Questioning your molder choice due to automation?

Published On: April 18th, 2024|Categories: Blog|

Magazines, emails, newsletters, all touting automation and not just an answer but a savior of manufacturing. That may be true someday, but not yet. This trend, a push toward automation, has been progressing for years now. First as a means to save costs, now as an answer to a dwindling workforce.

Still, it has its limitations. Robots themselves, their programming, their size have evolved significantly. Still, the great barrier is the “end-of-arm” tooling. The part of the robot that has to customized to pick up or handle the part or assembly you are making. That tooling has to be customized to match the individual part you are making. So, return on investment (ROI) as always, is calculated by cost per number of units. For low and medium volume parts, that ROI does not pay for itself.

Production workers always feared automation. A fear of taking away jobs from current workers. Yet, as previously mentioned, automation has taken on a new role, replacing workers that do not exist in the first place.In many situations, OEMs are accepting higher costs related to having to shift to automation for their products.

In the case of injection molding service providers, those with both high volume and lower volume customers, their shift to automation is leaving some customers out in the cold. Suppliers are requiring customers to run higher volumes than they require. The end result carrying inventory on the shelf for later orders.

Some customers can absorb these increased costs; others are being told it is time to find a new supplier. That their “customer profile” no longer fits the molder’s “customer profile.”  The problem is that the customer was in the wrong place to begin with. Being part of a high-volume shop’s customer list means the supplier is tolerating you and you are paying for the privilege of staying there.

The answer is not to pay more, the answer is to partner with an injection molding supplier that caters to low and medium volume.

PlastiCert has nothing but low and medium volume customers. Our customer list contains names from multi-national conglomerates to small start-ups. They all have one thing in common though, they need technically difficult, engineered resin parts, but in small and medium volume quantities. They also prefer to collaborate with a supplier that can guide them on their design, help select resins, design and then make their mold, AND run their production efficiently and effectively when they need their parts.

Insert molding on 500 Ton Injection press

Getting the cold shoulder at your supplier? VM callbacks coming slowly, not getting much attention? Supplier saying you must run higher quantities, or pay for automation implementations?

Give PlastiCert a call. PlastiCert has geared our entire production plan around producing low and medium volume production runs. We do it better than most. That is why, even doing all low and medium volume, we are a four-time Top Shop Award winner from Plastics Technology magazine.

Someday when end-of-arm tooling advances, we will even automate. When that day comes, it will not be at our customers’ expense. It will be to their advantage.

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