If you’re thinking about getting started in plastic injection molding to produce your own custom injection molded parts, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll give you a birds-eye view of this process and some important information to consider on your injection molding journey.
Before we dive into it all, let me explain why we’re qualified to give you this information. InterTech has been providing plant engineering services and production solutions to the food and beverage industry since 1986.
For over three decades, we’ve helped our clients vertically integrate blow molding into their facilities. In the past several years, we’ve also helped our clients get started in plastic injection molding to make their own preforms, closures and other custom molded parts in various industries. We’ve also helped clients optimize the existing injection molding areas in their facilities.
Thank you to InterTech’s Mike Curin for providing the details for this article. We hope this information gives you the overview you need to get started in plastic injection molding.
“One of the most valuable resources InterTech brings to any plastic injection molding project is the cost model.” -Mike Curin
Why InterTech’s Cost Model is so Important
InterTech’s proprietary, detailed cost model provides incredibly useful information to companies who are just getting started with injection molding.
We adapt our cost models and our engineering to help you consider injection molding, just as we have helped hundreds in the packaging industry to blow their own bottles for over twenty years. We bring that same level of expertise into these other areas.
Our cost model allows our clients to:
- Hone the numbers and gain a deep understanding of injection molding
- Discern the productivity options before the system is installed
- Optimize the layout of the facility
- Minimize energy consumption
- Improve environmental controls
- Enhance cycle times
- Clearly define the Scope of Work
- Utilize assets wherever possible to minimize investment requirements
- Understand the strengths of various equipment manufacturers
- Increase their confidence in the project’s total ROI
Managing the environmental controls of the room properly and energy efficiently is just one example of course, but it’s an important one.
We can help when it comes to conditioning the air so our client doesn’t have to worry about mold condensation, depending on what region they’re in. This is often a problem when the room gets too hot (because the air is not being conditioned) and the mold starts to sweat. You have to run the mold warmer and suffer a loss in cycle times.
We help our clients understand these benefits and costs to create an environment for maximum productivity with reduced scrap and waste.
It’s All About Optimization
We help our injection molding clients run faster cycle times, lower energy consumption, and optimize their entire facility. This includes optimizing the number of injection molding machines and understanding that productivity is comprised of a lot of factors that must be considered. We build cost models to help our clients understand the details.
One particular client has a number of sites that InterTech has helped to convert for self-manufacturing bottles that are then conveyed directly to the filler. Currently, they are purchasing preforms from a traditional converter.
However, after modeling their current operation and financial plans, InterTech was able to demonstrate a high return for the client to also make their own preforms in a central location and then ship them to their various bottling plant locations.
Their injection molded preforms will be of various sizes and will have various finishes. InterTech has helped to define all of the required machines, molds and resin handling systems. For this project, they’ll need some large and some mid-size machines.
We’re helping them understand the costs associated with all the different machines, the productivity of those machines, and ultimately, everything they’re going to need to build out that plant. This includes all the infrastructure, the auxiliary equipment, silos, railcar unloading, everything.
We also extrapolated the numbers through the growth of their production over five years. Now they know, “We’re going to start here and make this many. We’re going to extend that out over five years. We believe it’s going to grow at this rate.” We were able to show them year-by-year what their capital investment needed to be. That way, they could make an informed decision about how to meet future requirements with minimal initial cost investment.
In addition, we were able to assist them in structuring the purchase of their PET resin at a more favorable pricing then they were receiving from their current converter.
Plastic Injection Molding and Equipment Selection
From our perspective, it’s about making well-informed decisions based on the data we compile when weighing the cost models. We help our clients understand the return on their investment.
It’s about using the right tool for the right job. We help companies analyze that. We can do the analysis work for them. They can take our unbiased findings and make the best decision for their plant. We can show them how to optimize their capital expenditure for the return on their investment.
Many times, the decision about equipment selection has a lot to do with the production rates and speeds at which the machines need to operate.
Currently we’re helping an injection molder combine a number of facilities under one roof. They’re interested in automating the facility with automated guided vehicles and an ASRS system (an automated storage and racking system) in the warehouse.
They basically want the facility to run lights out. They’ll be able to subsidize the labor shortage significantly by combining their facilities together into one operation. Our team is applying our expertise to all aspects of that plant. This includes things like case packing, palletizing and a variety of different things.
Right now they palletize all of their products at the end of the injection molding machine. One solution we can bring to them is to convey the boxes to a central automated palletizing system that can palletize eight to ten different pallets of different skews and different sized boxes.
The boxes will come in on a central conveyor system or by automated guided vehicle. The system will read the barcode on the box, the robot will pick it up, and it’ll know that it needs to go over to this pallet in this position. It’ll automate the process, including stretch-wrapping the final palletizing and moving it out of the way.
They’ll only need one lift truck driver in one area to move all their finished goods. It eliminates the labor gap. This solution will allow them to increase their productivity with the same number of people.
Is InterTech’s Plastic Injection Molding Expertise Limited to Certain Industries?
We are not limited by any industry. We’ve done it, and we’ve done it for years. Ultimately, we are a company that provides solutions. That’s what we do. There’s no limit to that possibility.
We’re able to offer the expertise that goes into any type of manufacturing support including building structure, structural engineering, mechanical and electrical as well as utility design, etc. with any new or existing company interested in plastic injection molding.
How Does InterTech Help New Facilities with Plastic Injection Molding?
When a client comes to us, if they are new to injection molding, we write their request for proposal from the major equipment providers to meet the requirements of what they want to injection mold (it doesn’t matter what it is).
Then, we competitively bid on their behalf to buy the optimum pieces of equipment at the lowest cost of ownership – including first cost, installation cost and operating cost – resulting in the best return on investment. This also includes the required maintenance on the equipment over time.
The different injection molding manufacturers and molding machine manufacturers all have different costs associated with maintaining the equipment. We put those numbers into our cost model. We look at the entire cost model to make sure we’ve covered every base.
How Does InterTech Help Existing Facilities with Plastic Injection Molding?
We reevaluate the production requirements and help optimize existing injection molding facilities in a number of different ways.
We can go into an existing injection molding facility and 3D scan their room to gather data for our client. For example, maybe they want to store different types of materials in silos outside the building. In order to do that, they need to modify the inside of the room to bring in additional piping.
In that situation, we would 3D scan the room and use our software to design it in 3D. That way, when the equipment is installed, there won’t be an issue onsite regarding interference with existing infrastructure in the plant. This is especially useful for older facilities since the plant drawings often times aren’t up-to-date.
We can help existing facilities with adding new infrastructure, building out spaces to add additional injection molding machines, and other things. And, we can do it all in a way that assures budget control and eliminates project delays due to structure interference.
We can also help existing facilities with the way they handle their process water and air supply. Sometimes we just help with simple things like changing the lighting in the facility to LED and working with the local power company to lower those costs. There are countless ways we can help existing facilities get the best return on their investment while minimizing their environmental impact.
We have one client who recently asked us to work on alternative energy sources. Rather than taking power out of the grid, they’re interested in doing a cogeneration plant, where they’ll bring in natural gas and generate their own electricity. They would also like to supplement with wind or solar power.
We can do that for any company, whether you have been injection molding for decades or are new to the process. So again, there are many different ways we can make a positive impact on your business.
If you would like to learn more about how InterTech can help you with your new or existing plastic injection molding facility, give us a call. Our office is in Atlanta. You can reach us at 770-431-5959. Even if you’re considering an injection molding area in your existing plant, our engineers can give you some valuable advice. We look forward to hearing from you.