In-depth analysis of every step of injection mold from design to production of finished products.

Time:2022-06-27 08:38:55 / Popularity: / Source:

Mold design is an important link in development process of large-scale products. Because product and mold design are interdependent, understanding role of plastic part development process, mold design process, mold manufacturing process is very useful for product design engineers and mold design engineers.
injection mold 
Different stages of a typical product development process include: product definition, product design, experience and product development, ramp-up, and launch.
Despite complex product development process, most have following key attributes:
Establish a systematic development plan to ensure design and manufacturing integrity.
Establish gate processes to mitigate risk by allocating budgets through effective assessments at key points in project.
Product development process is divided into stages through approval fee gates. Next stage evaluates previous stage.

1. Definition of product

Product development process begins with an analysis of market, an understanding of competitor product standards, definition of product specifications, and an assessment of potential profitability. If management agrees to develop a new product, a suitable team will be formed for early concept design and business development. In the first stage, approximate dimensions, properties, and cost of product need to be estimated. At the same time, concept sketches, physical prototypes and prototypes may be discussed and evaluated for feasibility.
In terms of profitability, market research will try to predict potential sales at various price points in the early stages of product launch. At the same time, a budget will be established for labor and project costs required to develop product, bring it to market.
Obtain management's evaluation of conceptual design, anchor sales expectations and budget by continuously evaluating likelihood of commercial success of product development. Proposed product development projects may be rejected, put on hold or modified accordingly.

2. Product design

If project is approved and a budget allocated, product development process will continue at this point, usually with additional funding followed by further analysis and design. In second stage, each component in product gets a detailed design.
Design of plastic parts includes considerations of aesthetics, structure, heat, and manufacturing. Design of manufacturing method will be used to confirm issue of efficient manufacture of part. Assembly methods are designed to reduce parts, define tolerances on critical dimensions, and ensure assembly economics for finished product.
Design result of initial product design phase (through a second management recommendation) is a detailed and validated product design.
"Detailed design" means that each part is assigned material, geometry, surface finish, tolerances, suppliers and cost. If custom plastic parts are required, a quotation for these parts is required at this stage. For approval, manufacturing cost and detailed design are submitted to management.
If product design and cost are acceptable, required budget is allocated and product development is focused on manufacturing.

3. Development of business and production

Although mold design and mold making are focus of plastics industry, they are all covered by activity "Mold Making". At the same time, important business development and production plans will be established.
Specifically, business development entails fully defining supply chain and establishing initial orders to support launch of product. In order to lay out the assembly line, determine human resource requirements, and establish manufacturing technology facility plan, these all require establishment of production plan.
When mold is complete, "alpha" (initial) product production, testing and assembly will take place. After that, initial product goes through a series of tests to verify its performance level, performance standards and user satisfaction. If initial product is not satisfactory, manufacturing process, associated tooling and detailed component design should be adjusted appropriately. At the same time, operator will plan in detail for quality control and personnel training.
injection mold 

4. Scale up and put into production

High use of management review methods to verify clarity of design and production plan of developed product. If so, a mid-weight product can be manufactured during sample production according to standard manufacturing requirements.
"Beta" product produced is provided to marketing department, sales force and key customers to determine product acceptability. As before, products designed and manufactured may be modified to address important issues.
When all stakeholders (marketing, sales, manufacturing, key suppliers, important customers) are ready, product is produced based on sample production process and initial inventory of product is established, after which product is put on market.

5. Role of mold design

Mould quotation, mould design and mould making underpin vast product development process. When a quote for tooling and/or parts costs is required, it usually means start of conceptual design phase or start of detailed design phase.
At this time, if mold engineer or mold maker gives a sufficiently detailed design, it is somewhat unreasonable. Reasons are:
A lot of work in the early mold design is carried out at the same time as imperfect product design;
Due to manufacturing process or product performance considerations, mold design may require major modifications.
Mold development process, which often begins with an initial design that lacks detail, can lead to an unsatisfactory product if used directly. Key pieces of design information needed to begin mold design include part size, wall thickness, and expected throughput.
From this information, mold designers can develop initial mold layouts, give cost estimates, and suggest product design improvements. To expedite product development process, mold design can be performed concurrently with procurement and customization of mold parts.
When product development phase comes to an end, mold making and commissioning phase begins. For this reason, moldmakers and suppliers are under a lot of pressure to deliver high-quality molds as quickly as possible. This task is very challenging because of potential errors in design process of product.
Therefore, mold designers may be required to redesign and modify parts of mold and work with mold manufacturers to determine whether mold meets production requirements.

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