Industry status of precision injection molding and injection molded parts

Time:2019-10-28 09:24:44 / Popularity: / Source:

First, basic situation of industry

Introduction to injection molding mold and injection molded parts

Injection molding mold and injection molded parts are classified as one of mold manufacturing types, and precision injection molding is a newly developed segment in injection molding industry.
precision injection molding 
Production process of precision injection molded parts is basically composed of four elements: plastic materials, injection molding mold, injection moulding processes and injection moulding equipment. Plastic materials are often used in precision injection molding of ABS, PA, POM, glass fiber or carbon fiber engineering materials, with advantages of high mechanical properties, dimensional stability, good creep resistance and environmental stress cracking. Injection molding mold are one of key factors in obtaining precision plastic products that meet quality requirements. They are generally made of alloy steel with high mechanical strength. Mold has characteristics of high hardness, good wear resistance, corrosion resistance and higher finish, which makes it easy to demould. Good mold design can reduce injection moulding shrinkage error, injection moulding deformation, demoulding deformation and reduce product accuracy error, ensure product quality and effectively achieve quality control; Precision injection molding process is an injection moulding production method with an accuracy of 0.01-0.001mm through injection moulding machine. It is different from conventional injection moulding in precision, and has advantages of high precision and small deviation of middle path. Precision injection molding equipment is carrier to achieve precision injection molding. In order to maintain process repeatability and ensure product quality control, precision injection molding equipment needs to have a high level of control over temperature, speed, pressure, position and time of injection moulding.
According to weight repeat error, injection moulding equipment can be divided into four different specifications.
Comprehensive level Weight repeat error
Ordinary injection equipment About 1%
More precision injection molding equipment Reach 0.8%
Precision equipment Less than 0.5%
Ultra-precision injection moulding equipment Less than 0.3%
In addition, China's plastic molded parts dimensional tolerance standard "GB/T14486-2008" indicates that tolerance grade of injection molded parts can be divided into seven levels of MT1 to MT7, of which MT1 is the lowest level of error, that is, the highest precision level. MT7 is the highest level of precision error.
For example, in China's injection moulding market, injection moulding products or molds with above MT3 standard are defined as precision injection molding grades. According to accuracy requirements of applied products, they can be further divided into high precision and general precision. Specific categories are as follows:
Category Characteristics Application product
High precision injection molding Miniaturized size, dense perforations, relatively simple structure, short production cycle Packaging, electronics and medical products
General precision injection molding Large size, less perforations, suitable for production of complex structures, each product mold is composed of multiple parts together Automotive manufacturing, household appliances, office supplies and industrial manufacturing.
High precision injection molding products Production with high-precision molds; mainly based on fast-selling products. Medical disposable products, packaging products, consumer electronics products.
General precision injection moulding products Use general precision molds; relatively large size, long production cycle; often involves secondary complex processing. Building materials, auto parts, household appliances, toys, large medical equipment and other daily necessities.
In general, production process for a single precision injection moulding products takes between 15 and 60 seconds. Plastic product manufacturer with design capability can customize product according to actual needs of customer's color, shape and size.

Industry status and development prospects

Throughout injection molding mold and injection molding industry, Germany and United States have been the largest market leader in injection molding industry. After China became the world's second largest economy in 2011, as a world factory, China's plastics industry is also developing rapidly, and its scale is rapidly expanding. Number of injection molding mold and injection moulding products producers of foreign and domestic investment has exploded. According to “2015 US Plastics Materials and Machinery Export Guide”, as of end of 2013, there were 13,699 injection moulding products enterprises with an operating incomes of more than RMB 20 million in China. Most of which were mainly distributed in Pearl River Delta and Yangtze River Delta.
Precision injection molding and product industry has a broad market space. In recent years, with rapid development of polymer materials and microelectronics technology, electronic circuits have become highly integrated, making industrial equipment parts gradually developed into high precision, light weight, miniaturization. Precision injection molded parts with high precision requirements, and good mechanical, mechanical and dimensional stability. In the field of logistics, packaging, communications, aerospace, military, machinery, automotive, consumer electronics, and medical equipment, it have been widely used to replace some high-precision metal parts, such as automotive engine thermal management systems, brake systems, seat adjustment systems, door lock systems, glass lift systems and vehicle light control systems, core components for electronic components, and disposable syringes for medical devices.
At present, China's precision injection molding and mold industry is still in development stage, mainly reflected in following aspects:
1 From perspective of future, high-end precision injection molding mold and product industry is a sunrise industry.
Precision injection molding and product industry belongs to branch of mold manufacturing.
It has characteristics of novel and light, flexible and diverse, low comprehensive cost, short production cycle, high precision, high performance and miniaturization. Compared with traditional metal molds, it saves energy consumption and conforms to technological progress as a new type of structural parts. With upgrading of industrial structure becoming a national development strategy, precision injection molding industry will have the greatest potential in many fields.
2 China's precision injection molding industry has great potential for development
From market point of view, compared with mature markets in developed countries, China's engineering plastics have great potential for application in communications, aerospace, military, machinery, automotive, consumer electronics and medical equipment. According to 2015 US Plastics Materials and Machinery Export Guide, consumer demand for automotive, consumer electronics and medical devices will drive high-end functional materials industry because of lighter, lower cost and higher precision of engineering plastics relative to metal raw materials.
3 From policy point of view, state vigorously supports high-end precision injection molding industry
In recent years, Chinese government has attached great importance to development of advanced structure of material industry and has formulated plans for development of entire industry. For example, Notice on Distributing National Twelfth Five-Year Strategic Emerging Industry Development Plan, which has established relevant incentives and support measures for engineering plastics industry. In addition to creating a good external environment for development of engineering plastics industry, government will give priority to domestic innovative enterprises in bidding and procurement, and actively promote development of China's advanced structural materials industry.

Industry life cycle

At present, precision injection molding and mold industry is still in a period of growth. It belongs to emerging advanced structural materials industry. It has a close relationship with aerospace, machinery, automobile manufacturing, electronic equipment and medical equipment. It has function of replacing some metal parts and accessories. Environmental awareness of energy conservation has increased and market demand has increased. Industry cyclical characteristics are not obvious, and industry has relatively strong anti-risk ability relative to traditional mold manufacturing industry.

Second, industry chain situation

Injection molding mold and product industry chain includes upstream raw material supply industry and downstream demand industry.
precision injection molding 
(1) Upstream of injection molding mold and injection moulding products are mainly mold steel, mold base and mold parts, steel and chemical products such as hot runners and plastic particles for injection molding. Quality and cost of raw materials in upstream industry determine quality and price of injection molding mold and injection moulding products. At present, there are more market participants in domestic steel, plastics and other raw materials market, and domestic futures market has a sound futures trading mechanism such as steel, plastics and a variety of standard varieties. Price is open and transparent, which is conducive to company's price forecast of raw materials and procurement cost control.
(2) Downstream of injection molding mold and injection moulding products are widely used in the fields of automobiles, communications, home appliances, consumer electronics, aerospace, energy, building materials, machinery and information. Such industries have characteristics of large-scale quantitative production, large demand and intensive, etc. Degree of prosperity of downstream industry will affect development of injection molding mold and injection moulding products industry.
Downstream customers have strict requirements on precision and quality of injection molded parts. Mainly reflected in product's apparent quality and intrinsic quality. Manufacturers' quality control of injection molded parts must comply with quality control management system certification standards, such as ISO/TS16949 for auto parts companies, to ensure shape and precision of same batch of injection molded parts are highly consistent. In addition, intrinsic quality of product, including fusion seam strength, residual stress, orientation and density, related mechanical properties, thermal properties, electrical and optical properties, is related to stability and durability of end product function.
Downstream customers of injection molded parts are based on custom design and order production. Injection molded parts are often customized non-standardized products, and manufacturers must make order-based production according to their individual needs. Large-scale production of injection molded parts is inseparable from molds. Development and manufacturing capabilities of molds often determine quality and technical level of injection moulding products. For enterprise, design and production of injection molding mold is core. Molds are carrier of custom requirements for customers and are used exclusively for production of specific products. Usual practice in industry is that after production company designs and produces mold according to customer's needs, mold is sold to customer and stored by production enterprise to facilitate timely production. If the two parties cancel cooperation relationship, relevant molds are returned to customer.
Partnerships with downstream customers are interdependent. For example, automotive industry has property of division of labor and cooperation in professional field. In order to ensure stable operation of automobile within life span, no safety accidents will occur, and automobile first-class component suppliers will find suitable secondary component manufacturers through strict qualification examination. Since each type of injection molded parts corresponds to the only set of injection molding mold, mold is unique and special. After selecting injection moulding suppliers, first-level component supplier will generally avoid large economic losses due to frequent supplier changes, and will maintain a relatively stable cooperative relationship with selected injection moulding suppliers. With stable application of product, two sides will gradually form a strong dependence.
Downstream customers have strong bargaining power and long product development cycles. Usually downstream customers are dominant companies in various industries. In order to ensure quality of supply and timely delivery, downstream customers will be qualified for testing of machine tools, product development and design capabilities, supply speed, capacity guarantee, production management, quality control, credit status, environmental protection, and even social responsibility of injection molding mold and injection molded parts suppliers. From certification to product samples, it takes six months to a year or so. Under premise of meeting all aspects, customer will provide bulk orders, and audit period of multinational enterprise supplier qualification is longer. After entering customer's supplier list, downstream customers generally steadily expand their purchases.

Thirty, industry competition

As of end of 2013, there were 13,699 plastic product manufacturers with a business income of more than 20 million yuan, but number of enterprises with high-end precision injection molding and injection molding production capacity was limited, and most of them were mainly foreign-invested enterprises. Among companies with investment background in Singapore, due to their capital, technological advantages and management practices, they are leading majority of domestic injection moulding suppliers in precision engineering materials and production, resulting in most domestic injection moulding suppliers producing only relatively low-end products, which are not competitive and small in scale. Market concentration is not high. With introduction of technology introduction and industrial upgrading in recent years, industrial capital has begun to focus on and strengthen investment of engineering materials enterprises. With rise of domestic automobile market, domestic injection moulding suppliers have begun to gain recognition from well-known domestic and foreign injection moulding suppliers and gradually increase market share through technology introduction and strict standardization of management processes.

Four, industry barriers

Technical barriers

In current market situation, customers have characteristics of non-standardization, small batch, flexible and tight delivery due to needs of market competition. In order to meet needs of market and customers, structural parts manufacturers must have fast responsiveness and a flexible and flexible production system, Established a rapid response mechanism in raw material procurement, mold development, sample, production and processing, quality inspection, product assembly and tracking services to ensure that different specifications and models are produced using same production equipment. Small-scale suppliers that do not have development strength and technical experience are more difficult to participate in product development. Product development capabilities and manufacturing capabilities are one of important barriers.

Management barriers

In general, OEMs or Tier 1 auto parts manufacturers will strictly select and control their suppliers. First, as a supplier of parts companies, it is necessary to establish a customer-designated internationally recognized third-party quality system, such as ISO/TS16949 or ISO: 13485; secondly, due to use characteristics and accuracy requirements of mold, plus characteristics of small-volume production of single-piece molds, many processes, long production cycle, and high pressure on delivery time, requirements for mold production management are very high, requiring moulding company to purchase raw materials and products. Moulding company is required to adopt lean management for raw material procurement, product design, processing and manufacturing, assembly and mold trial, order management and after-sales service. High level of management comes from an efficient and streamlined management team and ongoing management technology updates. It is difficult for a new moulding company entering industry to establish an efficient management team and a stable management mechanism in a short period of time, making it difficult to obtain customer orders.

Customer barriers

Customer barriers are mainly found in downstream customers' high standards for recognition of product quality and capacity of precision injection molding and product manufacturers. For example, due to establishment of international automotive industry international division of labor cooperation system, vehicle manufacturers have widely adopted global division of labor cooperation strategy and global procurement strategy for parts and components. Entire industry has gradually evolved into lean manufacturing, non-core business externalization, globalization of industrial chain allocation, and streamlined management institutions. However, taking into account factors such as product development and product quality, vehicle manufacturers have set strict access requirements for production scale, product quality and safety, and follow-up support services of their supporting suppliers. To occupy market first, it will often gain more market advantages and form a long-term strategic partnership with buyers, which has a high degree of exclusivity. Even if new competitors emerge, in order to avoid product quality risks and continuous supply risks and time spent on product certification, downstream customers generally prefer original mold and structural product suppliers.

Funds barriers

Precision plastics industry is a capital-intensive industry. On one hand, downstream customers are mainly distributed in automotive and consumer electronics industries with high marketization and fierce competition in industry. They have high requirements for timeliness of product supply, scale of production, and stability of product quality. This has led to high capital requirements for precision injection molding products and moulding company in process of purchasing and constructing plants, purchasing production and testing equipment, maintaining necessary stocks of raw materials and finished products. On the other hand, global automotive industry has a high concentration of industries. Domestic and foreign automakers, first-tier component manufacturers often occupy a certain bargaining power, their credit period is relatively long, which causes considerable liquidity pressure for their upstream enterprises.

Five, industry supervision

precision injection molding 

Industry authorities

At present, injection molding mold and precision injection molding products development industry belongs to mold manufacturing industry in special equipment manufacturing industry. It has formed a management mode combining national administrative supervision and industry self-discipline. Administrative department is National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, focusing on macro management of industry. Self-regulatory organization is China Die & Mould Industry Association and China Plastics Processing Industry Association, focusing on self-discipline management within industry.
1 National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology
National Development and Reform Commission is responsible for formulation of industrial policies, proposing industrial development strategies and plans; guiding formulation of industry technical regulations and industry standards; promoting high-tech development, implementing macro-level guidance for technological progress and industrial modernization. Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is responsible for formulating and organizing implementation of industrial industry planning, industrial policies and standards; monitoring daily operation of industrial sector; promoting development of major technical equipment and independent innovation.
2 China Die & Mould Industry Association and China Plastics Processing Industry Association (China Plastics Association)
Main responsibility of China Die & Mould Industry Association is to study current situation and development direction of mold industry, prepare a draft development plan, propose policy recommendations to protect healthy development of industry, and organize exchange of experience in technical economic information and management; training technology and management talents, promote new technologies; carry out foreign economic and technological exchanges and cooperation.
China Plastics Association has more than 2,000 member units covering research, development, processing and application of national plastics industry. Function of association is to reflect wishes of industry, research development direction of industry, assist in preparation of industry development plans, economic and technological policies; coordinate internal and external relations in industry, participate in major project decision-making in industry; organize identification and promotion of scientific and technological achievements; organize technical exchanges and training, conduct technical consulting services; participate in formulation, revision of product quality supervision, management and standards; edit and publish industry publications; provide domestic, foreign technology and market information; undertake various tasks assigned by relevant government departments.

Six, advantages and disadvantages affecting industry

Favorable factors for industry development

1 precision injection molding products are widely used in the market
Precision injection molding products have characteristics of high precision, light weight, miniaturization, meet requirements of industrial equipment parts, and have good mechanical, mechanical and dimensional stability. In fields of logistics, packaging, communications, aerospace, military, machinery, automotive, consumer electronics and medical equipment, it has been widely used to replace some high-precision metal parts. which are basic industries in national economy.
2 Demand for precision injection molding products and molds continues to grow
Although global financial crisis has had a certain adverse impact on China's real economy, under influence of national macro-control and economic stimulus plans, China's national economy quickly recovered from crisis and maintained a good growth momentum. According to national “Twelfth Five-Year Plan”, state will focus on development of high-end equipment manufacturing, robotics, new energy, medical, precision manufacturing, consumer electronics, automobile manufacturing and other industrial fields. These industries are large consumers of plastic injection molding products, and their development will bring a broad market space to industry.
3 To upgrade demand for plastic steel technology
Plasticizing steel is a revolutionary technological advancement in automotive industry. World government has put forward higher requirements for energy conservation, emission reduction and environmental protection. Automotive industry has gradually developed towards lighter weight, and plastic parts will be more widely used in automobile production. At present, consumption of precision injection molded parts will account for nearly 8% to 10% of cost of automobile production. Power system of car, engine's intake and exhaust systems, electrical system, and fuel tank exhausts all began to be replaced with plastic products. it is estimated that every two or three kilograms of metal auto parts can be replaced by one kilogram of plastic auto parts. Replaced motor vehicle can reduce gasoline consumption by 6% to 8%, which is in line with assessment criteria for energy conservation and environmental protection. Due to China's huge population base, it will generate huge consumption volume in automotive, electronic products and medical industries, making precision injection molding and mold industry have a large market space in China.

Unfavorable factors affecting development of industry

1 shortage of professionals
Precision injection molding industry is an industry with equal emphasis on technology and experience. It has a high dependence on technology and experience of professional talents.  Lack of excellent talents in the industry, especially mold developers and commissioning workers, has led many moulding company in the industry to develop design and innovation capabilities, backward technology management and insufficient competitiveness.
2 Overall technical level of industry needs to be improved
With growing market size of domestic automobile industry and consumer electronics products, it provides huge market space and more opportunities for upgrading technology for domestic precision injection molding products and moulding company. Although overall technical level of industry has been greatly improved, level of technology and management is still far behind that of international advanced enterprises. Not only working capital, inventory management and sales forecasting capabilities still need to be strengthened, and a considerable number of high-end molds do not have technology of self-production and sales.

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