December 18, 2017

Need help navigating the mold maze? Here are questions you need to ask.

Over the past decade there has been significant advancements that greatly effect traditional prototype/ low volume mold construction. It’s not a one key fits all solution anymore. So let’s clarify and give some direction to help you navigate through the mold maze. First you need to answer the basics.

1) Are the required components only for engineering evaluation, for salable product, or both?

If engineering samples is your requirement, it’s most likely a low cost aluminum construction mold with hand pulls for undercut details will be your best fit. If it has the potential of becoming a production salable component then upgrading to steel construction and mechanical cams for undercut details. Using modular inserts whenever possible is a great way to save cost and shorten delivery as well. For full scale production SPI class tooling is required.

2) What is the estimated yearly volume?
This will ensure capacity is met by quoting the proper mold cavitation.

3) What specific resin will be used?
Unfilled resins are less abrasive on tool steel than filled resin, which can be abrasive and cause wear (specifically near the gate areas). Also some engineered resins can require hi mold temperatures in excess of 350F, requiring special insulation plates and hard steel components.

4) What is your program lifespan?
Premature mold wear is last thing you want. Program lifecycle is a key factor in risk analysis. This helps address tool construction methods, as well as spare component requirements.

With this information, along with 3D cad file and print identifying all critical dimensions, AIM Plastics can quote a best-fit tooling solution that will achieve quality requirements and provide a tool life that doesn’t fall short of the program lifespan. You don’t want to pay for a 1 million part tool life and occur a 12 week lead time when you only require 150k tool life with a much faster lead time. For more information on the differences between production and prototype molds visit us at, or call Jim Jarrett at (586) 954-2553 to discuss your future requirements.