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What affects the cost of a plastic injection mold?

2018-12-18 09:01:43

Posted by Dongxinda Molding Technology corporation, edited by Shane Zhao

You may face this situation before. You were sourcing a mold maker and posting your RFQs online, you got numbers of quotes with quite different prices, from extremely high to very low, then you started scratching your heads, “Why the prices are so different? How can I choose one?”

Let’s first discuss about the factors that impact the cost of a plastic injection mold and guess you will come up with your own answer very quickly.

1) The mold material. Normally aluminum mold is much cheaper than a steel. But if you require a high-volume production and the mold lasts for a long time, you probably need a steel mold, which is more expensive and with better durability. Hardened steel mold is high-end product with much longer life time and operation cycles. Besides, the prices also vary among different steal material, like P20/FDAC/NAK80/S136/718.

2) The mold cavity number. It has something to do with your estimated production volume and anticipated molding cycles. If your demand is high enough, say 300,000 quantity totally, an experienced mold maker may maximize the cavities to maintain a high level of productivity. However, more cavity mold means more tooling work, and of course more cost on the mold machining. However, the cost may be saved when counting in the injection molding, as long as your demand is great enough. What you need is to find the balance point.

3) Requirements of finished product. This is another factor you should pay attention, the material you select for the finished product will determine the steel type made for the mold. For instance, if you pick up a corrosive plastic grains which also can cause a lot of wear during injection, the mold maker probably recommend you the S136 steel, because it has a good performance of anti wear and corrosion. Speaking of the S136, there are various prices from different manufacturers or suppliers. Normally, China offers a good price but the steel performance may not be as good as the European’s. One word, you get what you pay for. Thus, It’s important to choose the right steel with the right supplier for your mold.

Besides, some strict and high requirements on the product surface will bring you a tight-tolerance, precision mold which cost more than you expected.

4) Other factors. The mold base, there are different standards with different quality and prices. The mold life is another factor you should consider, it depends on how long you anticipate the production lasts and how many operation cycles you want to have for the lifetime of the mold. The more molding cycles you want to achieve, the better steel and mold base the molder will use, and the more cost you have to bear. The last one is the complexity of product internal structures, a more complex structure requires more tooling work which will finally turn into the cost on your bill. Thus, to keep your design as simple as possible is a feasible way to save your money.

Now you know why having so many different prices from suppliers. Please check out the information provided in your RFQ and now ask yourself a few questions. Is there enough information in our request? Do the suppliers make their quotes with different assumptions?

To get an accurate quote, you’d better provide as much information as you can, at least including:

1) CAD files (3D drawings) and 2D files (2D drawings). 2D files normally contain the basic requirements of you products which cannot be seen in the CAD files, like surface finishing, product material, critical dimensions, tolerance and etc. Thus, they are as important as 3D files.

2) Product demand forecast. How long will the production last? How many parts are going to produce per year? The order quantity for batch production? It’s hard to figure out even an estimated annual demand at this stage, because of the fluctuating market. Anyway, do your best to give your molder an anticipated demand.

3) A target price. It will be helpful to your mold builder for their price evaluation. An experienced molder can get you a competitive quote just under your target price. Once again, you get what you pay for.

If you have questions or any plans to build an injection mold, please be free to contact us at