Material selection is a key factor for many aspects of your injection molded part or product. It affects some or all of the following, in most cases: the physical properties of the product, its look, its operation, its interaction with other materials and components, and its durability. On top of all that, material selection can play a big role in your material and production costs, and their subsequent effects on your bottom line. Taking all of those factors into consideration, it’s clear that choosing a material for your injection molded product should not be taken lightly.
Failure of your injection molding part can prove to be one of the most costly production issues that you can encounter. Not only must you absorb the cost of rejected pieces, it’s likely that you’ll also need to adjust the design of your product to be more conducive to the plastic injection molding process. Aside from this additional R&D time and expenditure, this means new tooling costs as well. As the direct costs add up, your time to market is also drawn out longer and longer, creating a double-whammy to your bottom line.
Prototyping is one of the most important steps in the product design and development process, and in many ways, it can be the linchpin of your product cycle. Consider that during the prototyping phase, you are actively bringing your product through from concept to reality — the prototype is what bridges these two bookends. Prototyping is likely when you’ll learn the most about your product, because so many questions will be answered — how does it look and feel in a real 3D form? How easy or difficult was it to produce? Is it structurally sound? Is it feasible to move to production?