part design applications customers bring to us. Molding custom plastic parts with top grade TPEs that can save time and money as well as stand up to seasonal climate change is important to our customers.

Do you have a product or part that could benefit by incorporating thermoplastic elastomers? Give us a call today. SPI Injection Molding and SPI Blow Molding experts will consult with you and your team to determine if thermoplastic elastomers could save you time and money on your next part design project.

BPA-Free-Molding-Phthalate-Free-and-PVC-Free-Plastic Products

BPA-Free Molding, Phthalate-Free, and PVC-Free Products

BPA-Free-Molding-Phthalate-Free-and-PVC-Free-Products
There are so many choices when it comes to the type of plastic required for the job, and molding process that will best suit the end result. One of the latest and largest trends is the shift towards BPA-Free molding, and Phthalate-Free and PVC-Free products. At SPI Industries we believe it’s important to stay on top of the latest processes and healthy plastics to truly offer our customers the best service possible.

Below we dive into the reasons you may want to consider BPA-Free Molding, and Phthalate-Free, PVC-Free products for your next product mold.

Why Choose BPA-Free Molding?

Chances are you’ve seen a product labeled “BPA free” when you’ve gone to the store to buy a water bottle, or any type of food container. Studies have shown that BPA bottles have been known to leech BPA into the bottles when exposed to extreme temperatures. With the increase in studies that have shown the potential health risks of BPA, more consumers are now looking for a BPA-free option.

This is where BPA-Free Molding comes into play. This style of molding process will ensure your products are free from BPA. Although, the FDA hasn’t officially labeled BPA as being harmful for consumer use, a lot of companies are already switching their plastic products to BPA-free. Especially, if they produce children’s goods, or food related containers.

Plastic products produced using BPA-Free molding will be free of PVC, phthalate, and BPA.

Best Uses For This Style Of Mold And Plastic

Most plastics that are free from these chemicals are commonly found in products that come into human contact, or are used in food processing. For instance, a lot of children’s toys and baby food containers are produced using this style of molding.

A lot of food containers, water bottles, milk jugs, plastic cups, and bath toys are commonly produced using BPA-free molding as well.

When you’re trying to consider whether or not to use BPA-free molding for your next set of plastic products it’s important to think about how your products will be used now and into the future. If your plastic products will come into frequent contact with humans through physical contact, or will be used to house food-related products, then staying ahead of the consumer preference curve could be very beneficial for your business.

SPI’s Experience With This Type Of Plastic

At SPI our focus is on providing our customers with the molding processes and types of plastics they require for their business to succeed. Since conscious consumer trends point towards BPA-Free molding and the resulting plastics as the way of the future, it’s important for forward-thinking companies to be able to add this to their product lines.

Our processing capabilities and years of experience enable us to ensure your plastic mold meets all of your required specifications the first time through. A lot of facilities may have the right equipment, but without years of experience working with different types of molding processes, the results will be less than desirable.

If you’re a business owner who needs a new line of BPA-Free, Phthalate-Free, or PVC free plastic products, get in touch with our team of professionals today.

Blow molded, Rotationally molded, or Injection molded? How to make a Good Duck

Blow molded, Rotationally molded, or Injection molded? How to make a Good Duck

Which came first, designing the mold or designing the rubber duck? In the case of The Good Duck the bigger question was which process, blow molding, rotational molding, or injection molding, will result in the best rubber duck ever?

injection molded novelty items

Following through on a crazy idea, Craig Wolfe premiered Betty Boop Duck in 1997, and his company, CelebriDucks was born. Originally invented in the USA, this American icon had long since been outsourced over seas. CelebriDucks returned the art of rubber duck manufacturing back to the United States.

From NBA players, to Mr T, and KISS’s Gene Simmons, CelebriDucks are collectible rubber ducks fashioned after some of the greatest icons of film, music, athletics, and history. CelebriDucks was voted the top fan give-away by ESPN in sports stadiums all over the country.

Not easily satisfied, inventor and CelebriDucks founder Craig Wolfe, had to take the product to a higher level. His most recent invention, The Good Duck, is known as the safest rubber duck on the planet.

As most parents know, the first thing babies do when they grasp an object is to put it in their mouth. The Good Duck is made of medical and food grade materials that are soft and safe for teething children. FDA approved, PVC, Phthalate, lead and BPA free, The Good Duck is 100% Made in the USA, and it floats!

With all great ideas comes research and development. Knowing he wanted a safe, soft, rubber duck that floated, Wolfe knew BPA free and PVC free was the way to go. Hence, his tour of blow molding and injection molding plants throughout the United States. As he bounced from factory to factory researching processes and materials he noted SPI Blow Molding in Coloma, Michigan was already using a soft material that could work. Safety and softness was key for the cute duck.

SPI Industries won the development of the Good Duck

Wolfe explained the determining factor for choosing SPI Industries and SPI Blow Molding was the expertise of the people compared to other plastic manufacturing facilities in the mid-west.  SPI had the experience with reach and development to support The Good Duck project.

Still, that’s only part of the story. The softness of the material, the product safety, and the desire for ducks of different color took much trial and error. Choosing the correct material, one that would remain very soft and hold design detail into molds is challenging. Fine tuning CAD designs, re-molding, sculpting, testing and refinement of molds was time consuming and expensive.

Should a Good Duck be blow molded, rotationally molded, or injection molded?

The Good Duck design was originally planned to be injection molded. Once Wolfe started working with SPI Industries, owned James Doster, advised him on a different direction. With injection molding the Good Duck would be in two pieces. The two pieces would need to be glued together. SPI engineers explained, “The plastic needed for the injection molding method would be too hard and would require welding.” Because a true rubber duck needs to float, it needed to be hollow. Blow molding it as one piece and sealing in the bottom was the solution.

The next challenge was determining wall thickness. The soft material they wanted to use with the characteristics that make the Good Duck safe and chewable doesn’t flow like normal resins. Getting the wall thickness exact took some time.

“SPI Companies do more than just manufacturer, they’re trail blazers. They’re making a difference in every way they can, creating jobs and producing innovative products with cutting edge technology.”

For the Good Duck to be completely safe, color needed to be molded right in the product. Adding color was a another challenge because colorant adds weight and effects the floating capability. Consistent balance was critical and very intricate. “Not easy technology, but SPI came up with a formula that is top of its grade with an age grading of 0 and up and thus completely safe for ALL ages!” reported Wolfe.

SPI also provided a great supplier for packaging services for The Good Duck. American gift boxes are usually very expensive and drive up price point. SPI staff helped to locate a gift box manufacturer right here in the United States, keeping cost in line and also ensuring The Good Duck is 100% Made in America.

Future plans are in place to expand The Good Duck line because it is so unique. Communities who hold annual duck races as fundraisers can now use American made ducks! The Good Duck may also be employed as a promotional piece with custom embossing or silk screening of logos.

Wolfe says. “What’s good for you and the planet is the right thing to do. The Good Duck should be done and we should be making it in America. We now have a niche as we’re the only ones making them here and The Good Duck cannot be duplicated anywhere. It’s a cute little duck!”

Wolfe insists on getting the best product out there and The Good Duck will come out of the gate very strong with the highest level of product safety. Watch for the blue, yellow, and pink Good Ducks on the shelves of your favorite stores as early as December, 2015. If you just can’t wait, you can pre-order Good Ducks on the website http://CelebriDucks..com, call 415-456-3452 or email info@CelebriDucks.com

Where to Get Custom Injection Molded Plastics in Michigan

Custom Injection Molded Plastics in Michigan
When you’re planning to purchase or design custom injection molded plastics in Michigan, Indiana and the surrounding states there are many factors to consider. Because there are multiple avenues to take it’s important that you consider your options before moving forward.

Below we’re going to showcase how you can choose the best custom injection molded plastics in Michigan company for your needs. There are a lot of variables to consider, so make sure you choose wisely.

Multiple Industry Availability

The industry you work in will help to determine the style of plastic parts you require. Every injection molding facility won’t be able to deliver the level of parts you need to complete your project.

Everything from food containers, children’s toys, outdoor recreation products, to home supplies, to manufacturing goods, and more. Each of these types of goods will require a different kind of finished product, and some facilities will be better than others. For that reason it’s important to understand the specs surrounding your product before you place an order with a plastic injection molding facility.

For example, do you require thin walls or thick walls? Is your product complex or easy to produce? Do you need a high or low quantity?

These questions and more will help to guide the selection of your facility.

Ability to Produce Custom Parts

Can the plastic molding facility provide custom parts?

If you’re looking for an injection molding facility, then chances are you’re going to need a custom part. Some facilities only produce a set of standard parts, and don’t have the required machinery to cater to custom part creation.

Services To Help Base Your Decision

Below you’ll find a list of the most common distinguishing factors that will help you choose the right facility for your custom injection molded plastic parts.

  1. Short-Term vs. Long-Term Runs – Do you require a continuous supply of parts for the long-term, or do you only need parts for a short period of time? Some facilities require you place an order of over 2,000 units, while others are more flexible. When choosing your Custom Injection Molded Plastics in Indiana or Michigan production facility, make sure you find one that provides the correct parts on the timeline you need.
  2. Prototypes – The process of prototyping (link to older blog post) allows you to test different versions of your unit, before moving forward with the final step in production. There are multiple styles of prototyping available. If you don’t have a completely perfect model of the plastic piece you’re going to need produced, then you can greatly benefit from a facility that enables you to prototype first.
  3. Craftsmanship Due Care – What level of plastic parts do you need produced? In some cases you can get away with having lower quality plastic parts, but other times you must ensure every mold is created perfectly. The level of care and craftsmanship you require will help to determine which facility you choose.
  4. Thin Wall, High Tech Parts – The injection molding equipment and process they use will create different types of parts. If you require thin walled and high tech parts, you’ll need to work with a facility that offers that style of part. Once again, choose a facility that has a background in producing the style of part you require.
  5. Secondary Operations – What about when the parts are complete? Do you need a team to assemble, store and ship your parts, or will you do this yourself?

These secondary options can be costly, but also necessary depending upon the type of business you run. Some facilities cater to shipping, storage, and assembly, but others do not.

If you have any questions regarding where you can get your plastic molded parts, then get in contact with SPI today. We love help our customers across the Michigan area get the plastic parts they need.

molded plastic parts manufacturing 3D prototype

Understanding Molded Plastic Parts Manufacturing: From Concept To Fulfillment


Molded-Plastic-Parts-Manufacturing-3d-prototypeWhen you’re looking to design a plastic part or entire plastic product, the process generally follows a simple series of steps. However, the method of production you end up using may be any one of several which is determined by the geometry of the part and the functional requirements placed upon it. It’s important to understand molded plastic parts manufacturing.

Fortunately, the steps are pretty straightforward once you understand the sequence of events needed to take a project from an initial idea to a final part design and manufacturing process. Below is a simple road map to consider and some examples of a couple of the most common molded plastic parts manufacturing methods.  Go from initial design to a completed product.

1. Coming Up With A Design 

The first step is coming up with a design for your plastic molded part. This can begin with something as simple as a sketch on the back of a napkin. Your initial design should ultimately incorporate enough detail to have an engineer draw up a 3D Model of your proposed plastic part. This is the beginning point from which you will make all the changes and refine the initial ideas into a working representation of your parts. Also from this drawing you may want to get an actual prototype built.

During this phase it is very helpful to work with a design team, which generally includes engineering, sales and manufacturing technical expertise, to assist with finalizing your design and preparing it for the next phase of the process. It’s important to define what type of testing needs to be done to prove out the feasibility of your part design and functionality.

2. Determine the molding process to be used.

injection molded plastic parts

Screw Driver Set — Tools/Hardware

blow molded plastic bellows

Bellows

During this phase you’ll need to decide which type of molding method will be best for your product. The type of plastic molding process selected will depend upon your initial design, quantities needed and overall functionality of the part. There are several plastic molding processes available.  Five of the more common general broad categories are Injection Molding, Blow Molding, Rotational Molding, Extrusion Molding and Thermoset Molding.  Each of these processes have more specific sub groups of processes within them.  The general category is all you will need at the beginning of your project. From these categories you will quickly narrow to the primary molding process most appropriate to your part.

Two of the most common forms of molding plastic include blow molding and injection molding. Injection molding is used to produce parts made with a simple open and close function of the mold. Wall thickness and close tolerances can generally be held more consistent with injection molding than blow molding.  Blow molding is used to produce hollow plastic parts and can accommodate unusual shapes.  Both injection molding and blow molding can use a very wide range of resin materials that exhibit a similar wide range of physical properties, both visually and to the touch.  Impact strength, flexible toughness, pliability, and many other characteristics can be achieved by both injection and blow molding.

3. Prototype Your Design

During the prototyping phase, if your budget allows, you’ll develop a plastic prototype that will resemble the final molded plastic part. The plastic prototype may be created using rapid prototype resin printing, soft tooling, or use single cavity pull-ahead tooling.  There are many prototype processes available today.  The design team will determine the best fit for your project.

The budget for your project will also influence the number of times you can afford to go back and forth between your mock-up design and initial prototype. You want to keep the number of iterations to a minimum.  You will be working closely with the designers and product engineers at this stage.  The manufacturing team will play a large role in guiding what can and cannot be molded using the various plastic molding technologies.

Once you’ve finalized your prototype you’ll move forward to getting the final mold designed for your plastic part or product. You will now be working with tool design engineers to determine the most appropriate way for your part to be arranged in the actual tool, also referred to as the mold.  This process should, if at all possible, include the manufacturing technical team to determine how a tool, or mold, should be designed to run properly in the molding equipment from which the part will ultimately be produced.

4. Manufacture Your Item

The plastic manufacturing company you use to produce your final plastic part will depend upon many factors.  The type of molding you’re going to use for your final product, such as size of part and annual projected quantities will lead you to the group of processors for consideration. Most manufacturing facilities have specific specialties at which they excel.  Some plastic molding companies do just the part manufacturing.  Others do secondary assembly.  Some manufacturing companies take the process all the way to finished goods.  Fulfillment including packaging and shipping is not available from all molded plastic part manufacturers. You will also want to discuss the volume of parts each plastic manufacturer can handle. Small plastic manufacturing plants may not be suited well for large volumes.  Others specialize in short run, highly technical molding.  SPI Blow Molding is one of the Custom Industrial Molders capable of very difficult challenges.  We range from high volume parts for the agricultural industry to low volume parts for the Medical Industry.  Large tanks for the recreational vehicle industry to small injection molded parts for the electronics industry. SPI Industries’ injection molding resume covers a very diverse range of products from plumbing fixtures to freight securement systems.

Early discussions with potential manufacturers about volume, turn around, types of plastic resins available and fulfillment is highly recommended. It’s important to work with a plastics manufacturing facility that has experience producing similar style plastic parts, or is proficient in the style of plastic molding your product requires. You will also want to consider if you simply need parts or if you need the project handled from concept to completion. You may consider location of a plastic molding facility. SPI Industries and SPI blow molding are located in the South West Region of Lower Michigan and North West Region of Indiana. SPI Plants produce plastic molded parts for companies located in more than simply the Great Lakes Region. Our customers are located throughout the country.   Depending on the needs of the customer, location is not always the most important criteria.

5. Package The Goods

Once your molded plastic parts haplastic product fulfillment. products in boxes ready to shipve been produced they may then be packaged and delivered to your facility for assembly and further distribution, or could be delivered directly to your customers.  Discuss in detail your overall need for assistance with any and all steps in the manufacturing process.

Determine the role of your molded plastic part in the overall production of your finished goods. For instance, if the molded part is just one of many components and requires additional assembly or further steps in the production process, a decision must be made as to who will do the additional work. It could be the molder or it could be you as the customer. Talk to your plastic parts manufacturer about assembly capabilities offered. Secondary operations are now offered by most plastic molders. SPI Industries and SPI Blow molding offer assembly and final processing for several customers.  From single part production to total contract manufacturing and fulfillment, whereby we ship directly to your customers from your orders supplied daily.

If the molded plastic part is a standalone product you’ll be able to immediately distribute the parts to your customers. This is generally not the case.

Some manufacturing facilities will handle all of the shipping for you, while other facilities will simply deliver the finished product to you, and you will have to handle the delivery and shipping to your customers.

If you’re ready to make a mock-up design, a plastic prototype, or have a question about the manufacturing process, get in contact with SPI Industries or SPI Blow Molding today. We can help guide you through the entire molded plastic parts manufacturing process.

Difference Between Injection Molding and Blow Molding

Difference-Between- Injection-Molding-and-Blow-MoldingMost people in the plastics manufacturing industry are familiar with both blow injection molding and blow molding these days. However there is still some confusion by product designers and engineers new to the industry about the difference between injection molding and blow molding . The blow molding process has become a standard for specific applications and understanding the differences between these two plastic molding processes can save design, prototyping and production time. This of course results in money savings and increases the speed of completion and delivery of your plastic part.

There are several significant differences between injection molding and blow molding:

  • manufacturing process itself
  • tolerances and margins of error
  • design considerations
  • role of the process for intended result

Main difference between injection molding and blow molding:

  • Injection molding – produces a part that is solid such as a reusable coffee cup lid
  • Blow molding – produces hollow parts such as water bottles

The blow molding process can produce plastic parts with very complex shapes. However to achieve this the wall thickness may vary from place to place depending on how much the material has to stretch when it is being blown. The thickness of a plastic part created through injection molding is determined by the relationship of the mold and the core.

You will be farther ahead if you are able to determine the best molding process for your plastic product in the product development stage. 

Be prepared to answer a lot of questions from plastic mold engineers:

  • How is your plastic part going to function?
  • Is it a stand alone item?
  • Is it a part that connects to other parts or works in tandem with other parts to achieve a result?
  • Does it need to pivot, move, expand, condense?
  • Is the weight critical to the function?
  • Will the part need to withstand extreme levels of cold or heat?
  • Does the item need to adjust to specific pressure levels or PSI?
  • Will the part hold fluids?
  • Does it need to be food safe?
  • Does it need to be flexible or does it need to be solid and rigid?
  • What length does the part need to be, width, depth?

Answering these questions when designing and manufacturing any item is good a idea. With items requiring plastic molding the large variety of plastics to choose from, the importance of accuracy, and the difference between injection molding and blow molding it’s best to determine these answers as soon as possible. When one millimeter size difference can make the item usable or unusable for its intended purpose, accuracy and creative solutions are required. That’s why we have engineers, right?

Custom Plastic Molding Solutions

Because of the many variable in producing molded plastic parts, nearly every part we produce requires a custom solution. Engineers review all variables based on the end use of the product.

Variables to consider in Molded Part Production:

  • type of plastic used
  • flexibility or strength
  • psi pressure rate required
  • withstand temperatures levels – hot or cold
  • wall thickness
  • product dimensions

Once these variables are considered the whole process will go much smoother and quicker. The use of 3D printers in the prototype stage helps to reduce time too. Designing molds and fine tuning them to perfection can take a few tries but once complete production can begin.

When injection molding is determined to be the best process for your plastic part once you have an approved mold you’re practically golden. The injection molding process begins, the product is produced and there is very little concern of production issues with the injection process.

Therein lies another difference between injection molding and blow molding. In the blow molding process getting the mold perfect is only part of the battle. During the blow molding production process there are many variables manufacturers must pay attention to. The iterative nature of the blow molding process lends itself to production variables.

Periodically checking the production line is important for quality control. If the plastic is stretched too much small pin holes or cracks in seals can result. Checking for wall thickness uniformity to ensure they are within the tolerances needed for the part to behave as it is intended is also critical. As an example, a plastic bellows is made to collapse when pressure is applied and then expand back to it’s original form once pressure is released. Consistent wall thickness helps the bellows to function correctly. If the plastic bellows collapses on one end faster than the other because the wall is thinner your plastic part may wear out quicker and may not function smoothly. Having sold process control systems in place will produce consistent parts with high quality function.

Blow Molding Production Concerns:

  • pinhole leaks
  • leaking seals
  • flexibility or strength
  • velocity or pressure of blown air
  • speed of the mold closing
  • process temperature
  • wall thickness
  • poor function
  • consistent product dimensions

You can learn more about the various plastic molding processes that are applicable to your product or new invention at Plastic news.

Do you have a new plastic product invention and you aren’t sure about which plastic mold process is the best solution for your item? Give SPI a call today, our engineers love a challenge! We will help guide you in the most appropriate and cost efficient plastic molding solution for your unique requirements.

Plastic blow molded parts assembled and packaged for shipping.

More Questions to Ask When Choosing a Michigan Plastic Blow Molding Company

Plastic blow molded parts assembled and packaged for shipping.

Plastic blow molded parts assembled and packaged for shipping.

The previous blog entry covered five top questions when researching a Michigan plastic blow molding company. This blog entry covers some of the other considerations when looking for a local plastic blow molding company. We have specified Michigan blow molding company because that is where we are located. However the information isn’t specific to any one state or province. Blow molding companies in southwest Michigan and blow molding companies in China and elsewhere can held to the same standard.

  1. Combine molds for a variety of plastic shapes – Separate mold pieces combined for many different sizes & shapes.  Blow molding may not be the best option for your part, or possibly one element of you part requires blow molding and another part is best suited for injection molding. A consultation with an experienced engineer can offer the most efficient applications to produce a high quality product.
  2. Location – Finding a plastic blow molding manufacturer that has submitted the lowest cost but is located out of state or the country can quickly lose its’ advantage when packaging, freight costs and lead times increase. If the facility you choose has a considerable cost advantage but is located in a nearby state and once freight and shipping is determined still results in a cost savings and meeting shipment scheduling is guaranteed to meet turn around times, close proximity may not be a concern. Many Michigan manufacturers require tier suppliers to be within a specific mile radius which limits options in some cases. If for instance, you are an appliance manufacturer you may not have rules for suppliers location but the convenience of having your parts manufacturers close can reduce cost and valuable lead time.
  3. Turn around – As noted above with the location, turn around time can be critical in the manufacturing industry. The more time required to manufacture parts the more cost per part, thus increasing the cost of the final product. When comparing press capabilities, a penny difference per part of one million parts on a slower press adds up quickly. Considerations must be taken with the speed of design, prototyping, changes, production and fulfillment. If molded parts can be completed within other facilities at the same level of quality at a much faster speed it can reflect in a huge cost savings to the customer and more sales to the manufacturer.
  4. Assembly and Packaging – Often times blow molded or injection molded parts are just one piece of a larger item. For instance blow molding for manufacturers would include the tires on the 4-wheeler tote-a-long in the photo above . However, in this example the body of the product also requires blow molding. Bringing the components together to a completed product in one facility instead of shipping parts to be blow molded in one spot then assembled in another, then packaged in another location is time consuming and expensive. SPI Blow Molding and SPI Industries in Michigan produce the plastic molded parts, assemble, package and ship to the manufacturer or directly to the wholesaler or distributor.  Other items such as food bins that need micro sized parts added and attached can be assembled in SPI blow molding and injection molding facilities. All products will need to be packaged whether products are individual parts, partially assembled or complete products ready for sale. Determining packaging is an important step in the final stages of the manufacturing process. How products will be packaged, from large boxes that will be transported on skids, to small items placed in plastic bags and then into cardboard boxes for shipping or individually into customer provided point of purchase packaging all adds cost and time.
  5. Warehouse direct shipping – Once the plastic molded parts are complete and packaged what is the best method to get products to the next stage? Options from the blow molding manufacturer and injection mold manufacturer for shipping or delivery of items include shipping to warehouses, production facilities, or customer’s business. Some blow molding companies like SPI Blow Molding, offer warehousing and factory direct shipping, and even direct to retailer or end user shipping. This is a valuable service for companies who do not have a fleet of delivery trucks or a fleet service they retain. Keeping manufacturing, assembly, packaging and shipping within one facility reduces cost, staff, and liability. Time savings include, reduced order tracking, order placement, product receiving, staff management, reduced time monitoring and tracking of spending and payroll.

Have we answered all of your questions on blow molding? Hardly! Once you are ready, give us a call or shoot us an email. We can talk to you about your specific product or part and offer suggestions for the best production solution to fit your product application and your time and budget. Meanwhile take a peak at the article about our expansion covered by Plastics News!