3 Hurdles to Consider When Hiring a Plastics Manufacturer
Plastics offer wonderful characteristics for a variety of products that we just couldn’t live without. But over the last century plastic materials have developed into what seems like an endless variety of attributes and mixtures of possibilities. See more about the background at the History of Plastics.
In addition, several ways to form plastic material into products exist, requiring highly specialized tools and machinery that needs to adapt to an endless range of designs. The material variety must be selected for the product requirements. When a company adds a new plastic part or product, that needs to be unique, each of these three obstacles must be overcome in tandem with each other. It’s no small task, but fortunately the custom plastic manufacturing specialist can guide you through the maze of decisions.
- Plastic polymers continue to be developed from new filtering membrane technologies and electrical conducting[i] properties to better biodegradable properties. Hundreds of chemical and physics labs around the world, continue to work on pushing the flexible polymer to unleash more its secrets. New additives to the mixture can further enhance certain characteristics of the variety of polymers we generally just call plastics.
The industry generally sorts these into seven basic resin categories, each individual category has several more variations which can also be altered with additives and different treatments to enhance particular features.
This creates over thirty “basic” materials that can be used for plastic products. Products generally need stretch-ability, flexibility, structural characteristics, heat resistance or other characteristic to accomplish the job. These can be designed into the resin used to solve the problem.
Selecting the material as you can imagine requires specialized knowledge and experience.
- Molds, generally called tools in the industry, are highly sophisticated custom built metal molds with multiple cavities, and moving parts for product ejection and mechanization. This is a little like building a small machine out of a solid block of metal. It requires highly accurate finishing by skilled machinists. If you made any sculptures in high school art class requiring the lost wax method with plaster casts, you get the concept, but now imagine you need molds that will last for hundreds of thousands of uses, where each piece gets pushed out mechanically.
The design of the tool is designed for high productivity. Increased volume and speed is accomplished with multiple cavities. However, the cost of tools with additional cavities creates complexity that in-turn costs more. So, the expected volume as well and the particular circumstances of the manufacturing line of each company should be considered for efficiency which lowers the overall cost of each unit manufactured. When a separate company builds a tool for a client, communication is required to make sure the machinery is appropriate for the tools.
- “Design” applies to the product as well as the tools. Some complex products simply cannot be molded because they must be able to be ejected from the tool. If this is the case a product may need to be re-designed into several parts and then assembled. Many possibilities on how this is done are usually present. The creativity and experience of the designer must be meshed with the approach to manufacturing and tools
One great solution to overcoming these three interconnected hurtles is to hire a manufacturing specialist for the whole job; a contract manufacturing company. Specializing in custom manufacturing for each product, these companies become experts in coordination of each hurtle. They also understand the nuance of how to design product, tool and process to produce the product at the best price.
Microdyne Plastics has been doing this for over four decades. You can be sure you will get the best experience and guidance through the entire process. We specialize in injection, extrusion and blow molding. We produce all kinds of small plastic parts, and bottles containers for medical devices, packaging, electronics, automotive and consumer goods.
Selecting a manufacturing specialist in custom plastic manufacturing can save you time and money. But it can also prevent mistakes that can cost much more over time if any one of the three hurtles missed.
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[i] Phys.org, Polymers News, See https://phys.org/chemistry-news/polymers/