Many businesses have discovered that Chinese suppliers are quite competitive when it comes to the provision of plastic parts that have been injection molded. In particular when it comes to the cost of the fabrication of the mold.
When you get new tooling made for a new product, however, there is a possibility that some of the parts that are produced will be flawed. When it comes to manufacturing, anything novel always comes with an increased risk.
What steps can you take to mitigate the effects of this risk?
enhancing your command and oversight of the tooling fabrication project as well as the initial production
If you cannot tolerate any delays or problems with the product's quality, placing your faith in the toolmaker and the molding factory to get everything right is not enough, even if they assure you that they are running short trials and adjusting the tooling as necessary to ensure that production pieces meet your expectations.
You need to understand the processes and quality control measures that are in place in order to have a good level of visibility over the tooling fabrication and production project. You can do this by being present in ipqcco yourself or by sending in an experienced third party to check for you locally.
What are the necessary steps?
1. Construct a tool
In order to lessen the likelihood of quality problems developing in the future, Social Compliance Audit is important to have your tooling designs subjected to a DFM review regarding the geometry of the parts.
For this service, ipqcco charges 45 USD per hour, and we will be able to provide an estimate once we have viewed the drawings.
When the mold is being made, you should have an engineer present at the toolmaker's location. They will be in charge of supervising the work of the toolmaker and will contribute to making sure that the tooling is accurate before it is used in production.
Checking the quality of the steel parts and conducting the first test
Send someone to the location where the first trial will be performed by the toolmaker, and have them inspect the first parts taken off the tooling. If molds are not prohibitively expensive, the FAI could be put to better use.
In the event that significant problems are discovered, it will be necessary to conduct additional tests on the tooling.
In the event that you need to validate that the tooling will allow for production that is both on quality and on time, you can enforce a more in-depth validation process.
This is the superior choice when dealing with molds that are particularly pricey or when dealing with problems during the injection molding process would be very costly.
4. Initial round of manufacturing
Once your supplier has tooling installed, it may make sense to have product inspections carried out at various times during the production process by your supplier. The frequency of these inspections will depend on the risks that you perceive.
Ipqcco could go to their factory and inspect the parts when approximately 10% of the quantity has been completed if the risk is considered to be relatively low. If the risk is greater, we may begin the inspection process even earlier, right at the beginning of production, and look at the first article. A day's worth of labor costs $299 USD.
In the event that there is a possibility that the factory will incorrectly set the parameters, our engineer is able to go there and conduct a process management audit in order to evaluate their product and process control plans while they are working on the shop floor. This will ensure that they are able to set the appropriate parameters and obtain the best results from the tooling, which will ultimately lead to the quality of your injection-molded parts being increased to its maximum potential. You might decide to skip this step if the provider is reputable and has a lot of experience.
The primary dangers involved in the management of molds and tools for plastic injection-molded parts
In case you're curious about what the most significant risks are, we've laid out a comprehensive table in this blog post -- Tooling Management for Plastic Injection Molds in ipqcco -- that details the most significant risks as well as the steps we can take to mitigate those dangers.