Eight factors for managing lead time in plastic injection molding

When it comes to injection molded plastic, it’s best to avoid surprises. 

Although the plastic injection molding process is relatively straightforward, the relationship between the various steps and phases is complex. A breakdown or issue in any of these steps can have detrimental effects on your ability to meet your production deadlines. It’s important to choose a plastics manufacturing partner that can accurately predict and manage your lead time along the way, allowing your organization to meet requirements, realize cost savings, and benefit from production efficiencies. This blog explores eight factors that can reduce your lead time.  

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  1. Injection molded plastic part design

DFM: Relying on best practices for Design for Manufacturing (DFM) can improve the quality and durability of your part and reduce the number of design iterations. A partner with proven DFM expertise can optimize this phase of your project.  

Technology: Integrated simulation tools allow earlier design optimization, which means fewer physical prototypes, lower tooling costs, and faster time to market. 

  1. Plastic injection mold machine

Advanced machinery reduces injection time and employs advanced cooling systems to minimize the time it takes for your part to reach ejection temperature. Beware of manufacturers with older machinery that can cause errors in pressure or fill time, leading to more rejected parts and longer overall production time. 

  1. Material or resin

Selecting the right resin is an important factor in your cycle time. Different materials have different melt temperatures, flow viscosity, and heat capacity. A materials with a lower melt temperature will cool faster, and a resin with low flow viscosity or low heat capacity will fill the mold faster. Availability of material can also impact your lead time. The right partner will be able to guide you on various resin properties and which one is the most suitable for your project.

  1. Intelligent manufacturing

Mold machines are often part of automated, smart systems that track all stages of the process. Machine data collection provides numerous time-saving benefits including maximum repeatability, consistent quality, real-time production monitoring, predictive analytics, and preventive machine maintenance which avoids unplanned downtime. 

  1. Experienced operators

Successful plastic injection molding isn’t just about the machinery. Experienced and knowledgeable injection molding operators have the skills to make small adjustments to things like injection speed, cushion, and holding time, which can have a big influence on your part’s quality and lead time. 

  1. Quality control

Highly complex parts could take a longer time for inspections and machinery maintenance. Customer feedback, tweaks to the mold, and follow-up on the mold’s performance are all factors that could impact your production lead time. 

  1. In-house tooling capabilities

Using a one-stop plastic molding company saves time during set-up and enables everything from design to engineering, manufacturing, and repairs to be completed as quickly as possible.  

  1. Manufacturer’s workload

A manufacturer’s workload affects lead time (if they are maxed out, the process will take longer). 

NMG has the necessary plastic injection molding expertise to manage your lead time, giving you the benefit of manufacturing efficiencies and cost savings 

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About NMG 

NMG has more than 85 years of experience partnering with organizations to bring their industrial, IoT, lighting, medical, telecommunications, consumer, and aerospace products to life. We solve your most complex challenges in engineering design, manufacturing, and supply chain management.  

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