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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.

Made in Michigan – Oversized Blow Molded Plastic Tooth

Made in Michigan Art and Parts

Did you read about the oversized blow molded plastic tooth design that was created for an art installation? Did you know if was made in Michigan? SPI Blow Molding, Coloma, Michigan constructed the teeth for a toothquake. The toothquake resulted from the Tooth Fairy choosing to relocate from her gold dome in the sky to Northville, Michigan. IN case you missed it, the toothquake incident occurred during the Arts & Acts Celebration in Northville, Michigan on June, 17, 2016.

In advance of the celebration Dr Demray and his team researched blow molders from all over, including China. Thankfully, their research led them to SPI Injection Molding who then lead them to their sister company, SPI Blow Molding. Upon meeting the owners and engineers at SPI Blow Molding Dr, Demray and his team knew if they were going to get their oversized blow molded plastic tooth produced, SPI Blow Molding was the shop to do it. After the meeting Dr. Demray affirmed, “What great people” and a wonderful relationship was formed.

The Made In Michigan Toothquake Was a Success

Because the oversized blow molded plastic teeth were made in Michigan the art installation will be a significant addition to the Buy Michigan Now Festival to be held in Northville August 5th-7th. The structure is schooled to be in place for viewing at 371 E. Main St. – Northville, MI for the annual 4th of July parade, during the summer long Friday night Concert series in Town Square, for the Great Lakes Food, Art & Music Festival, the Heritage Festival, October in the ‘Ville and the Salute to Summer Festival. The Acci-DENTAL Masterpiece will come down in November, 2016.

The Acci-DENTAL Masterpiece is the cornerstone of an 8-month public awareness campaign focusing on children’s dental health. Dr. Demray is committed to educating parents about the importance of limiting sugar – exposing foods that have high hidden sugar content plus the importance of good oral hygiene… brush 2 x a day for 2 minutes and visit the dentist 2 x a year. This practice will contribute to a chid’s overall good health. In addition to the 3,333 teeth on display – Dr. Demray asked SPI to make 1,111 more – for an art exhibit to be held in February, 2017 – Children’s National Dental Health Month. Beginning July 1st parents, educators, heath care providers and anyone with an artistic flair can donate money to acquire a tooth,design it, return it temporarily for the exhibit and a chance to win. The suggested donation is $20. Details will be available are at toothfairyoverstock.com. A portion of the proceeds will go to the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) Dental School Community Outreach Program. UDM has a mobile dental clinic that can go to the children, if they can’t come to the dentist.

SPI Industries is proud to have been a part of Dr. Demray’s life mission to share the message of preservation to children early in life. If you have a plastic product or part that you would really like to have made in Michigan and it needs blow molded please give SPI Blow Molding a chance to review the scope of your project. We pay attention to all of the details and design each plastic piece so each molded cavity is filled and will meet or exceed the highest quality standards and tolerances. Give us a call today.

AcciDENTAL Masterpiece – New Product Inventions as Art

New Product Inventions as Art Blow molded Plastic Teeth

At SPI Industry molding facilities we are fascinated with the creativity and ingenuity of new product inventions.  Product developers create new designs of existing products as well as completely new products that are designed to make life easier, more efficient, safer, or more attractive for everyone. We see all new product inventions as art!

Recently, we received the most unique new plastic molding product request yet. SPI Injection Molding and SPI Blow Molding have produced a full gamut of new product inventions from plastic game pieces, plastic home decorations, plastic parts for appliances, molded parts for healthcare, and many more but this new plastic product concept was a first.  It wasn’t too unusual when the SPI Injection plant in South Bend, Indiana received a request to produce a large plastic tooth. What was unusual was the story behind the tooth.

plastic blow molded teethNew Product Inventions as Art Installations

The over 3000 molded plastic teeth were needed to create a toothquake! The toothquake was represented in the form of a 23’ x 26’ wide waterfall from the second story windows of an old Victorian that is home to the dental office of Dr. Demray. The tooth quake, we learned, was a result of the seismic activity that arose from the relocation of everybody’s favorite childhood messenger, the Tooth Fairy. The Tooth Fairy was staying at Dr. Demray’s offices temporarily while her new warehouse was being constructed. As each night passed, the increase in children’s teeth could no longer be contained and caused a toothquake Friday, June 17, 2016.

Dr. Demray was the most obvious choice when the Tooth Fairy was in need of temporary living quarters. Throughout his over 40 year career Dr. Demray’s mission has been to educate kids about good oral care. Demray’s commitment to share the message of bone preservation and dental care to children is also demonstrated in his cast of characters such as Betsy Floss and Miss Ginger Vitis. These characters participate in parades and school presentations sharing the importance of good oral care for kids. Ever seeking new ways to bring dental care education to the forefront, Dr. Demray decided an art installation of thousands of teeth in a cascading waterfall from his second story offices would be impactful. As a long time Art & Acts supporter, Dr. Demray planned the art exhibit reveal for the opening day of the 2016 Northville Arts & Acts celebration.

When the concept was conceived Dr. Demray and his staff hoped the teeth would be made in the United States. When Dr. Demray’s staff contacted SPI Industries they called SPI Injection Molding plant in South Bend, Indiana. After a short discussion it was determined SPI Blow Molding plant in Coloma, Michigan would be the best approach for the production and molding of the plastic teeth.

SPI Blow Molding understood the teeth would be used to help educate kids on the importance of dental care. The SPI team quickly learned their efforts would also be paramount in the relocation of the Tooth Fairy to Northville, Michigan. This was no ordinary plastic tooth to be used in dental displays or for training for the dental industry!

Fulfillment of the order in time for the Arts & Acts Celebration in Northville set to begin June 17, 2016 was a fun and rewarding experience for the SPI Industry team.

Do you have new product inventions, art installations or even a new twist on an old product that needs attention to detail and experienced engineers to construct? Give SPI Injection or SPI Blow Molding a call today. We’d love to sink our teeth into it.

Read more about how Dr. Demray’s future plans for the teeth to benefit dental care awareness in future blogs.

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.

Benefits of Creating a Plastic Prototype for Production Molding

Benefits of Creating a Plastic Prototype for Production Molding
When you consider creating a new part that is to be made of plastic and the tooling cost is considerable, it is most desirable to test the functionality of the part prior to actually building the tool. Creating a plastic prototype can help determine if the part will function as designed. Modifications to a tool can not only be costly but degrade its overall performance and longevity.

The CAD Systems of today, such as Solid Works, which is what we use at SPI Blow Molding and SPI Industries provide a great deal of power to make changes to a part quickly as well as draw all related interacting parts to test the stack up interference fit required in a final assembly. Solid Modeling on the computer has replaced the need for some part prototyping of the past. None the less, there are several current approaches to making a prototype of the product that remain relevant today.

Plastic Mold Modeling:

Historically the only approach was to have a model made by a professional model builder.  The prototype may have been constructed of wood, plastic or metal depending on the size and function of the test needed to be performed on the prototype to prove its size and function.  Many parts today still require a fully functioning prototype model to get exact data from which a mold can be built.  It is a small price to pay for a good prototype part to avoid or at least reduce the iterations of design changes often required while designing and developing new parts and new products.

Rapid Prototyping:

Modern technology, such as Plastic Part Printing, has made prototyping not only less expensive but extremely quick to completion.  In today’s fast paced manufacturing arena the quicker a product can move from the sales planning stage to the manufacturing floor the better.  The life span of a consumer product has become incredibly short, thereby increasing, the pressure to develop new products even faster.  An example of how SPI Blow Molding recently used Rapid Prototype Printing to solve a problem for one of our customers, The Best Bins, was the development of a Portion Control Cylinder which was to be retrofitted into a current bulk food container dispensing unit.  Our engineering department drew the new portion control cylinder using Solid Works.  The drawing was then sent to the Rapid Prototype Entity, where it was produced.

The Plastic Printer, working similar to laying down ink, uses heated plastic resin instead of ink.  The printer then makes repeated passes just as it would if printing on a piece of paper, only it continues to make passes laying down a thin film of plastic resin with each pass.  Each pass prints a slightly different geometry, thus changing the shape of the plastic that is being printed. Each pass also moves up slightly preparing for the next pass.  This process is repeated hundreds and hundreds of times, until a completed part has been produced.  The part can be hollow or in nearly any shape, making it a perfect process to prototype parts for both Injection Molding and Blow Molding, which is what we do here at SPI.

Blow molded plastic bin dispenserThe Prototype Portion Control Cylinder was then tested for the amount of product it would allow to move though the dispensing unit on The Best Bins Bulk Food Container.  The amount was not what we wanted.  Four versions of the prototype part later we were all pleased with the outcome. At that point we were ready to build a new tool.

The amount of time and money saved by being able to rapid prototype this part was significant to our customer.  Without this testing capability we would have been forced to rebuild a mold cavity multiple times, which is both expensive and destructive to the integrity of the new tool.

It should be noted this approach is best used to determine size and fit, not strength and toughness.  Material characteristics will be very different in the prototype than in the final molded version.

Pull Ahead Cavities:

Another approach to prototyping is the concept of pulling forward a cavity in a multiple cavity tool.  If the project is for medium to small plastic parts, then it is very common to use a tool in production containing several cavities of the same part.  In this case it is sometimes wise to build one cavity and use that cavity to product prototype parts.  If changes are required, modifications can be made to that cavity only, allowing all subsequent cavities to be constructed to the newly proven geometry; resulting from the testing on the prototype (pull ahead) cavity.  This is also the prototyping choice where many parts are required for testing and the test challenges the strength and toughness characteristics.

Pull-Ahead-Cavity-plastic-liquid-dispenserSPI Industries used this technique in developing a new plastic collar for Monsanto’s 1 gallon Pump n’ Go “Round-Up” dispenser.  The new tool was to be 4 cavities.  SPI used Mold Flow Software to assist with the tool design.  It was then determined a Pull Ahead Cavity was the right way to go so extensive testing could be done before completion of the other three cavities. We did discover additional changes to be made and thus preserved the strength and durability of the final three cavities.

Reap benefits of creating a plastic prototype for production molding. SPI Blow Molding and SPI Industries injection molding specialize in custom solutions and mold design. SPI Blow Molding and SPI Industries injection molding specialize in custom solutions. Bring us your plastic parts and plastic product manufacturing challenges and let us get to work creating solutions.

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.

How To Make A Plastic Mold For Plastic Products and Parts

make a plastic Injection mold for plastic logistic loadbars

Injection molded plastic logistic load bars

Most people within the plastics industry are familiar with creating a mold for plastic products. Or, at least have a general understanding of the process that goes into it. However, some general confusion still exists with product designers, engineers, and other professionals about the ins and outs of the process. There are a number of methods to make a plastic mold for products that will be used for manufacturing multiple quantities of products. Each method will take different amounts of financial investment and time. The steps below will get you moving in the right direction to create your very own plastic mold.

1. Determine Quantity

What’s the quantity of plastic products you’ll be producing? The number of parts and custom plastic pieces you need will determine the type of molding you use, and the manufacturer you work with.

Most manufacturers require that your entire build be at least 100,000 parts or greater. If this number is too high then you may have to shop around until you find the right manufacturer who is willing to do the job for you. Contact SPI Blow Molding or SPI Industries today to discuss quantities, larger plastic blow molded pieces or plastic injection molded pieces can be produced at lower quantities and still be cost effective.

2. Your Budget

What will your budget be for this plastic mold? Your budget for your project should include the design and creation of your mold, as well as future modifications.

Your budget can also influence the method of plastic molding you use, as some are cheaper than others. Also, the more complex your overall design, the more expensive the process is going to be.

3. Overall Size and Design

The type of plastic molding your project will require will be determined by the size and design of your product. You can also adapt your design to use a specific plastic molding process. For instance, when using injection molding you’ll generally have to have a smaller design. While, blow molding is usually used to create products, such as, containers, tubes and bottles.

4. Project Materials

Your project design will influence the materials and types of plastics that need to be used. Sometimes, designs will have a specific material that needs to be used for the product to function, while other times the materials can be more flexible.

Make sure you speak with your manufacturer to ensure you’re using the right material for the job.

Plastic Molding Methods Available

There are a variety of plastic molding methods, which can be used based upon your unique project specifications.

make-a-plastic-mold-blow-molded-bellows

Blow molded plastic bellows

The most commonly used methods to make a plastic mold are:

  • Injection molding
  • Blow molding
  • Compression molding
  • Gas Assist Molding
  • Film Insert Molding
  • Rotational Molding
  • Thermoforming

By going through the process above you’ll have every specification you require to build the perfect plastic mold for your product. This isn’t a process you’ll want to rush, as a simple design flaw can have you starting the entire process again from scratch.

If you’re ready to make a plastic mold or product, or have a question about the process, contact SPI today. No question or project is too challenging for our team! We can help to guide first time product inventors through the plastic molding process, or implement a unique solution for a product redesign that your are considering.

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.