Blow molding is an economical way to build versatile and unique parts. In today’s world, blow molded parts are everywhere, from the cars we drive to the office chairs we sit in. Before you plan your next blow molded product, there are some things you should know about blow molding process and costs. This guide explains the five key things you should understand about the blow mold planning process:
- Project Concept & Part Design
To get an accurate price quote for a project, you will need to develop specifications and create a 3D model that the blow molding supplier can use to create an estimate. Choose a manufacturer that offers design assistance. This will help streamline the design process and make sure that your estimates are accurate. A supplier will help you understand if secondary operations like drilling, die cutting, or surface treating are required. A lot of processes can be done in-mold, as long as you take that into account at the design stage.
Material selection is critical. There are thousands of different resins, and each project will need specific resins to meet your requirements. Resin prices, like any commodity, fluctuate in price. When developing a project estimate, work with your bold blow molding manufacturer to understand resin pricing, performance specifications, and color options.
- Production volume
Like any manufacturing process, there are costs associated with setting up a batch and then costs that change based on batch size. A blow molding supplier will need estimates of production volume and help you determine the best mold size, number of cavities, and batch size to make the most economical decision for your product. Custom-Pak recommends that your run should be at least 1,000 units to get the most out of your investment. Of course, the more parts you produce, the lower the per-part cost but just-in-time production sometimes yields a lower total cost.
- Mold Design & Building
A typical mold takes 8-10 weeks to build, which includes testing, sampling, and debugging. Blow molds are primarily made from high-grade aluminum alloy and require very specific details like blow ratios, parting line locations, cooling patterns, and in-mold systems. While you can source your mold from a shop other than your manufacturer, using one team for the whole process ensures that the mold development process is completed efficiently. You will need to store your mold in a safe place following creation and after any production runs are completed. Custom-Pak not only offers mold building & storage but also will maintain your mold for the life of the product as long as it’s in their possession.
- Quality Assurance
Developing a quality mold for your product is essential, but quality assurance doesn’t stop there. Several imperfections or errors can occur even with a perfect mold. You should look for blow molding suppliers who have quality assurance programs in place that identify and mitigate imperfections. Sometimes these imperfections can be clearly identified, but others can remain invisible without testing for durability. It takes an experienced production team with sophisticated tools and processes to make sure that each and every part is manufactured to spec. Your manufacturer will need to measure wall thickness & weight, monitor material properties & color and verify dimensions, among other things.
As you can see, planning a blow molded product requires specialized training and attention to detail. If you are considering a blow molded product for your business, contact us. We can help you bring your next blow molded product to life.