How Much Do Injection Molding Costs and How to Estimate It?

How Much Do Injection Molding Costs and How to Estimate It?

‘What is the cost of injection molding?’ is a commonly asked question by people who are wondering about adopting this technology.

Injection molding is a very popular manufacturing process nowadays, used for the creation of several parts and components. As such, learning about injection molding costs is vital before considering this process for your manufacturing industry.

In this article, we will have a detailed study about injection molding costs. With the information we provide, you will learn about the factors that influence these costs.

After reading this guide, you can evaluate the exact manufacturing costs that injection molding will take for your particular requirements.

Let us get into the heart of the matter right away to know how much does injection molding cost:

What are the Different Factors that Influence the Cost of Injection Molding?

What are the Different Factors that Influence the Cost of Injection Molding

Injection mold base cost is not a fixed number that will be true for every application. It is a varying value that can fall between a couple of hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

As you can notice, this is a very wide price bracket. The exact value fluctuates based on several components involved in the injection molding process. These factors that influence the cost are:

Equipment

The cost of equipment for injection molding can vary greatly on the type and application of the equipment. There are small-scale injection molding equipment that businesses keep in-house.

Then there are large injection molding machines that are typically kept by service providers and industries manufacturing large production volumes.

Professional industrial injection molding equipment costs between $50,000 and $200,000. These machines are not for hobbyists and amateurs as they require skilled operators.

This is, no doubt, a big expense for any industry. Therefore, most manufacturers choose to outsource the injection molding process to experts like 3ERP who house the most high-end injection molding machinery.

Mold (Tooling) Costs

While the molding equipment is a one-time investment, creating the mold itself is an ongoing expense that is required for every part. Therefore, tooling costs are one of the most important driving factors for injection molding.

This cost can vary based on the process you use to create the molds. Usually, three processes are commonly employed for this purpose:

CNC Machining:

CNC machining is usually employed for molds made of metal like stainless steel or aluminum mold. CNC machining works by using cutting tools to remove the material from a metal block. The benefit of CNC machining to create molds is the unmatchable preciseness this method offers.

CNC machining has a little drawback in terms of the time taken to finish the molds. These machines require consideration in terms of the setup time of the tooling and changing the tools for different cut shapes.

Electrical Discharge Machining:

Electrical Discharge Machining is also known as EDM. This technology is utilized for creating molds with intricate shapes. It is accomplished by using electrical discharges to melt and bend the metal workpiece and give it the desired shape.

Just like CNC machining, EDM also has high accuracy. However, while CNC machining can be used for materials other than metals, EDM works for only metal molds.

3D Printing

3D printing is one of the cheapest and fastest ways of making molds for injection molding. This process requires nothing but a 3D printer, so the expenses are very less. Additionally, there is no need for very skilled labor, saving you significant labor costs.

Injected Material

Plastic injection molding offers a certain degree of versatility to the type of plastics that you can use as the injection material. Some of these include ABS, PU, PE, PP, and PC.

The cost of material for pellets used in the injection molding process can fall anywhere from $! per kg to $5 per kg. The total cost of injected material will depend on the amount of material used, which in turn depends on the design that you require.

Other materials that can be injected are different metals and liquid silicone.

Design Complexity

Highly complex designs can lead to significant added costs. For one thing, it requires research, development, and technical expertise. For this purpose, you can either hire a professional or outsource the design process itself. Both options have their own expenses.

Labor Costs

Most of the steps involved in injection molding nowadays are automated and run by software systems. For instance, the CNC machine is run by Computer Numerical Controlled software, the 3D printers run on their own software, and the injection molding has automated processing as well.

There are indeed certain labor requirements at some points, such as:

Setup Costs: There are certain setup requirements for every step of injection molding. For instance, when making the molds, some setup of tooling is required. During injection molding, there is the setting up of mold and configuring the equipment. All these involve some labor costs.

Repair Costs: Injection molding is a mechanical process requiring multiple types of equipment. Therefore, there are bound to be certain repair and maintenance processes that require labor.

Operator Costs: Regardless of how much self-regulating machinery you use, you still require an operator to monitor the entire operation. The cost of the operator is something to factor in the labor costs.

Type of Injection Molds

Type of Injection Molds

There are three different types of injection molds, based on the number of cavities. These are:

Single Cavity Mold

Single cavity molds have one cavity inside, so they make one part per cycle time. While the cost of the mold is less, the production rate of parts will be slower. This leads to a higher cost per part.

Multi Cavity Molds

Multi cavity molds have more than one cavity inside them, so they can make multiple parts at the same time. While this has a higher initial cost of the mold, it leads to a significantly lower cost of the part. It is a cost-effective solution for large quantities.

Family Injection Molds

Family injection molds also have multi cavities inside them. However, these cavities are for different parts, so these molds can create different shapes of injection molded parts at the same time.

For example, you can manufacture the top and bottom ends of a plastic container in a single-family injection mold. These molds are a more expensive option in terms of mold cost, but they make the entire production process faster and cheaper.

Type of Molding Processes

There are three different types of injection molding processes. These are:

Basic Injection Molding:

This is the simplest type of injection molding process. The plastic is injected directly into the mold cavities to create the final piece. Of the three different molding processes, this one is the cheapest.

Insert Molding:

Insert molding is a little more complex process than basic injection molding. In insert molding, metal inserts are precisely positioned in the mold. Once positioned, the plastic injection molding then takes place.

This process creates fused plastic parts with metal inserts fused right into the part. An example of this is the metal fasteners that you see inserted in plastic components.

Due to insert molding, the whole assembly has a higher strength as compared to mechanically fixing the plastic and metal parts together.

Overmolding:

Like insert molding, overmolding is also a little more complex than basic injection molding. In overmolding, a basic injection molding process takes place to craft a part, let us say Part 1. Part 1 is then kept inside another mold and another plastic injection molding process takes place.

The second process creates Part 2, which contains Part 1 within itself. This process is similar to insert molding, with the difference that instead of a metal insert you are using a part created with plastic injection molding.

A common example of this is the soft rubber grip that you see embedded on plastic and rubber products, such as toothbrushes.

Part Variables

Part Variables

The size and design of the part will affect cost in a major way. Larger injection molded parts require not only a greater amount of material costs but also bigger molds. Similarly, when designs become complex, the molding can require multiple steps in itself.

Part Features

The features that the final product will contain also impact the injection mold cost. If the product has complex features, the features might require small components that require an injection molding process for their creation.

Production Volume

You might have seen that manufacturing costs per part become lesser when the production takes place in large quantities. The same idea holds true for injection molding as well.

When you are fulfilling a large production volume, you will require a higher number of molds. However, the cost of the molds does not increase linearly. For example, if the cost of mold is $1 per part for 100 parts, the cost for 5000 parts can be about $0.5 per part and for 100,000 molds can be $0.25 per part.

Similarly, the labor cost per part also decreases in the same way for larger production volumes. While the total cost of production increases for higher production volumes, you will incur significantly lower per part expenses.

Secondary Services

If the manufacturer requires any secondary services such as polishing or secondary finishing to the product, it calls for added costs. While it is not a part of the injection molding cost itself, the service provider might consider it at an added cost.

Injection Molding Cost Overview

Injection Molding Cost Overview

Let us have an understanding of the plastic injection molding costs for a part for different production volumes.

Low Production Volume

Low volume production can be considered anything between a hundred parts to a couple of thousand parts. For these low-volume applications, manufacturers usually manufacture the molds in-house and do the molding themselves.

For low production quantities, manufacturers create molds of 3D printed polymer resin since it is cheap and it doesn’t have to go through a large production cycle.

The entire production run for this volume takes about 3 days to reach the final parts. For a 100 part run, let us assume the following parameters:

  • Number of Parts= 100
  • Cost of the mold= $100
  • Cost of Material per part= $0.5
  • Total Cost of Materials= $50
  • Labor Cost Per Part= $3
  • Total Labor Cost= $300
  • Total Cost of Injection Molded Process= $450

Injection Molding Costs per part= $4.5

Medium Volume Production

Medium volume production can range anywhere between five thousand parts to tens of thousands of parts. For this scale of production, manufacturers usually outsource mold production as well as the molding process.

For comparison with the low production model and high production model, let us assume we are running a 5,000 volume cycle of the same part.

  • Number of Parts= 5,000
  • Cost of the Mold= $2500
  • Cost of Material per part= $0.5
  • Total Cost of Materials= $2500
  • Labor Cost Per Part= $2
  • Total Labor Cost= $10,000
  • Total Injection Molding Cost= $15,000

Injection molding costs per part= $3

Large Volume Production

Large volume production deals with hundreds of thousands of parts. For this comparison, let us assume we are running production of 100,000 parts of the same type.

  • Number of Parts= 100,000
  • Cost of the Mold= $25,000
  • Cost of Material Per Part= $0.5
  • Total Cost of Materials= $50,000
  • Labor Cost Per Part= $1
  • Total Labor Cost= $100,000
  • Total Injection Molding Cost= $175,000

Injection Molding Costs Per Part= $1.75

As you can see, the injection molding costs per part decrease significantly for high volume production. Therefore, high-volume projects have the best cost-effectiveness when we talk about injection molding costs.

How To Reduce Injection Molding Costs?

How To Reduce Injection Molding Costs

Injection molding is the preferred manufacturing process due to its low cost and high reliability.

While the process is cheap in itself as compared to its alternatives, you can even reduce the costs further. For that purpose, here are some pointers that you need to take into account:

Optimizing the CAD Design

A single part can be approached through different CAD designs. However, not each of these designs is ideal. Some designs of the same parts can lead to a wastage of time and resources. Therefore, optimize your CAD design to make sure it has the best utilization of resources.

Simplifying Features

Complex features can call for complex molds and extra steps in the injection molding process. Therefore, if you eliminate extra features that aren’t required, you can reduce the cost of injection molds.

In this regard, you can eliminate any features that are just for the sake of cosmetic finishes. This will end up saving money significantly.

Reducing Part Size

Bigger parts are not always better parts. When the size of the parts goes up, so does the cost of injection molds required for these parts. If the same process can be accomplished by reducing the part size, it is a good idea to opt for it.

Reusing Molds

Make full use of the molds by reusing them for various applications. You cannot only use the same mold for the same part design, but also for similar parts as well. This can be done by making small adjustments to the molds wherever possible.

Leverage Insert Molds

Using technologies like insert molding and overmolding is useful to save costs in the long run. For instance, using insert molding eliminates the need to create threads on the plastic itself for attaching it to metal parts.

Using DFM Analysis

DFM stands for Design For Manufacturing. DFM in injection molding refers to creating a part that serves the purpose of the customer as well as meets the cost expectations.

For DFM, analysts take into account various factors of art, science, and technology to find the most efficient design for reducing injection mold costs.

Using Multi Cavity Molds and Family Molds

With multi-cavity molds and family mold, you can multiply the production rate significantly. This reduces the cost of the entire operation by a significant margin, especially when we are looking at a medium to large production run.

Self Mating Parts

Self-mating parts are one of the most creative ways of reducing injection mold cost and simplifying the design at the same time. Self-mating parts are the parts that can attach to themselves when rotated at 180 degrees.

The benefit of self-mating parts is that you can use a single half mold to create the entire part. It keeps the cost of the mold low, and the plastic injection mold size in half while increasing the volume of production.

As we noticed in the plastic injection molds cost overview, higher volume means lower costs per part. This, combined with savings in mold size and mold numbers, lead to large savings in the final plastic injection mold costs.

Getting Injection Molding Quote For Cheapest Price and Best Quality

Now that you know the various costs associated with injection molding, one important question remains unanswered- What will be the cost of injection molding for my project?

To get a quote for this requirement, you need to choose the manufacturer who can provide you with the best results at the cheapest rates. 3ERP is your answer in this regard.

3ERP provides every injection molding service that you might require, from low-cost injection molding to mass production parts. There are even options when it comes to materials, such as thermoplastic injection mold, thermoset silicone injection mold, and metal injection mold.

A lot of established industries such as BMW, Lamborghini, and Electrolux already use the injection mold services offered by 3ERP.

The best part is that you get your parts made by a world-class team of engineers on the most advanced equipment, without bearing any of the injection mold cost for the same.

The injection mold cost of 3ERP will come as an exact quote that matches your exact requirements. Therefore, you will not be paying anything extra for something you do not require.

Get in touch with 3ERP today to get an injection molding quote for your requirement. Whether it is a simple injection molding project or something that deals with inserts or overmolding, we handle it all!

Conclusion

Injection molding is one of the most widely applied manufacturing processes nowadays. Every day, you see and touch multiple parts created by this process like bottle caps and plastic handles.

After reading this article, you now have a better idea about the plastic injection molding cost and how it varies from project to project. You even know about the cost variations that occur due to injection mold tooling cost.

If you are considering rapid injection molding for your next project, there is nothing to double think about. You can send a query to 3ERP at our contact email and our team will reach out to you with the best price available for your requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is injection molding expensive?

Not at all. Injection molding is one of the cheapest manufacturing processes out there. Even so, you can still lower the mold cost per molding cycle by following the tips we suggested in this guide.

Which mold material is the best for injection molding?

Every injection molding material has its own benefits. The perfect material for you will depend on your requirements and budget constraints.


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