Cycle time – it makes or breaks an injection molder, and the price you pay

Published On: September 12th, 2018|Categories: Blog|

An RFQ for a custom mold and molded part is not like getting a volume catalog price. There needs to be some back and forth communication and major assumptions made to arrive at an accurate price for both.

When assessing a quotation you receive from an injection molder, the mold and piece part price are generally regarded as solid. At other molders sometimes that is not the case. A great deal of a price’s validity have to do with the molder and their capabilities, familiarity with the proposed resin and part design, and quite honestly, their hunger for the new business. If you have ever experienced a pricing discussion after the completion of the mold, you know what I mean. At PlastiCert, we’re confident. The price we quote is the price you pay.

I have blogged about how a mold quote is always an estimate. At the time of the quote, it has not been designed yet. The mold designer has devised a plan for what he/she thinks the mold will be, all based upon the part design. The price of the mold is pretty much all based upon those assumptions.

The piece part price you receive is based upon the same premise, perhaps exacerbated a little more because that price is based upon a mold that has not yet been designed. Labor, machine cost, overhead, these are all cost components that are pretty well set. The key variable is cycle time, that period of time on the injection press from start of mold close to ejection and mold fully open. That time, and the confidence in the calculation of that time, will be the key aspect of the piece part quotation.

If your complex engineered resin part price is based upon a cycle time of 30 seconds, just a 5,000 piece order will take nearly 42 hours of machine/labor time. If the cycle time is just 10% longer, 33 seconds, it would take 4 additional hours to make that same 5,000 parts. What do you think that does to your costing and ultimately the final price you pay? The higher the quantity of parts the larger the disparity between quoted and actual.

Some molders will lowball the cycle time to offer a better piece price. Sometimes you will be approached to revise the mold price to optimize it to attain the cycle time that was assumed. Sometimes the part will go into production and you’ll get that piece part price call shortly down the road.

So when you are comparing quotations, remember that the pricing you are looking at are estimates, as the mold not yet been designed. Know your molder, ask questions about the mold design, and look at the assumptions that are being made. In the end, go with what your insides tell you about the molder and their answers. If the molder knows what they are doing and were up front with their pricing, your pricing should be stable. PlastiCert’s pricing is that stable.


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