How to Design a Successful Blow Molded Product

To realize your product idea, you need to perfect your concept, work with a strong team, and know your product inside and out. Here’s how to design a successful blow molded product.

Start with a strong concept

You can start the blow molding design process with just an idea in your head. Or you can come to it with a fleshed out 3-D CAD model. Either way, your starting concept will be the foundation of your success. If you are still figuring out certain aspects of your product idea, you can:

  • Study award-winning product designs for inspiration.
  • Research the design of similar products and improve on them.
  • Talk out your concept with your blow molding design team.

Collaborate with a blow molding team

You may have a team of engineers ready to help you bring your idea into life. Or, you may be flying solo and looking for someone to help you out. Either way, your blow molding designer will work with you to make sure your product is just as you envision it.

A blow molding designer:

  • Pushes innovation and provides you with a variety of design options.
  • Ensures the product is highly functional.
  • Provides guidance to make the part structurally sound.
  • Works to optimize the product for the blow molding production process.

Estimate product quantity

The amount of product you want affects the mold tooling design and the production process cost. Because there are economies of scale in the mold and startup costs for each manufacturing run, you’ll want to have a good idea of what you’ll need from the outset.

  • Do market research to discover optimal quantity.
  • Consider an initial run of at least 1,000, which is often the optical (minimum) quantity to absorb set-up expenses for trial runs.
  • Produce more product per production run, as this often saves you money in the long run.

Choose the right materials

Not every material is suited for every part. Your blow molding design team will advise you on what type of plastic resin works best for the product you’d like to design. Keep in mind these material factors:

  • Cost. The cost of plastic resins fluctuates with the cost of oil and natural gas. Recycled resin prices also vary based on availability and demand.
  • Flexibility. A material’s flexibility influences its functionality. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), for example, is rigid and great for inflexible, durable products, such as industrial-grade containers. Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) is more flexible and appropriate for products that need to have a little give, such as squeezable bottles.
  • Strength. You’ll also want to balance the strength of the material with its flexibility. For example, ABS is much stronger than PE. Your need for strength will be determined by functional considerations, such as how weight-bearing your product is, how much it needs to contain, or what conditions it must withstand.
  • Sustainability. Sustainability is increasingly important for consumers. Many materials are recyclable or biodegradable, but not all. Choosing recycled resins is often a cost-effective and profitable way to create sustainable products.

Oversee the production process

Your product is your creation. Be hands-on with each step of the blow molding process so you can anticipate challenges and ensure your product is on point.

  • Ask to see a prototype before building a production mold or launching an initial run.
  • Ensure initial samples from your production mold meet your vision for your part.
  • Use the first samples of your product in real-life scenarios before committing to production.
  • Make sure your molder has a registered quality system and the inspection tools needed to provide top quality production.

Looking for info on the nitty-gritty of product creation? Check out our beginner’s guide to the blow molding design process.