Category Archive: Mold Transfers

Mold Tooling Transfer 101: Finding the Right Molder

plastic injection molder

After you’ve identified the problems and risks with your current supplier and decided you want to initiate a mold tooling transfer, it’s time to begin the search for a plastic injection molder that better aligns with your needs. Depending on your goals, some things may hold higher priority for you than others. 

Here are some criteria to use that can help you quickly narrow down your search to find the right molder for your mold tooling transfer:  

Machine Capabilities & Capacity

You’ll need to be sure that your new molder has the machine size and capacity available to handle your molds and the production volumes you’ll need to make each year. Be sure to provide prospective molders with your mold size, part size, and annual production numbers to set clear expectations from the start.

Industry Expertise

Another consideration for potential molders is their previous experience in your industry. This is especially important for industries, such as food/beverage, that require certain food-safe materials, or medical, that require special manufacturing considerations and certifications. 

If the molder has not worked with your industry in the past, are they knowledgeable and capable of producing your parts to the standards you require?

In-House Tool Maintenance

Your new molder should have an in-house machine shop to properly care for and maintain your molds for the life of your project. If you’re transferring in molds with a lot of cycles on them, this will be especially important as they may need some TLC before they’re ready to run smoothly. 

Material Sourcing and Handling

Does your prospective molder have a good relationship with high-quality raw materials suppliers? Are they able to get the exact materials you need in the quantities you need for your project? This is especially important in volatile times when the forces of supply and demand impact material availably and pricing. A good molder has built relationships with these suppliers over many years and may have an advantage in the marketplace. 

Reputation and Experience

Be sure to check out your prospective molder’s reputation before committing to a tooling transfer. Ask them about their experience with mold tooling transfers in the past. Ask them to outline their process for transfers and what they do to mitigate risk and downtime. 

Look for reviews on Google, check out their website, and find out how many years they’ve been in business. 

Certifications

What certifications does the plastic injection molder have? Are they ISO 9001:2015 certified? You should also check to see if they’re members of industry associations, such as MAPP (Manufacturers Association for Plastic Processors).

Level of Support 

Many molders may meet all your criteria for capacity, size, and manufacturing capabilities. However, it is also important to set an expectation for the level of support that will be provided throughout the life of your project. 

Finding an injection molder that can work closely with you through each stage of the transfer process could be invaluable to your project. Having a seasoned consultant to help guide you through the process can save time and money and ensure that your mold transfer process is seamless. 

Competitive Pricing

It’s important to ensure that your new molder has competitive pricing over the long run. However, the obvious prices, such as mold setup fees or part price are not the only way to determine the pricing structure. You should also look for hidden costs and risks that could end up amounting to more money over time. 

For example, materials could be wasted producing low-quality parts, long lead times could interrupt your supply chain, or communication issues could result in parts that aren’t up to your standards. 

Other Considerations

There are other things to take into consideration when choosing a new plastic injection molder for your project. Depending on the level of support you require, someone that is local or easily accessible may be important so you can meet in-person without too much hassle. 

If your project requires after-ops processes such as assembly, sonic welding, or special packaging, these would all be important to discuss with your potential molder to be sure that they offer those services. 

Another consideration is delivery requirements. If you have stringent delivery demands, it will be important to ensure that your chosen molder can meet or exceed your expectations. Make sure they’re well-established with trusted carriers and have the ability and experience to ship internationally, if needed. 

Selmax Capabilities

With over 50 years of experience, Selmax Corporation takes great pride in meeting the most stringent material, color, and delivery requirements. Located in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, Selmax is within 4 hours of NYC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. and serves customers worldwide. 

We offer services from concept to delivery, including design, 3D printing, mold making, production, assembly, packaging, and even short-term warehousing. 

We also offer a high level of support throughout the process to make your mold transfer as seamless as possible. 

Request a Quote to start the process today. 

 

 

More in this series:

Step 1: Defining the Problem

Step 3: Gathering Facts and Data

Step 4: Developing a Schedule

Step 5: Planning Your Inventory

Step 6: Showing Your Tools Some TLC

Step 7: Defining Success for Testing and Sampling

Step 8: Identifying Risks and Opportunities

Step 9: Planning for Production

Step 10: Evaluating Results

Mold Tooling Transfer 101: Defining the Problem

Mold Tooling Transfer 101: Defining the Problem

With the events of 2020 exposing cracks and weaknesses in many supply chains, many companies are conducting mold tooling transfers to mitigate risk. If you have wondered if it’s time to transfer to a new supplier, maybe some of the following statements apply to you:

  • I may need to establish a domestic supplier for my injection molding. 
  • I should probably move my injection mold tooling to a more stable supplier. 
  • My current injection molder may be a weak link in my supply chain. 
  • I feel like I’m just buying parts; not solutions to solve problems or take advantage of new opportunities.
  • It seems like my business is no longer a priority to my injection molding supplier. 

If you answered “Yes” to any of these, it may be time to look for a new injection molding supplier. 

Transferring your injection mold tooling to a new supplier can seem like a daunting task. We will be breaking it down step-by-step over the next few weeks to help simplify the process. 

Check Your Pulse

When considering a mold tooling transfer, it’s important to get a good understanding of your current situation. The following are some questions to consider:

→ What is the overall “health” of your current molder?

→ When was the last time you had a good status meeting with your molder?

→ Where are your tools?

→ Do you actually own the tools?

→ What condition are your tools in?

These are all important things to consider as you evaluate your current part production situation. 

The location of your molder may be a risk in itself. In 2020, global supply chains felt the pain of the worldwide pandemic. Many businesses chose to bring their molds and production closer to home in order to keep their supply chains moving as smoothly as possible. 

Assess Risks

If you are considering transferring your molds —especially from a molder in another country — there are some important things to keep in mind in the earliest stages of the process. 

  1. Wait to tell your current molder of your plans to move the mold. Some molders may lose the incentive to act in your best interest after learning that they will be losing your business. It is better to have everything in place at the new supplier before notifying your current molder.
  2. Build inventory with your current molder. This will ensure you have enough inventory to keep up with sales throughout the transfer process. 
  3. Gather information about the mold, such as the 3D files for the mold’s design, injection parameters, type of plastic used, and any other information that will be helpful for your new supplier to get your project set up and running smoothly. 

Mold Tooling Transfers with Selmax

As a full-service plastic injection molder, Selmax stands ready to assist you in the process of  sourcing your plastic injection molding in the United States.

We have manufactured millions of American-made products since 1971 and are proud to provide our customers with the high-level attention of a small operation and the quality and capability of a large-scale operation. Our turnkey manufacturing solutions include part design, mold design, mold making, high and low volume parts manufacturing, assembly, and delivery.

To learn more about transferring your mold tooling to Selmax, contact us today! 

Mold Tooling Transfer

More in this series:

Step 2: Finding the Right Molder

Step 3: Gathering Facts and Data

Step 4: Developing a Schedule

Step 5: Planning Your Inventory

Step 6: Showing Your Tools Some TLC

Step 7: Defining Success for Testing and Sampling

Step 8: Identifying Risks and Opportunities

Step 9: Planning for Production

Step 10: Evaluating Results

4 Steps for a Smooth Mold Transfer

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