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Author Archives: Alicia Shaffer

  1. How Reshoring Can Mitigate Risk

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    reshoring initiatives

    Learn How Reshoring Can Reduce Supply Chain Risks

    COVID-19 has taken a toll on global supply chains, forcing many businesses to begin considering reshoring their operations. Manufacturers are especially affected, although the industrial sector as a whole has seen an increase in reshoring efforts. 

    According to Thomas Insights, “64% of manufacturers report they are likely to bring manufacturing production and sourcing back to North America — a 10% increase from the same sentiment reported in the March 2020 survey.” 

    So, what’s driving this trend?

    Increasing Costs & Supply Chain Disruptions

    Historically, utilizing manufacturing facilities offshore was a cost-reduction strategy. Over the past few years, however, shipping costs have risen and tariffs have been imposed on those importing from China. COVID-19 has only further complicated things by impacting the global supply chain with some borders completely closed off to non-essential trade.

    Long Lead Times

    Customers are demanding products faster than ever thanks to advancing technologies. One way to deliver products to the end customer faster is to bring operations closer to home and the customer. Reshoring means goods have to travel shorter distances to get into the hands of their distributors. This means a faster sales process, which can assist with predictability and forecasting. 

    Uncertainty

    During these turbulent times, the global supply chain has reduced reliability. Companies are scrambling to reduce risks and protect their business. Reshoring operations is the preferred choice to increase stability and predictability and ensure that the supply chain remains strong.

    Risks of International Outsourcing

    Risk is part of being in business, but the goal of every business owner is to assess and minimize risks as much as possible. While many manufacturers choose to offshore for financial reasons, the risks involved with offshoring should be considered in that decision

    According to Quality Magazine, data security is a large risk involved with offshoring. Proprietary designs could be leaked to competitors and other sensitive company information may also be at risk since standards of data security vary from country to country.

    Where offshoring is concerned, countries such as China and India have been popular in the past due to their low hourly rates. However, with the recent increases in wages as well as increasing costs of transportation, offshoring is becoming less desirable from a cost-saving standpoint.

    Companies often report that their supply chain is often slowed considerably with the implementation of offshore manufacturing. Increased shipping costs result in slower deliveries. Global events, such as the current pandemic, can cause further delays. 

    Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, imposing tariffs have made some offshore operations even more expensive than simply producing them “at home.”

    The Future Is Bright

    While it may be an uncertain time right now, the future is bright for U.S. manufacturers. During this pandemic, the world has seen the importance of manufacturers with many displaying their versatility by converting operations to produce supplies and PPE in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

    The pandemic has also shifted most companies’ risk management plans. While offshoring may return to normal within the next year, it may be deemed wiser to reshore as many operations as possible to prevent further disruption in the future.

    The pandemic has highlighted the need for flexibility within the supply chain. Manufacturers will do well to reestablish their operations as locally as possible. 

    According to the Reshoring Initiative, reshoring“benefits manufacturing companies by reducing the total cost of their products, improving balance sheets, and making product innovations more effective.”

    Reshoring With Selmax

    Selmax Corporation has a long and successful history of helping U.S. companies effectively reshore their plastic injection molding operations. We can help with both tooling transfers and designing and manufacturing new molds

    We are ISO:9001 certified and take pride in our stringent quality standards that ensure our customers are getting exactly what they order, every time. 

    Are you ready to reshore your plastic injection molding projects? Contact us or request a quote. 

     

  2. Coloring Plastics

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    Plastic Color Chips

    Did you ever wonder how plastic parts get their color? At Selmax Corporation, we specialize in precise color matches to ensure that all parts produced are the right color. We work with some of the most experienced colorant suppliers in the country to achieve the best results every time.

    The Color Matching Process

    To pinpoint the desired color for each plastic product or part, a color matching process must be completed which allows engineers to develop a specific color concentrate for a particular material and application. We can typically match a color from a chip, plaque, or Pantone color number.

    There are a variety of things that must be considered for each polymer being colored, including viscosity and melt temperatures. Our color houses can match colors in any polymer system, including ABS, nylon, polypropylene, polyethylene, PVC, and acrylics, just to name a few. 

    We use advanced spectrophotometer technology to measure and formulate colors. These formulations are stored electronically in our color matching system. We also store the physical chips produced during the color matching process.

    The Production Process

    Successful plastic coloring depends upon close attention to the smallest details and adherence to unique requirements. A knowledge of end-use application and the material of the end product are a good starting point for formulating the perfect part with long-lasting color. However, there are many variables that must be considered with each project. 

    Plastics are colored using various coloring systems and each one offers its own unique properties, benefits, and drawbacks. Masterbatches, “salt and pepper” blending, liquid color, and pre-colored resins are four of the most common coloring techniques. 

    To color the injection-molded products we make at Selmax Corporation, we purchase “natural” polymers, such as ABS, Nylon, or Polypropylene in pellet form. We then mix color concentrates using a precision gravimetric blending unit to dispense the precise amount of colorant needed immediately before the part is molded. During production we use advanced spectrophotometer technology to ensure the final plastic product is the exact right color.

     Learn More

    Selmax Corporation is a full-service plastic injection molder. We pride ourselves on providing injection molding solutions, not just parts. We’ve been successfully helping our clients manufacture the perfect plastic part since 1971. If you have a project that has meticulous color requirements, we’d love to talk to you. Send us an RFQ, call (570.374.2833), or reach out via email at info@selmax.com.

  3. What Does a Plastic Injection Mold Cost?

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    plastic injection mold cost

    How much does a plastic injection mold cost? This is one of the most common questions we get, but the answer can be complicated.

    It’s like asking how much a cell phone costs. Do you want a simple flip phone that only makes and receives calls? Or do you want the latest smartphone that allows you to call, text, video chat, download apps, watch TV, and so much more? Both are considered cell phones, but their functionality varies as much as their cost.

    Determining Your Ideal Mold Specs

    With a plastic injection mold, the cost will be determined by mold material, number of cavities, part size, complexity, and how many parts you plan to produce over the life of the mold. If you anticipate low volumes, you can probably afford to be more lenient with the quality of the mold material. You’ll also only need a few cavities (maybe even just one), which will lower the cost of creating the mold.

    If you’re planning to produce millions of parts and want the cheapest price-per-part over the long run, you’ll likely want to build the tool with a larger number of cavities and from a high quality material that will run smoothly over years of production and is easy to maintain.

    The number of mold cavities will have the greatest effect on price-per-part. A one-cavity mold will cost the least but have the highest part price-per-part. As the number of mold cavities increases, so does the mold cost but  the price-per-piece decrease.

    Getting the Lowest Prices

    If you’re looking to build a mold with the lowest up-front cost, you may be quick to choose the cheapest available option.

    However, these are some things to keep in mind when considering this:

    1. Building a mold from lower quality material typically means a shorter lifespan. This is great if you only need a short production run or plan to produce low volumes. However, if demand increases and you end up needing more parts, you’ll likely need to start from scratch and build a new mold to maintain higher volumes.
    2. The upfront cost of the mold may be lower, but your part prices will be higher. If you have a long-term project, this could mean more money out-of-pocket over the life of the mold.
    3. Choosing a mold made from cheaper material will likely result in more mold maintenance and repair expenses over the life of the project… especially if the project runs longer than you originally planned.

    Finding the Best Long-Term Option

    When you need high volumes over many years, your best option will probably be a more costly tool. The initial investment may be higher, but the savings will show up over time as the mold continues producing consistent products for years to come.

    Additionally, molds made from higher quality materials typically require less maintenance and repairs… another cost savings.

    For a low volume, short-term project:

    • Construct mold from aluminum material
    • Design mold with fewer cavities
    • Choose the least expensive mold maker

    For a high-volume, long-term projects:

    • Construct mold from steel material
    • Design mold with more cavities to reduce price-per-part
    • Choose a high quality, U.S. mold maker

    Working with a Full-Service Injection Molder

    We recommend that you work with a turnkey plastic injection molder to keep your plastic injection mold cost in check. A full-service manufacturer can help you with your project from part design, through production, delivery and ongoing maintenance.

    Selmax has been successfully helping clients build molds and run production for over 45 years. We have trusted mold maker partners that we work with to construct a mold that best suits your needs and budget.

    You can rest assured that your project is in good hands with Selmax’s in-house dedicated machine shop, expert machinists, and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining tools. We produce, maintain and repair injection molds to the highest standards in the industry. Well-maintained tooling is critical for manufacturing efficiency and final product quality.

    Already have a mold? Selmax accepts, repairs, and maintains molds transferred from other mold makers or injection molders, both domestic and international, to be used for production.

    Ready to start the quoting process? Get started.

  4. Why is ISO Certification Important?

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    ISO Certification

    ISO standards promote a commitment to quality, improved processes, safety, and reduced waste.

    There’s no denying that quality, efficiency, and consistency are vital in a plastic injection molding project. When quality standards or processes are lacking, material is wasted, product quality diminishes, and costs rise.

    Because quality control standards and processes are important for each project, it’s smart to work with a plastic injection molder that is ISO certified. This ensures that the manufacturer has an active quality management system and is striving to continually improve processes.

    What is ISO?

    ISO is the International Organization for Standardization. It’s currently recognized in 163 countries and has published 22,482 International Standards and related documents for nearly every industry.

    ISO standards promote consistency across the board for products, services and systems along with assurance of quality, safety and efficiency.

    Companies are not required by law to adhere to ISO standards or to get certified, but  those that do are typically committed to continuous improvement in their businesses.

    “ISO International Standards ensure that products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality,” (www.iso.org).

    There are several different standards in ISO certification, with ISO 9001:2015 being the current most common for any business type. There are additional standards specifically designed for environmental management, medical devices and equipment, gas and oil industry, and others.

    How ISO Impacts Manufacturing

    ISO certified manufacturers must identify, document, and continually update their processes to ensure quality controls are in place and are being followed consistently. Implementing the ISO standard helps manufacturers consistently cut costs, reduce waste, and improve customer satisfaction with quality products.

    The ISO standard is built on the principle of continuous improvement; employees at every level are encouraged to always look for ways to improve. It’s important to get feedback from every stage of the process in order to continue improving.

    Adopting ISO standards results in increased customer satisfaction, efficient processes, fewer errors, and reduced overall costs.

    The Certification Process

    One of the reasons some companies decide not to pursue ISO certification is that it can be a daunting task. Certification requires a rigorous evaluation of the company’s processes. A quality management system is implemented to outline the company’s best practices followed by strenuous internal and external audits of the newly-implemented processes and standards. The certification process – from start to finish – can easily take over a year.

    After certification is achieved, there’s still work to do. Internal audits are continually conducted throughout the year and one external audit is conducted per year to ensure the company is staying on track and still effectively implementing the ISO standard.

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    Selmax Corporation takes pride in meeting ISO 9001:2015 standards and maintaining our certification. We believe in “People – Process – Product”. Every day, the Selmax team is committed to delivering the highest quality products to our customers. We have refined our processes over the past 47+ years to ensure we’re doing all the right things to get the best results.

     

  5. 4 Steps for a Smooth Mold Transfer

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    4 Steps for a Smooth Mold Transfer

    A guide to a seamless plastic injection mold transfer.

    Plastic Injection Mold Transfer

    Many factors drive the decision to move forward with a mold transfer from one injection molder to another. It might be increasing costs, inconsistent quality, missed deadlines, or even a re-shoring effort for molds being run internationally. Perhaps there’s concern about the financial stability of the current molder and the necessity to avoid production interruptions.

    “Mold transfers — particularly large ones — require upfront planning, communications, and investments to achieve the goals and expectations of the project,” (Berg, 2011). Regardless of the reason for transferring, here are four steps to be sure the process goes as smoothly as possible.

    1. Gather information.

    Once you’ve decided to transfer your mold(s), you should first find and review your contract with your current molder and have it ready to reference.

    Ideally, you’ll have the 3D CAD files and 2D prints for the part design and mold design along with material specifications, injection molding processing parameters, and applicable quality control requirements.

    This is a good time to visit the current molder to observe your mold running. Often, experienced operators will have specific shortcuts, tips, or tweaks to make the mold run efficiently. This information is invaluable in the transfer process because it can help the new molder get up and running faster.

    2. Evaluate the new molder.

    Investing time in due diligence is important because you’ll need to ensure the new molder has the capabilities and machine time to run your mold as often as needed. You should also look for molders that have plenty of experience dealing with mold transfers.

    When meeting with the new molder, be prepared to provide the information collected during the “gather information” phase. In addition, let them know if you have any specific processing requirements, shipping or packaging requests, projected production volumes, post-production assembly needs or any other keys to success that are important to you, as the customer.

    3. Build inventory.

    After you’ve selected the new molder you’ll want to develop a transfer timeline. Based on this schedule you can determine how much inventory you will need to get you through the transfer, mold setup, and mold qualification at the new molder until normal production resumes. Many factors influence this timeline and you’ll want to have some reserve for any potential unexpected obstacles.

    At this time, you should also collect a few parts to be used as “golden samples” for the new molder to reference when qualifying the molds at the new location.

    4. Execute the Transfer.

    After everything has been settled with the current molder and selection of the new molder is complete, it’s time to make the transfer.

    Open communication with all parties involved will ensure the process moves along quickly. Make certain that both molders know the timeline, deadlines, and the roles they need to carry out to complete the milestones as needed.

    The basic mold qualification process at the new molder includes:

    • Tooling receipt, inspection and assessment to evaluate any maintenance or repairs needed on molds and associated gauges, fixtures, or post-processing equipment.
    • Part Qualification to produce sample parts for comparison with provided “golden samples.”
    • Production upon customer approval of the sample parts. At this point, production should be back to normal.

    Selmax Mold Transfer Capabilities

    Selmax has years of experience helping customers transfer their production molds from other molders (or in-house operations). We have experience with both domestic relocation and international “re-shoring” transfers. Production molds and tooling are often the single largest investment in a plastic injection molding project. Selmax can help you maximize your return on that investment.

    Each tooling transfer project is assigned a Selmax Project Manager (PM) as the customer’s primary point of contact. The PM works with the customer through each phase of the mold transfer process. The PM also coordinates all the necessary activities with Selmax Logistics, Tooling Technicians/Machinist, Process Technicians, and Quality Assurance to ensure a smooth tooling transfer and an uninterrupted supply chain.

     

     

    References:

    Berg, John (2011). Eights Steps Toward a Seamless Mold Transfer. Plastics Technology. www.ptonline.com/articles/eight-steps-toward-a-seamless-mold-transfer

     

  6. Things to Consider Before Injection Molding

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    Injection molding is a great option for manufacturing high-quality plastic parts of different shapes, sizes, and colors. It is efficient and cost-effective, making it the most popular option in most cases. This is especially true when there are high volumes of parts to produce.

    Being prepared before you reach out to an injection molder will help to expedite your project timeline. It will also prepare you for cost, time to production, and other components of the project that you may not have considered.

    Do you have CAD drawings of the part you’d like to produce?

    Plastic injection molders need detailed dimensional drawings that provide information about the size and complexity of the part. 3D CAD model files are the best. The injection molder will evaluate the CAD drawings and advise on the best design for manufacturability.

    If you don’t have a CAD model, that’s ok. Typically, injection molders can work with you to develop it. Just plan to spend some time and project budget on developing a good manufacturable design…it will pay off in the long run.

    What material is the part to be made from?

    In many cases the plastic material is known. In others, it needs to be determined. An injection molder will need to know how the part is going to be used, the type of environment it will be used in, and what wear and tear it will experience over time. When they have these answers, they will be able to recommend options for resins and additives that will give you the best performance and durability for your part within the project budget.

    How many parts do you plan to produce?

    The injection molder will need to know how many parts you need produced and on what frequency over the life of the project. This will determine the material the injection mold should be constructed from and the number of mold cavities it must have to achieve your required production levels.

    Do you need prototype parts to work out potential design issues?

    Some parts are simple and straightforward. Others are more complex. Prototyping using 3D printing, for example, is an excellent way to reduce the technical risk for a new injection molding project. It is much easier, and less costly, to discover a design issue and fix it before you’ve made the sizable investment in an injection mold.

    What is your budget for the project?

    Plan to spend the largest portion of your budget on the injection molds. A large up-front investment is to be expected. It is designed to be recovered over the long-term manufacturing of thousands or millions of parts.

    Mold costs will vary from one project to another depending on tolerances, number of cavities, and estimated production life. If you’re projecting to run millions of parts over several years, you will likely opt to spend more on a high quality mold with a high number of cavities. This will translate into lower maintenance costs and lower price-per-part over time.

    On the other hand, if you have thousands of parts to run in a relatively short amount of time, you may opt for a lower quality tool with less cavities. The mold costs will be lower, but the part price will be higher. Additionally, if you extend the production life beyond what you originally planned, you can expect high maintenance and repair costs over time.

    Next Steps.

    If you’re ready to get started, consider working with a turn-key manufacturer. They will be able to handle every step of the process from design to distribution. This allows for better communication, shorter lead times, and a smooth process from start to finish.

    For over 45 years, Selmax Corporation has been implementing our unique manufacturing model to create high quality parts for a variety of applications. We work closely with our clients to produce top-of-the-line products for their respective industries.

    We pride ourselves in taking on an assortment of projects, from product design and prototyping to distribution. From small production runs to projects with annual volumes of over one million parts, we can assist nearly anyone looking for a quality injection molder.

    To learn more about our services, feel free to contact us here!

    If you already have everything ready to go, send us an RFQ!