Injection mold steel is hard and can take a pounding. But the mold building project and process that delivers that mold to you can be fragile and break if not managed properly. Success starts with understanding how typical offshore injection mold makers operate.
The short video below is a bit of fun on a serious issue but the result in this typical offshore injection mold building story is not fun at all if you are on the receiving end. Watch for fun and then continue reading as we analyze each of the talking points in this video.
The good news is there is a way to get Western quality and China level pricing for offshore injection molds without headaches. It is all about qualifying quotes and injection mold makers objectively. It’s about finding better partners.
Click anywhere on video below to start.
“Wow, great mold price, start the project ASAP! This is going to be great!”
Everyone loves a good price. In fact it is the reason you are looking at China in the first place, you need a great injection mold price to make your project viable. But that price also needs to be a true reflection of the mold cost and the Injection Mold Suppliers ability to deliver that mold at the quality level you require, otherwise it is just something that looks good on paper.
Are you doing a true apples to apples comparison of your China quotes or are all the low cost quotes jumping out and grabbing your attention? You have a spec and drawings that the Injection Mold Makers uses to quote, but just because you delivered them these details don’t think that all the quotes back will be an accurate reflection of your injection mold needs.
This is a BIG problem area. Happy emotions on a great price point can often cloud the deep dive needed to qualify that quote and supplier thoroughly.
The Jade Way: We are highly competitive on quotes and honest about what is included. Sometimes a customer will call us out on price, that we are too high. But, when given the chance to compare our quote to a competitors we almost always win by a lot. On price point, mold features, mold design, and mold quality. Why? Because we quote based on the reality of your spec and drawings, plus the reality of your end-use needs. We proactively suggest changes when we see it will help lower the cost or improve the design. We work with extensively to understand your goals and we can easily understand them, because we are Westerners.
“Hmmm, some early on communication issues. Not great. But it will still be good.”
Did you notice that transition? At this point, early on in your mold building project, your expectations have already dropped from the initial exaltation of great…to good. When you accept that “great price” and leap without properly vetting this is what always follows.
You may have thought that the company you were working with had good communication and English skills and this paired with a “great price” will dramatically help your project. The reality is that more than likely you have been communicating with the one or two people at your chosen mold maker who can write a sales email in English and who has decent oral English skills. They are not trained in manufacturing, are very young, and are severely lacking in experience. They were hired solely to make sales calls in English to close deals. Once they have closed the order with you this is where effective communication often ends.
Now, if your drawings, engineering, and production goals are crystal clear perfect and you have a simple mold, like say a jello mold in the shape of Wyoming you will probably do OK. But, if you need to talk engineering, mold making or anything injection mold related with the factory you will find it very hard to get answers on anything because your point person at the factory doesn’t really know what you are asking and therefore cannot be an effective translator with the rest of his or her team. Learn more here on communication issues in China.
The Jade Way: Our Western mold building team lives in China, are highly trained in mold making with decades of experience, speak native English, and are fluent in Chinese. We simply don’t have communication issues.
“Engineering and support not what I expected. That’s OK, it will still be good.”
At this point you are now starting to have that feeling in the pit of your stomach and trying to convince yourself that it will be OK in the end. This is the natural progression for a typical offshore mold building story. You may not be there in your head yet, but you are likely going to have to pay significant monetary costs on the back end.
Engineering issues are part communication issues (language) and part engineering and manufacturing philosophies not being compatible with how you think, design, and work. At the end of the day the vast majority of China injection mold makers build molds that are more closely aligned with the China injection molding process, which is not anywhere close to how you will run your mold back at your shop. This point is too deep to dive into here, check this blog out to learn more.
The Jade Way: Our engineers are Western engineers who take a measured approach on the front end for every project that helps to ensure molds are actually built quicker and delivered quicker by eliminating back end issues. We combine our experience with engineering software technology tools like DFMPro and Moldex3D to enhance our engineering, design, and mold building capabilities. Our Western trained engineers are based in the USA, and China.
“Sample parts seem OK but details are lacking. This mold better be good.”
Now you are worried, something is not adding up. You have the sample parts from your mold, they are not perfect, but they are OK. You might even be thinking that you can improve on the quality of these parts when you receive your mold. The real problem though is that these sample parts came to you with zero details on the production parameters used to produce these parts.
So what are we talking about here? Let’s say your mold needs a fill time of 2 seconds and a complete cycle time of 12 seconds to make this mold a profitable production mold in your shop. That is fine, that is reasonable, that may be your expectation. But the mold trial run in China that delivered the sample parts to you may have taken 15 seconds to fill and 48 seconds for a complete cycle. Why? The short answer is that a typical China mold maker does not address and fix mold deficiencies in the mold, instead they correct deficiencies in the production process by programming their presses in a way that you would never ever dream of doing. Learn more about this here.
The Jade Way: We not only build molds to accepted Western quality standards but we design molds with your exact production needs in mind. Early mold design review with a specific detailed look at what your end-use goals are for this mold. Cycle time needed. Press tonnage. Clamp force. All of it. Injection molds built offshore need to be built with your end-use production needs in mind. And this has to be discussed up front, early in the design process, before mold steel is cut. This can’t be an afterthought.
“Ship it, everything should work out. Please just be close to good.”
Now your back is up against the wall. Deadline is looming. Out of options. Hope and prayer time.
- Even if you have travelled to China to watch your mold trial and to do the final mold inspection in person and the mold is still not living up to your expectations you may have to ship anyway and fix in the USA. Why? Because now you don’t trust your injection mold makers ability to correct the deficiencies. At this point your initial “great price” just got confirmed as something really expensive
- Or, you didn’t travel to China and still believe it will be OK, somehow, even with all the warning signs. At least in option 1 you know the score and have a chance to ease your boss into the reality of the situation before you mold arrives in the West.
The Jade Way: Mold trials are run by our Western mold building teams. Simple things like ensuring water lines are hooked up so the mold runs at temp and that the right cycle times are being hit, these are examples of small points that are all being executed correctly. These might seem like trivial points to Westerners but the reality is mold trials for a typical China injection mold maker is seen as a nuisance. Get it done fast, get the project over the line, get the client to sign off, get paid. We don’t think that way at Jade. The mold trial is the proof of it all and our chance to easily fix any deficiencies in our facility before we ship. Mold trials must be run correctly so that when you receive the mold you can run the mold well right out of the shipping crate.
“Mold trial run in your factory…what the hell? Uh oh, this is not good.”
Now you are trying to replicate the (OK) sample parts received from China and you can’t get close running your mold at speed in your factory. This is the culmination of all the talking points above and a very typical result when mold suppliers are not qualified properly.
“Great price”? More like good grief at this stage.
The Jade Way: Our goal is always to have offshore molds delivered to your factory that you can run well right out of the shipping crate based on the agreed upon press parameters we both signed off on. Your mold should run the same way that we trialed it in our factory in China. Accountability through performance an great communication throughout the entire process with a crucial focus on the mold trial.
“For a better China mold building experience…try the Jade way”
The Jade Way: We take a different approach to injection mold building in China, geared to address your highly specific and unique injection molding production needs. Our entire business model is based on providing Western injection molders with Western quality molds at China level pricing so that you can compete with and beat China on injection molding jobs.
“Western mold builders living in China”
The Jade Way: This simple phrase is the foundation of how we operate. Our injection mold building teams lives in China. Our teams work in our own Western run mold building and injection mold production facility. We don’t just fly back and forth. We don’t just outsource and manage projects. We build in our factory with our own Western team to ensure we can hands-on micro manage each critical part of each mold build. That is a big part of the Jade way of injection mold building.
Not all offshore injection mold makers are as bad as described above but it is fair to say that a large majority of China injection mold makers operate this way. If you get tempted with a hot price and don’t properly qualify the details of your quote then they got ya. Once they have you the mold quality in the end is highly likely to directly reflect the unrealistic “great price” you were quoted.
For a different offshore injection mold making experience, try the Jade way. Western quality at China level pricing – info@JadeMolds.com for a free consult.
For daily insights on injection mold building and how to qualify a China supplier follow us on LinkedIn – YouTube – Facebook.
Jade Group International (Jade Molds), focuses on manufacturing and delivering Western quality injection molds (tooling) at China level pricing so that Western injection molders can compete with and win injection mold production jobs over their China competitors. How? Western methodology and efficiencies which starts with Western engineers using first-in-class tools like DFMPro and Moldex3D to fully qualify each part and mold design before projects are passed over to Western engineers and mold builders living in China. Our hands-on approach in Jade’s Western owned China factory includes Westerners building molds, Westerners who QC molds, and Westerners who trial each mold. JadeMolds.com 100% goal is to deliver great molds that will run well and at speed in your factory back home, right out of the shipping crate. All at China level pricing. Plus, native English, Spanish, Portuguese, or Chinese communication with Jade at every stage of your project. Try the Jade way today – email@example.com