Injection moulding, as you can gather by the name, is a process that is used to manufacture plastics. Mass-production of plastic products with tight tolerance through injection moulding has become quite common. It’s a cost-effective, quick, and efficient solution. Injection moulding has high repeatability, which is why it is the leading mass-producing technique for plastic products.
The process itself is fast, intensive, and requires a lot of energy. The heated plastic is quickly introduced to a mould inside, which takes shapes. The exact kind of plastic that is used depends upon the kind of thing that is being manufactured. Many different thermoplastics are used in the injection moulding process, such as ABS, PS, PE, PC, PP, and TPU. But the injection moulding process isn’t limited to thermoplastics, as certain metals and ceramics can be introduced to a mould too in some circumstances.
Due to the intensity of this process, many wonder how much the entire injection moulding process costs. The biggest factor in the process is the cost of the mould itself. The designing and building of the mould can be time-intensive and take intricate work, depending upon requirements.
The cost of an individual process is hard to track as it depends on many factors. The price can be as little as 100 dollars and up to 100,000 dollars. The exact cost will depend on your requirements and the kind of material that is used. However, variable costs in injection moulding are low and therefore stay consistent. And, of course, getting many units of a product is bound to reduce the overall costs of each individual unit.
Types of Costs in Injection Moulding
Let’s take a look at the different kinds of costs that one can incur in the injection moulding process.
Injection moulding requires special-purpose machines that can handle the injection process. These machines can range from small in-house machines to massive industrial moulding machines that are used in mass production.
The most cost-effective injection moulding solution is to produce low volume parts with smaller injection moulding machines and 3D printed moulds. There are many manual injection moulding machines that can sit on a bench. Although, if you are looking for a bigger production operation, there are bigger, industrial level machines.
As mentioned, mould costs are the main factor when deciding the total costs of the operation.
There are three main methods that are usually used to produce moulds.
CNC Machining: This is arguably the most commonly used process for producing moulds. CNC machining can work with many different materials. But it is mainly responsible for producing stainless steel or aluminium moulds that can handle the repeatability factor that mass-production requires. CNC machining is also very precise and capable of producing very accurate and intricate moulds. But the one drawback to this method is that it is quite time-intensive, which can sometimes be an issue.
Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM): The priority use of the EDM method is to create highly complex mould designs that even CNC machining has trouble achieving. This method uses electricity and diodes in a dielectric fluid to shape a mould. EDM has a high level of accuracy and almost never requires any post-processing that other machining and printing methods might require. This is due to the freeform nature of the moulding process.
3D printing: 3D printing is a powerful and swift moulding solution that can create many moulds at a fast pace for a very low cost. The advantage of 3D printing is that it takes away a lot of the human labour requirements that CNC machining requires. This is another avenue of saving costs.
Injected Material Cost
There are many injected materials that are used in the injection moulding process, as discussed above. The total cost of the operation depends upon the kind of thermoplastics being used. ABS, PS, PE, PC, PP and TPU are some of the main thermoplastics that are widely used.
The cost of these thermoplastics can vary from 1 Dollar to 5 Dollars/kg of plastic.
There is also the factor of labour costs that comes with operating EDM machines and CNC machines. Even 3D printing requires an operator and a designer to get the job done.
Due to the costs and the headache that is required to set up an injection moulding process in-house, it is recommended that this process is outsourced. So, contact us at 3DPrintings.com.au. We offer plastic injection moulding in Australia at affordable rates.