3 things you can do to minimize the cost of your initial production run.

//Quick Reads

Hamit Kanuni Kuralkan

15.04.2018

Molds are significant investments. It can strain your funds and delay your launch date. There are a number of things you can do to minimize your initial production run. I will try to list 3 things you can do minimize the cost of your initial production run.

KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid

 

"The phrase; “keep it simple, stupid” is thought to have been coined by the late Kelly Johnson, who was the lead engineer at the Lockheed Skunk Works. Kelly Johnson was specifically refering to repairability and stability of functional parts, however, the same principle applies to cost reduction. The following guidelines will help keep your designs low cost.

1 - Spades vs No Spades

 

In mold terminology spades refer to moving parts on molds. If there are reverse angles or obstructions on your part design, the mold design would have to have moving spades in order to be able to remove the part from the mold.

 

On Image 1 you can see a part design that would require a spade. The spade would move backward when the mold opens with the help of a piston or a spring. This would allow the part to be removed.

Image 1 - Spade required

Image 2 - No Spade required

On Image 2 you see the hole is moved to the edge of the part. Where half of the hole is on the bottom part. This approach eliminates the need for a moving spade on the mold, reducing the mold cost.

 

Of course, it may not always be possible to do this. The part's design (hole location) is generally determined by internal components. However, if you can keep this in mind while designing you can prevent unnecessary spade requirements.

2 - Sharp corners

 

In mold making there are 2 main methods of metal forming, cnc milling and erosion molding. CNC milling refers to the CAM (Computer Aided Machining), where the part is milled inside the CNC machine.

 

Erosion molding on the other hand is used where CNC milling is not possible because the area to be carved has a 90 degree inner angle, because the milling tips are curved on the end hence a sharp inner angle can not be achived. In such cases, a copper male (reverse of the shape to be carved) is milled in the CNC machine and placed on the erosion molding machine.

 

The erosion molding machine runs a high voltage on the copper part and moves it very close to the mold surface. When they are close enough, the charge jumps through the copper and removes atoms from the mold surface. Repeated thousands of times, the mold surface is formed into the shape of the copper part.

 

Image 3 and Image 4 shows the inner corner before and after erosion molding.

Image 3 - No Erosion Molding Required

Image 4 - Erosion Molding Required

Erosion molding is an additional process and can take significant time to apply. If you can remove sharp edges from your design. You can reduce the cost of your mold.

3 - Colour and Material Choices

 

Once the mold is complete, it is time to start mass manufacture. If your initial run is going to be small, or you are not exactly sure about colours or material options, it is best to choose from existing offerings that are readly available and easy to obtain.

 

For example, your parts require a certain tensile strength performance and you need to make a decision on what material to use. You can choose a specialized engineering plastic, which can be sourced. However, it is better to only use such materials if it is really necessary.

 

Using more commonly available materials like ABS or PC when suitable can make sourcing easier and bring your initial production run cheaper.

 

The same principle applies to colour choices. A colour standard called RAL is used in plastics. Much like Pantone, RAL has a wide range of colours to choose from. However, all of the RAL colours are not always available. Generally, if you would like a specific colour, it is made on order and can cost up to 3000$.

 

On the other hand, if you can chose from readly available colours you can avoid this cost.

 

Main colour shades  are readyly available, so having something close to your choosing should be possible however, the exact colour may require made to order colour production.

 

In conclusion, of course there are more things to be done to reduce cost of your part. Nontheless, everypart is different and require different changes.

 

Write to us for a free consultation to learn more how we can reduce the cost of your parts.

Hamit Kanuni Kuralkan

 

Creative Director

 

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