Making sure the horse is before the cart. Assessing the mold designer as part of supplier selection for an injected molded part.
When sourcing a new plastic/composite injection molded part, the first step is in determining the source for the mold making that part. Finding a mold designer may be as easy as looking inside the injection molder, or you will be visiting independent shops.
Step one is looking at the part you require and is that the “sandbox” the mold designer “plays in”. Meaning, if your part is similar to the portfolio of molds they have done in the past, they will have a library of mold designs to draw from. The knowledge and experiences they have to provide a base from which to start.
Assess their ability to utilize 3D files to identify and characterize the intricacies of the part design and determine an accurate mold quotation.
Lastly, assess the mold quotation function itself. Quoting is the heartbeat of a mold shop. How they approach and handle quoting tells you a great deal about a mold designer. If not done well, the shop will cease to exist. If padded to cover unseen or unexpected difficulties, the customer incurs unnecessary cost. If low balled to win business, the customer incurs delays and overruns, or the injection molder receives a mold made under time and cost constraints.
In many cases, finding a supplier that houses the mold designer and the injection molder allows for an environment that eliminates many issues related to “over the wall syndrome”. Knowing that the mold designer and molder are under the same roof means there will be direct accountability between the two.