You know what you want from your product, but are you sure you will get it? Plastic injection molding is a wide discipline, involving many different ingredients, skills and technical perspectives. It is daunting to navigate this world, but with just a few questions you can easily establish that your choice of provider will do your project justice.

What is their reputation?

Reputation is important with any business.But it is critical with plastic injection molding, because this is not a small or simple process. You are likely investing considerably on the outcome of the project, so you want to use a provider with a track record for sticking by their customers, following through on the entire process and ensuring you get the results you need. Do your research, ask for references and don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions – such as the ones on this list!

Do they guarantee their work?

This is an incredibly important question to ask. Problems with your parts may creep in further down the line, long after the injection molding process has been completed. Yet those problems could be related directly to the process, so you need to be able to go back and have changes made without extra cost to you. Few things are as bad as spending money on a part, then having to pay for it all again because your plastic molder provider made a mistake and refuses to guarantee the work.

Are they certified?

Certification standards are very important and an absolute requirement when choosing your plastic injection molding provider. For example, Plastinternational’s quality programmes are audited twice a year by the SABS. We also closely follow ISO 9001 quality management standards, a global practice. If you consider a company that can’t provide proof of their support for these standards, rather look elsewhere.

Do they cover a variety of industries?

This theme surfaces a few times in the questions above, but it is worth stating again. When you create a product through plastic injection molding, you want to use a provider that understands the sector you will be servicing. From the type of resin used to the fine details of the mold, nuances count if you want to ensure a resilient and effective outcome. But in order to be really effective, plastic injection molders benefit from experience across a variety of industries. Ask for past references and testimonials from clients both in your sector and other fields.

What is behind their price?

Cost is very important when creating your product. But don’t take a quote at face value. There are several factors that go into a price, such as the variety of processes and machines a provider has access to, the experience of their team, the value chain that supplies them, not to mention the back-and-forth when establishing a quality product. Do your homework on what you want from your provider and if they really can cover it all.

Do they have in-house engineers?

Plastic injection molding is not a one-stop process. Instead, if you want to achieve a quality product, there are several stages to pass through, such as prototyping, refinements, testing different resins and so on. This is a far easier journey to travel if you have the help of experienced design engineers on your side. A true end-to-end, experienced plastic molding provider should have such engineers onboard as part of the in-house staff. Save yourself a lot of headaches down the line by knowing you had the best help and guidance right from the start.

Can they create prototypes?

You don’t know what you don’t know. Prototypes are an absolutely vital part to any design process, if only to get the kinks out that may later cause bigger problems. Yet prototyping is not straightforward: the best prototypes come from injection molding providers who not only know the industry your product will service, but boasts a wide range of experience across various sectors. Experience equates quality, and quality is why you want to use plastic injection molding. So choose a provider that knows how and can provide the protoype process to prove it.

What machines do they have?

Creating molds is not a universal process. There are a variety of different machines on the market, best suited for different projects. The most common distinction is size: plastic injection molding machines can range from 4 to 4000 tonnes in clamp pressure. Setting aside the specifics, the more tonnage equates larger molds. So small molds can’t be made by large machines without problems creeping in. Ensure your provider has the best equipment for the parts you need made.

How do they source their resin?

A top chef will only use the best ingredients. A top architect will not cut corners on the supplies for their project. Why should the resin going into your plastic parts be any different? Resins are not all alike. They can range through a variety of important factors: it’s not just about the quality of the resin, but also the best resin for your particular project. For example, some consumer items must be manufactured from certain types of resin as a matter of law. Choose a provider who is open and flexible about their resin options.