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Defining "Low Volume" Production Quantities For Plastic Injection Molding

Jul 9, 2018

Matt Sweeney Engineering Resource Center manager

Over the past several months, The ERC has exhibited at trade shows throughout the country. I've had the privilege of meeting many prospective customers who visited our booth to ask about our services. When I explain that we build prototype & production tooling as well as manufacture low volume production parts, the most common question is “what quantity do you consider 'low volume'?” The easy answer is: under 100,000 parts per year. But the real answer is: it depends! 

Customers initially come to us to develop production-quality plastic prototypes. By utilizing our Modular Tooling System, they can take advantage of our inexpensive tooling prices. After prototyping, some customers only need to manufacture 10,000 - 20,000 production parts. They are pleased to find out that they don’t need to purchase another production mold to do so; they can use the prototype tool we've already built for them! And since our molds are made out of high grade steel, they last much longer than the usual aluminum tooling most prototyping services use. This is an excellent way to reduce startup costs, especially for entrepreneurs who are tight on cash and want to test their product on the market before sinking money into full-scale production. 

What if you need quantities upwards of 100,000 parts per year? Simple! We can build a two cavity or four cavity mold. This way we can still hit quantities on the higher end of "low volume", but in half or a quarter of the amount of time. The way we look at low volume production is how many hours per year the mold will run in the press. In order produce a set number of parts in a certain amount of time, we will suggest which multi-cavity mold to build. The good news is that you will still benefit from our normal MTS savings just like you would on a single cavity prototype.  

Our low volume production offering has been an excellent solution for customers with various needs. Some are startups looking for an inexpensive, low-risk way to launch their product on the market. Others are widely known million-dollar companies that need low annual quantities of specialty or replacement parts. Take a lead from those successful customer and submit your CAD on our Rapid Quote page along with the Estimated Annual Volume. We'll take it from there.

Matt Sweeney is The Engineering Resource Center's Manager and Lead Engineer. He joined The ERC in 2013 after receiving his bachelor's degree in Plastics Engineering from Ferris State University. When he's not busy starring in our YouTube videos, some of his many hobbies include golf, skiing, and trying to be good at the guitar. 

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