The three key factors affecting mold cost have nothing to do with materials!


Today, I share with my colleagues how to reduce the comprehensive cost of molds by early evaluation ESI, mold design and mold engineering management. I always believe that the three key factors affecting the cost of molds are: early product mold opening feasibility evaluation ESI, mold design and mold engineering management. Why are these three key factors? It’s not that everything else is unimportant. It is because these three items are the key to mold technology and the most key factor to measure the technical ability of a mold factory. Mold materials, cutting tools, machine rates, depreciation and other costs are almost indistinguishable from each enterprise, the price is almost transparent, and the space for cost compression is limited. The key is to reduce the manufacturing cost and use cost of your mold through technology and optimal management. Only considering the cost of the mold itself is problematic in concept. Only injection molding can reflect the value of the mold. The real value of the mold is to be able to produce injection products with high efficiency, high quality, low loss, few mold failures and successfully complete the production of injection products. The real value and comprehensive benefits of the mold are reflected in the injection molding section.

When many mold peers mention mold cost, they often first think of mold design, mold materials, processing, mold accessories, mold trial and management. In fact, the root causes of these costs are often ignored or not paid enough attention. To solve the problems, we should start from the root causes and be forward-looking. As long as we find the root causes of the problems, only the technical details are left to solve the problem of mold cost. The three fundamental factors affecting mold cost are: early product risk assessment, ESI, mold design and mold engineering management, which are also the root of mold problems.

Let me share some experience on these three root causes.

Early stage risk assessment (ESI) of mold design is the key

To reduce the cost, the most fundamental thing is to do a good job in the preliminary evaluation of mold design, that is, ESI evaluation.

It is also the most important link. Is it different from the ideas of many bosses?

Yes, you are right. It is the preliminary evaluation ESI of mold design.

I firmly believe that the cost of the mold is designed

Early stage evaluation (ESI) is very important, which can avoid repeated modification of products and molds, avoid most process risks, reduce the number of mold trials, and save a lot of resources for follow-up work.

II. Basic idea of product evaluation (ESI):

Prevention is better than remedy, and sufficient early communication with customers is well done. Before the product design is finalized, customers are more likely to accept the improvement suggestions of the mold factory, and it is difficult for designers to accept and modify the product after the product design is finalized.

1. Establish an ESI team to participate in the product evaluation at 50% of the product design stage, mainly evaluate the approximate mold scheme and molding risk, and output the evaluation report to recommend the discussion and modification of the product design. The ESI Engineer at 80% of the product design stage makes a detailed evaluation and outputs a detailed evaluation report, including: detailed mold development scheme, Mold manufacturing risk assessment, molding risk assessment and product post-processing, risk assessment, output detailed reports, closed-loop management of all risk problems until all problems are solved

2. In 80% of the product evaluation stage, because the large structure has been determined, the mold department can simultaneously carry out mold design and purchase mold long-term parts. After 100% of the product design is completed, the mold design can start processing with only a small amount of local modifications, so as to realize the synchronization of product design and mold manufacturing and save mold development time;

3. The ESI team shall include senior experts in each mold section: mold design, material analysis (mold flow analysis and structure analysis), mold processing, molding machine adjustment, post-treatment process, etc. the ESI team shall be responsible for the whole product mold technology and the final review of the mold design plan. The mold department shall implement the plan and be responsible for the detailed mold design and manufacturing; The ESI team does not need many people, and the key is refinement. Small and medium-sized mold enterprises lack experienced technicians, so they can consider outsourcing to professional technical service companies. Mold flow analysis, preliminary evaluation, final review of mold scheme and other work can be handed over to professional companies for service.

4. ESI team provides major technical solutions for product molding problems;

5. The ESI team provides a mold modification scheme for major product design changes and evaluates various process risks. Problems should also be managed in a closed loop. After the detailed evaluation of the customer’s products in the early stage, it can avoid the repeated modification of the mold after the mold test. More than 80% of the molding risk has been avoided in the evaluation stage and the number of mold tests has been reduced. Through communication with customers, we can modify products, optimize mold processing technology and reduce processing risk

In the early communication stage, customers are often easy to accept product modification, which is convenient for mold processing and injection molding. It is the most effective way to avoid subsequent risks. By optimizing the processing technology, the processing cost and risk are naturally reduced, the product modification is reduced, the mold modification cost is reduced, the number of mold trials is greatly reduced, the mold trial cost is not small, the delivery time is shortened, the quality problems are less, the customer satisfaction is naturally high, and most of the post process risks are avoided, and the mold cost is naturally reduced

 three, how to reduce mold cost by mold design

Above, we share how to reduce mold cost and avoid risks through early product intervention evaluation. Next, we share another key factor affecting mold cost – mold design. I have always believed that the mold cost is designed. Then we will share ideas first, and then we will introduce specific methods one after another. When bosses and managers of many small and medium-sized mold enterprises mention mold cost, do they first think of the following methods:

Mold material changed from imported steel to cheap domestic steel?

Make the material as thin as possible to save material?

Reduce processing volume?

Less thimbles, inserts?

Less design and processing waterways?

Try not to use hot runner as much as possible?

Basically, they save costs from materials and processing costs. In fact, the concept is wrong, you know? You only see the surface of the cost. The above methods just increase the cost, not reduce the cost.

1. The mold design should give sufficient insurance coefficient to the material strength. Is the cost of modifying and testing the mold caused by material problems much greater than the material cost?

2. The ejection design of the die should be sufficient and prefer excess. Do not cause problems such as product ejection protrusion, ejection imbalance and product ejection deformation due to saving ejector pins. The loss caused by modifying the die at one time is far greater than several ejector pins.

3. Do not make less inserts because of reducing the processing cost. In the difficult processing area, the local flow end of the product shall be made into inserts as much as possible, and enough exhaust slots shall be made on the inserts. Making more inserts seems to increase the cost, but it will actually reduce a lot of molding risks. The amount of die processing is small, and the inserts can be processed synchronously to shorten the die processing cycle; The insert is conducive to exhaust, shorten the filling time, reduce the forming pressure and reduce various product adverse problems caused by gas trapping.

4. The mold cooling water path should be as many as possible, and balance and rationality should be considered, especially for products with large and thick products. Multiple design and processing waterways seem to increase the cost. If the product forming cycle can be reduced by 3-5 seconds, can it better reflect the value of the mold?

5. In order to reduce joints, it is also an extremely wrong idea to connect many waterways in series. Some on-site injection molding personnel directly connect multiple waterways in series for convenience. If the cooling water flows too long in the mold, the water temperature will rise, and there will be obvious difference between the inlet and outlet temperatures, which will affect the cooling effect of the product and even cause the product to deform due to uneven cooling.

6. Mold design should actively communicate with customers, judge the parts of customers’ products that are easy to modify and the parts that are easy to be damaged in mold production, and make a plan in advance for subsequent mold modification. If it is made into inserts that can be replaced quickly and spare parts in advance, it is necessary to make a plan in advance, otherwise the mold repair cost will be high.

7. Mold design should design exhaust as much as possible, and reasonably design exhaust and process it; Many small and medium-sized mold enterprises do not design exhaust slots in mold design, which is handled by on-site fitters according to their own experience, which is very wrong; Design and processing exhaust seems to waste cost. Exhaust problem is a very important factor causing product problems, which should be paid attention to. The benefits of exhaust are not explained in detail here.

8. The parts of the mold design must have tolerance standards, and the processing and testing must be carried out according to the tolerance requirements. Some factories have no detailed tolerance standards at all, and the supervisor often signs for special purchase if the processing is unqualified, which are the hidden dangers of mold problems and increase the cost of modifying the mold.

In short, the cost of subsequent mold modification and injection production must be fully considered in mold design. The mold is for injection molding, and the comprehensive cost should be considered. Some enterprises only make molds and sell molds to customers for injection molding. In order to control the mold cost, they ignore the injection molding production. In the long run, these mold factories will be abandoned by customers. Even if your mold price is low, no quality is scrap iron. Only by fully considering injection molding production is a good mold. Mold colleagues, please remember that the mold cost is designed.

 IV. how to reduce mold cost in mold engineering management

The mold engineering I’m talking about is actually the mold project management. How to use the mold engineering management to reduce the mold cost. The above briefly introduces how the preliminary evaluation ESI and mold design can reduce the comprehensive cost of molds. I always believe that the three key factors affecting the mold cost are: preliminary product mold opening feasibility evaluation ESI, mold design and mold engineering management. The requirements and roles of mold engineering managers in different enterprises are also different, such as large mold enterprises with standardized management, Because the process system is relatively perfect, each section has a detailed division of labor, detailed performance appraisal and strong technical strength, the role of mold engineering is to organize meetings, control nodes and follow up delivery dates. Engineers who have worked for 3 years and can understand the mold foundation can be competent. Small and medium-sized mold injection molding enterprises have much higher requirements for mold engineering managers, because they assume more technical roles and coordinate the on-site wrangling. They should understand both technology and project management, so as not to be fooled by each section. Small and medium-sized mold enterprises often lack such talents. They can’t afford to hire such talents. They don’t even pay attention to training such talents, and they can’t stay after training. This is also the pain of small and medium-sized mold enterprises. The following is about the engineering management of small and medium-sized mold enterprises.

basic capabilities for mold engineering management:

1. Be familiar with the mold structure and the processing technology of each section, most of which are from experienced fitters, preferably those with design background and experience in fitters, with technical secondary school degree or above;

2. Have strong planning, coordination and communication skills, and focus on cultivating project management skills;

3. Meeting organization and meeting summary ability;

4. Be proactive, able to withstand pressure and be independent;

5. Small and medium-sized mold enterprises should be competent only if they have certain technical ability and prestige. There are many quarrels in each section of the mold factory. They should be able to coordinate and not be good people.

Main work contents of mold engineering management personnel:

1. Early planning, process tracking and result tracking of mold progress, and be responsible for the whole result of mold; Mold engineering is the project of the mold factory. When a project comes down, the mold engineering should take the lead in organizing the PDT team. Mold engineering is the leader of the project and is responsible for the results of the whole project;

2. The mold engineering shall be involved in the mold design stage after the completion of the product preliminary evaluation. After the completion of the preliminary evaluation report, each section shall be organized to hold a meeting for review, and the project members of each section shall also be organized to hold a meeting for review after the completion of the mold design. Small and medium-sized mold enterprises do not have to go to the conference room for a meeting. They can organize several people to complete the review in a short time next to the computer. Mold engineering should make records to ensure that all problems are closed and avoid risks. Small and medium-sized mold bosses may think that the meeting is a waste of time. In fact, this is the most effective way to avoid follow-up risks. Strong technical experts will be black under the light and have problems you can’t see. After a brief and detailed review, you can effectively avoid the risk and future problems.

3. An important work of mold engineering management is process tracking, resource coordination and emergency exception handling. It is also the most competent work for mold engineers. In small and medium-sized mold factories, due to the imperfect process system, the situation is often continuous in the processing process, so mold engineering managers need to judge and deal with it timely and effectively, so as not to cause problems such as abnormal unattended, part processing delay and so on; After the mold test, relevant project personnel shall be organized to review the mold test results, formulate the mold repair scheme, summarize the project, and make records.

4. Since the mold engineering is responsible for the final result of the mold and is the leader of the whole project, the owner of the mold factory should give them corresponding rights, such as resource allocation right, project assessment right, etc. there should be data for the abnormalities of each section, and there should be data for the delivery date. Try to use the data to check and avoid wrangling. Project managers can score each project member and even determine the performance of project members. This is necessary. If you have a responsibility, you should give corresponding rights, otherwise you can’t talk about responsibility.

5. The meeting review organized by mold engineering actually determines the whole mold processing process, reasonably coordinates and allocates resources and reviews, avoids subsequent risks, improves mold processing efficiency, effectively avoids process risks, and naturally reduces mold costs.

6. In mold enterprises, the ability of mold engineers is very important. They are the summarists of the company’s technology and can effectively precipitate the technology. The cultivation of mold engineering personnel is very important. It should be consciously cultivated and retained. It is best to be specially cultivated. For example, a certain engineering management personnel specially deal with a certain type of mold, and a specially assigned person is full-time, which is conducive to the refinement of technical management and technical precipitation. In the long run, the effect will be very obvious, and the bosses of small and medium-sized mold enterprises should pay attention to it. Mold engineering management is a university. There are many management theories and methods. Don’t use the fuzzy and rough mold engineering management mode anymore. We should constantly learn and apply new management modes and methods. How to play the role of mold engineering management is also a big topic. Good management will be a very effective way to reduce mold cost. When the process is reasonable, the processing is smooth, the delivery time is shortened, the project risk is less, and the comprehensive cost of mold injection molding is naturally reduced. Therefore, mold engineering management ability is worthy of great attention by mold manufacturing enterprises.


The ability of ESI, mold design and engineering management is the key to measure the ability of a mold factory, and the key to improve these three abilities is the talent team. The quality of the mold can only be reflected through the post section. Only injection molding can reflect the value of the mold. The real value of the mold is to be able to achieve high efficiency, high quality, low loss, less mold failure and successfully complete the production of injection molding products. The real value and comprehensive benefits of the mold are reflected in the injection molding section. Mold enterprises that do not fully consider the comprehensive benefits at low prices will eventually be abandoned by customers.