Plastic Injection Molding Cost: Factors and Considerations

plastic injection molding cost

Analysts estimate the global injection molded plastics market’s value is $284.7 billion. Injection molding is an excellent solution for prototypic or mass production.

But, its global value doesn’t really indicate what a project will cost. A project’s plastic injection molding cost will vary. So, to estimate how much your project will cost you, consider twelve key factors

Factors That Affect Plastic Injection Molding Cost

Plastic injection molding is a process for creating products or components. Manufacturers inject molten material into a mold. When it cools, it is in the shape of the design.

Unfortunately, you won’t find an accurate plastic injection molding calculator online. Each project has too many variables. For example, manufacturers use different sensing, pressurizing, and optimization machinery in their processes.

Twelve factors can increase or decrease the cost of plastic injection molding.

1. Complexity

It takes more time, expertise, and effort to create an intricate mold. So, the more complex the design, the more the injection molding process costs. Therefore, interlocking or snap features increase costs.

2. Cavity Quantity

Cavitation increases costs. Each cavity increases the amount of tooling required. This, in turn, increases labor time and precision.

3. Tooling Costs

To create a mold, you will typically use one of three processes. Molds can be created via:

  • CNC machining
  • 3D printing
  • Electrical discharge machining

3D printing is the least expensive option. But, 3D printers are limited in their capacity to create certain molds.

4. Standardized Master Mold Frame vs. Stand-Alone Dedicated Mold

You can create a stand-alone dedicated mold for your part via tooling. But, you can save money by using a standardized master mold frame. Mold frames are most useful for simple shapes.

5. Hot Runner System

Hot runner systems increase your up-front cost. As well as, feed molten plastic from the machine nozzle into the cavity. It streamlines the production of molded products.

6. Manufacturing Location

Manufacturing costs vary by geographic region. Therefore, US-based manufacturers typically charge 20-40% more for production than Chinese manufacturers. But, US-based manufacturers may have the precision capabilities you need.

7. Labor Costs

Geographic region impacts labor costs. So does expertise. Bespoke and highly-customized designs will cost more.

8. Mold Classification (Materials)

Different plastic materials carry different costs.

For instance, the Plastics Industrial Association classifies plastic molds into five categories. Parts created with Mold Class 101 have the longest tool life. Mold Class 105 is for prototypes only.

9. Gates Design and Location

The gate is the opening in a cavity that lets molten plastic enter. Hot-tip gates are the most cost-effective. Valve gates maximize your control over the flow, but they’re also the most expensive. Other gate options include:

  • Tunnel
  • Edge
  • Fan
  • Sprue

10. Production Volume

A high production volume can result in a lower per-unit price. But, the cost of producing a large volume increases when parts are more complex.

Don’t start with a high volume production just to reduce the injection mold cost. Establish a prototype first.

11. Secondary/Finish Processes

Many plastic molded products must be finished or processed after manufacture. The most common finishing processes are:

  • Degating
  • Deflashing
  • Cleaning
  • Buff polishing
  • Decorating

The cost of different processes varies.

12. Cooling Options

Plastic injection molding requires cooling. Fluid cooling and air cooling are the most popular systems. Air cooling is usually less expensive.

Conformal cooling is an advanced option. It allows you to cool different parts of your design in order.

Nova Stevensville: Molding Expertise

At Nova Stevensville, we know no two projects are alike. That’s why our designers are ready to explore the ins and outs of your plans with you. Experience our world-class custom molded designs firsthand.

So, if you need a plastic injection molding cost estimate, start a conversation today. Therefore, the more information you give us, the more accurate the design plan we can offer becomes.

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