The appeal of injection molding lies, in large part, because of its versatility and relative accessibility when compared with other manufacturing processes. This accessibility — which can sometimes be mistaken for ease of production — can serve to make in-house injection molding seem overly appealing — perhaps more than it should. In reality, in-house production is, above all, costly, and can create other unforeseen issues.
One answer — which countless entrepreneurs and engineers draw upon — to counteracting these drawbacks is outsourcing your injection molding. Working with an external provider to produce your plastic injection molded parts offers several key benefits. At a high level, these can be summarized as lower costs, improved part quality and premium-level production support — but let’s dig deeper to understand the “whys” and “hows” of these benefits.
Overall Cost Savings
When you outsource your plastic injection molding, you gain access to cost savings in several areas, for several reasons. Outsourcing plastic injection molding is one of the easiest ways to cut costs without sacrificing quality, speed or other factors that are critical to your product (and your customers). This reason alone is often what gets someone interested in the advantages of outsourcing plastic injection molding — but it’s important to understand where and why you’re saving costs.
- Lower/no equipment costs: This one seems obvious — to carry out injection molding in-house, you’ll need the equipment to do so. It’s worth pointing out here simply on account of the size of the investment that represents. In addition to the significant cost of a new, state-of-the-art injection molding machine (the kind that can produce the work your customers are expecting), you’ll likely want or need automation equipment (beyond that built into the injection molding machine), QA tools and equipment, packaging equipment, and more. Yet even if you do the math and determine that, over time, your equipment investment can pay itself back (which is never a sure thing), there are a number of other costs associated with the owning and operation of molding machinery — more on those below:
- No maintenance costs: The intricacy of injection molding machinery means that proper maintenance is just as complex, and thus extensive. That all adds up to additional time and money spent on upkeep and scheduled maintenance — to say nothing of repairs and downtime. If you’ve outsourced your injection molding, those costs are carried by your service provider.
- Optimized personnel expenditure: Perhaps less than a cost “saving” than a “redirection” — injection molding machinery also requires the experienced, knowledgeable personnel to operate it. Since you likely want to maximize your investment and return, you also don’t want your machinery sitting idle — meaning two or three shifts worth of personnel. By outsourcing and leaving these issues to your provider, you’re better able to focus on personnel for design, engineering and other areas of your business.
- Economies of scale: In a direct sense, working with an injection molding provider gives you access to, for instance, lower material costs (since your provider would likely be purchasing in higher volumes) and favorable fulfillment or shipping rates. Economies of scale also apply, however, to the points mentioned above. If you’re wondering whether, for instance, equipment and maintenance costs are passed on to you as a customer, this is where economies of scale also come into account. These costs are spread out over enough time and enough customers that the impact on you is minimal, and in fact is nonmaterial.
Working with the right outsourcing provider for injection molding means that you gain access to extensive expertise and experience in the process — often, cumulatively, centuries (at least) of experience across all personnel. All of this expertise translates, naturally, to an extremely high level of quality in the finished product, as well as the process and all its steps.
Injection molding is often called both an art and a science, and even researching processes, best practices, tips, hints and more, can’t replace an engineer with 30 years of experience, or someone who’s been working with a particular machine for years. The ability to intuitively fine-tune and adjust aspects of the (again, complex) injection molding process has an impact everywhere — from the overall quality of the product to troubleshooting, turnaround time and more.
An outsourced injection molding provider is also more likely to have the resources to invest in quality certifications, training, quality assurance tools and practices, and more. One of the biggest advantages of outsourcing plastic injection molding is immediate access to these resources, experience and high quality.
Strong Production Support
When you outsource your plastic injection molding, you gain access to the provider’s equipment and resources, as well as its people and service. This last part can make all the difference between a cost-effective, efficient, streamlined process that comes in on time and on budget (or better); or a quagmire of overruns, difficulties and troubleshooting (which may, in the end, require outside personnel anyway if done in-house).
The strong production support that comes when you’ve chosen the right injection molding provider can be one of the biggest bridges from in-house production (or the idea that in-house is the method you have to choose), to the full benefits of outsourcing. Production support can assist with questions in every area of your process, if needed — concepting, design, engineering, prototyping, production, QA, fulfillment and more. The right production support team can step in or out at any time, meeting your specific needs.
Lower costs are just the beginning — these benefits are all presented alongside one another to illustrate the full breadth of the advantages and improvements that outsourcing your plastic injection molding project can offer. Issues such as quality and service aren’t apart from the bottom line — they’re an important component of calculating overall costs for factors such as part defects, production time, troubleshooting, production assistance and more.
To discuss your project, or to learn more about how RevPart can deliver each of these benefits to you, contact us today.