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Various Factors Affecting Mold Costs
Jul 03, 2018

Today, let's discuss with you the control of mold costs. First of all, one of the most basic questions, what is the cost of the mold, when I was doing a lecture in a certain place, a friend can answer me without thinking: the mold cost is the mold material fee + processing fee + tax. Of course, there is also a labor fee. We can think that the labor fee is included in the processing fee, and of course the design fee.

From a narrow point of view, this answer is good, but I have to ask, since this is the answer, in addition to cutting corners and tax evasion, is there any way to control or reduce costs?

This is my opening remark and I am joking with everyone. To truly talk about the cost of managing molds, we must analyze the various factors that affect the cost of the mold.

The first factor, the rational design of the product is the biggest factor affecting the cost of the mold.

I believe that many people present will not agree with me. Whether the design of the product is reasonable or not, how could it be the biggest factor affecting the cost of the mold. Let's take a look. The first foot, I kicked the ball to our OEM. But everyone thinks about it. If the product design is unreasonable, it is a disaster for the mold company. It is a disaster. I have been working on molds for more than 40 years. This kind of experience has been much more experienced. Sometimes, in order to achieve an undercut on the product, the product engineer and the mold designer do not communicate well, and the cost of the mold will increase exponentially.

I had the privilege of participating in the design of a car interior for a disabled person in a Shanghai auto company. One of the parts is called the middle partition. According to the original design, this part is very large, and the production cost of the mold is about 4 million RMB. The matching injection molding machine is over 4,000 tons. Later I suggested splitting it into 2 pieces. The production cost of the two sets of molds did not add up to more than 2 million. The matching injection molding machines are all 1,500 tons. Finally, all are happy. There are too many such examples. Therefore, a product designer should know as much as possible about the knowledge of the mold, so that the designed product is as suitable as possible for the mold engineering, and do not increase the difficulty and cost of the mold. Under the premise of meeting the assembly of the vehicle, maintaining good communication with the mold department is the most effective and direct measure to reduce the cost of the mold. There is also a philosophical question of productivity and production relations. Some product engineers believe that the cost of mold is a matter for your mold company and has nothing to do with me. However, if the production relationship is recombined, the injection molding company and the mold company are one, what will happen? In fact, this is a social trend. The companies that are operating better now are the combination of injection molding companies and mold companies. Companies that exist solely on the basis of mold making can hardly survive. Therefore, if the product design is unreasonable, it will directly increase the cost of the mold.

The second factor affecting mold cost is the design change of the product.

Mold companies often encounter such a situation. In a certain project, the mold has just been designed, the mold frame has just been ordered back, and the customer's change notice will come. If it is a small change, it will not affect the overall structure of the mold. It doesn't matter, sometimes it's more serious, because the shape of the product changes, the mechanism needs to be added to the mold, and even the mold base must be reordered. This cost has increased. So try to minimize design changes. Now there are a lot of rapid prototyping methods. Before the mold is made, the 3D will be used to make the whole vehicle assembly, and the 3D of the product can be corrected in time to minimize the cost increase caused by the product design change. I remember that I used to participate in the research and development of Beijing Jeep Cherokee 213. The model that was injection molded in Shenzhen was going to Beijing to try the assembly. The light plane had tossed dozens of back and forth. This cost is a material fee or a processing fee. It is really hard to say.

The third factor that affects mold cost is the perfect mold design.

Here we have to analyze the situation in two cases. The first is the rationality and processability of the mold design.

In general mold companies, there must be old and experienced designers in the design team, as well as young engineers who have just come out of school. We can't ask young engineers to design high-level molds independently when they first come to the company. Experienced mold engineers, if the mold structure produced by closed doors, can not be perfect, there will definitely be some unconsidered details. One of the most important and effective methods is the collective review. I remember that I bought a German mold book in the 1970s. It seems to call 80 pieces of advanced mold structure. The biggest impact on me is that the book mentions the process of making molds. It must go through many times of the mold structure. Collective review. This has the greatest impact on my mold career, and it really benefits a lot. Now I believe that everyone has a consensus. There are now many simulation methods, such as mold flow analysis, mold structure dynamic analysis, trial products and design 3D comparison analysis, which can minimize the cost increase caused by the irrational mold design.

The second case is design waste. If the mold user clearly produces 500 samples as long as the mold is used to develop the market, if we design according to the mold with a life of 300,000 molds, the cost will be large, which is a waste of design.