How to reduce manufacturing mold cost?

Time:2019-10-18 08:53:57 / Popularity: / Source:

In recent years, mould manufacturing costs have continued to rise, so whenever we always discuss topics such as how to reduce mold cost. Therefore, this paper tries to analyze various aspects of mould manufacturing, in order to reduce cost of mould manufacturing.
mould manufacturing 
Quality, price, cycle, service, this is four major factors that mold manufacturer and users are very concerned about. In recent years, mainly due to continuous increase of labor costs and rising prices of raw materials and energy, cost of mould manufacturing has also been rising. In contrast, profit margin of mold manufacturing companies has been declining. Some mold manufacturing companies have reported that quality and level of some molds currently produced are worse than they were five years ago. This is really puzzling: in past five years, technology has improved a lot. Why does quality level drop? They explained that because some users (or mold purchasers) unilaterally and simply demanded price reduction and were indifferent to mold quality. They had to be forced to use low-cost materials, low-grade mold standard parts, unreasonably simplify mold structure and reduce processing cost. Therefore, this is not that company can't produce high-quality molds but a helpless business. Although this phenomenon exists in industry, this abnormal low-cost manufacturing can not only be promoted, but should be carried out and suppressed. Therefore, we must promote low-cost manufacturing under premise of ensuring and improving mold quality and standards.

First, analyze manufacturability, reasonably determine type and structure of mold, and select materials as needed.

Nowadays, most users will provide digital information of products to mold manufacturer when ordering molds. However, because products companies that use molds are often not familiar with molds, manufacturability is not considered in design, so phenomenon that process is not well thought out or even not manufactured at all may occur. In order to avoid repetitive and wastefulness in molding design and mould manufacturing process, mold manufacturing companies should conduct manufacturability analysis before molding design begins to ensure molding design and mould manufacturing success. Mold type and structure should then be determined. From perspective of cost reduction, fast economic molds, aluminum alloy molds, cast iron mold bases, etc. should all be considered in the case of meeting requirements of users. Ingenious structures can sometimes significantly reduce cost of mould manufacturing. In addition, correct material selection is also very important, so in addition to user's designation, we should follow material selection principle. Use of high-grade materials for manufacture of medium and low-grade molds increases costs and waste, and corresponding heat treatment should be considered in combination with technical requirements and materials. Therefore, it is also advisable to use a low melting point alloy, aluminum or processed plastic and resin to manufacture mold, while meeting user's requirements.

Second, shorten mould manufacturing cycle from all links.

mould manufacturing 
Shortening mould manufacturing cycle is not only requirement of user, but also common pursuit of mold manufacturing companies, because in general, for mold manufacturing companies, shortening of mould manufacturing cycle means improvement of efficiency and reduction of cost. Mold production can be divided into several major stages of design, processing, assembly and commissioning, so we must grasp key links of each stage, so as to effectively shorten production cycle of entire mold.

1. Strive to shorten molding design stage.

Today, computer-aided design (CAD) has become popular, so choosing software, using software, and gradually popularizing 3D software is key. Therefore, it has become very important to accumulate experience, electronically digitize knowledge, and build a database. Use of CAD rapid design and optimization technology combined with computer-aided analysis (CAE) technology and use of mold-specific software, try to move design work forward, are some effective methods. Advance intervention and participate in product development, design together with mold user, not only can advance molding design work, mold production technology preparation time is greatly shortened, mold and its products can be more rationalized, phenomenon of repeated production due to modification of product by mold user and poor processmanship of product is avoided.

2. Realize digital manufacturing and information management.

It is a general trend to transform and upgrade traditional industries with high-tech and information technology, and to deepen integration of industrialization and informationization. CAD/CAE/CAM integration technology, C3P, C4P, KBE technology, mold flexible manufacturing (FMS) and automated processing technology all rely on digitalization. Reverse engineering, concurrent engineering, agile manufacturing, and virtual manufacturing (including virtual design, virtual machining, virtual assembly, and even virtual enterprise and virtual reality) also rely on digitalization. Therefore, digitalization is key to mould manufacturing from “experience” to “science”. Achieving digital manufacturing not only shortens manufacturing cycles, reduces mold cost, but more importantly improves mold quality, accuracy and reliability.
Doing a good job in information construction and realizing information management is another important issue for mold manufacturing companies. Mold manufacturer information management has evolved from past financial management to process management, product data management, project management, manufacturing process management, knowledge base management, product lifecycle management, cost management, e-commerce, resource management, etc. Convenient bar code and wafer technology and management software for single-piece small batch production have been applied to information management of mold manufacturing companies. Application of information management can not only shorten mold production cycle and reduce mold cost, but also improve management level and efficiency of entire mold manufacturer. Nowadays, development and application level of enterprise informatization has become a significant symbol to measure comprehensive competitiveness of an enterprise. Wisdom, integration and networking have also become development direction of informationization.

3. Advanced technology and details exist at the same time.

High-speed machining, including high-speed cutting, is an effective method in mold industry to shorten mold cycle. Statistics show that high-speed cutting combined with CAD/CAM technology can shorten mould manufacturing cycle by about 40%, automated robot can increase productivity by 50% and reduce cost by 30%. Use robots to install workpiece, select suitable high-quality tools and fixtures, suitable cutting fluids, electrical processing media, lubricating fluids, corrosion-resistant and low-loss electrode materials, quickly manufacture electrical machining electrodes based on RP technology combined with special processing technology, EDM powder processing, as well as application of rapid prototyping technology and rapid tooling technology can effectively shorten mold production cycle. Finishing, assembly and debugging have a great influence on mould manufacturing cycle. Efforts to reduce finishing, assembly and debugging time, gradually improve machine clamp ratio (ie, ratio of machining and work time), gradually develop CNC automatic polishing technology and digital simulation test mode debugging technology as well as composite processing, flexible processing, automation and intelligent processing technology can effectively shorten mold production cycle, but also help improve quality of mold.

4. Standardization and standard parts.

Statistics show that mold standardization work is done well, and mold standard parts are widely used, which can shorten mold production cycle by 30% to 40%. In terms of standards, in addition to national and industry standards, it is more important for majority of mold manufacturing companies to establish their own corporate standards. This is because standards are foundation, digital manufacturing and standardized automated production are inseparable, even dependent on standard. Practice of many mold manufacturing companies also proves that standardization can significantly increase labor productivity and shorten mold production cycle. Therefore, it is very important for development of mold manufacturer to do a good job in standardization and establish various standardization systems.

Third, "specialization, precision, special", social collaboration and corporate culture.

mould manufacturing 
According to country's classification criteria for industrial enterprises, majority of mold manufacturing companies are small and medium-sized enterprises, and large enterprises are less than one-thousandth. For majority of small and medium-sized enterprises, it is vital to be precise, special, new, strong, and productive. State is also vigorously supporting "specialized, refined, special" enterprises, which can reduce costs and benefit, improve product quality standards, promote enterprise transformation and upgrading, promote technological progress and industry development.
Specialized division of labor is continuously refined with progress and development of society. As specialized division of labor continues to be refined, social collaboration is becoming more and more extensive. For mould manufacturing, it is self-evident that specialized division of labor and deepening of social collaboration can reduce costs, improve efficiency, but key is how to act. In addition to previous parts, components, processing procedures, combination of production, research, formation of various industry alliances, technology outsourcing and use of public service platforms are gradually emerging. As long as it is used well, these can also reduce cost of mould manufacturing.
Individual design and single-piece manufacturing for a specific user is one of characteristics of mold production. Since requirements of different molds are different, different processes and different equipments must be adapted to them. Therefore, even if attention has been paid to social cooperation, utilization rate of some equipment in mold manufacturing companies is low, phenomenon that some links become "bottlenecks" is still relatively common. At this time, managers of enterprise must take effective measures on the basis of analysis and research to maximize utilization of equipment and eliminate "bottleneck" as soon as possible. With help of information management, it is very effective to balance load and do a good job of balanced production. Equipment utilization has increased, “bottleneck” has been eliminated, mould manufacturing costs have fallen.
A good company will inevitably have a good corporate culture, "people-oriented" should be core of corporate culture. A good corporate culture can fully mobilize enthusiasm of employees. Once enthusiasm of staff has been mobilized, they can come up with many good ideas and suggestions. From small reforms and rationalization proposals in all aspects, up to management and development of entire enterprise, everyone is concerned and thinking about ways, cost of mould manufacturing can naturally come down, company can naturally develop and grow.
Traditional mould manufacturing relies mainly on skills of workers, so commissioning is essential, delivery time will be extended. With development of technology and social progress, it is necessary to gradually produce good molds without relying on skills now or in the future; mould manufacturing is gradually becoming highly automated; mold delivery time is getting shorter and shorter, and mold cost will be lower and lower.
mould manufacturing 
Finally, I think we should also analyze relationship between low-cost manufacturing of molds and low-cost production of mold users. Reducing manufacturing cost of mold can generally reduce production cost of mold user. These two should be consistent, but there is not only a degree of problems, but also a problem that is reasonably matched. So-called "degree" is to reduce cost of mould manufacturing, and must not be excessive. As mentioned at beginning of this article, reducing cost of mould manufacturing must be carried out without lowering quality of mold and meeting requirements of users. It is easier to understand.
Core of problem of reasonable matching between these two is to consider comprehensively, mold should be able to bring the greatest benefit to user. If product requirements are low or batch size is small, then mold is more costly, but if product requirements are high or batch size is large, then low cost of mold cannot be simply pursued. This creates a problem of reasonable matching. For example, a set of conventional molds and a set of hot runner molds can meet requirements of users to produce a certain amount of qualified injection molded parts. From perspective of mold cost, conventional mold price is lower than hot runner, which seems to have an advantage, but if In terms of total cost of production, use of hot runner molds not only guarantees quality of products, but also greatly improves production efficiency and raw material utilization rate. Therefore, from perspective of total cost of user, use of hot runner molds which are much more expensive than conventional molds can reduce production cost. Key here is a reasonable match. There are many such examples and similar situations for high-efficiency and multi-functional molds. Therefore, mold manufacturing companies should strive to reduce cost of mould manufacturing, at the same time, from interests of users, propose reasonable matching, communicate and negotiate with users. All are considered together to determine the most reasonable solution.

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