Demystifying The Cost of Injection Molding: Considerations

Table of Contents

Cost is one of the most important considerations for any business, especially in the manufacturing sector where huge investments are often required. The cost of injection molding manufacturing is a significant factor that hugely determines the feasibility of a journey into the plastic production world. 

plastic prototype

However, several factors and considerations help to accurately estimate what it will cost, including machinery, skilled personnel, molds, and many others. But not to worry, this article dives deeper into all the critical evaluations you should know about when doing cost feasibility studies for injection molding projects. 

These costs aren’t just numbers, they are like blocks – they come together to shape the final price of the product. After reading this guide you’ll understand the why behind the digits and discover the magic of cost optimization.

So, if you’re ready, then let’s go. 

injection molding equipment

1. Understanding the Components of Injection Molding Costs

Understanding the components that make up the cost of injection molding processes is often the natural point of call when evaluating contributing factors to the cost of injection molding. Here we break down all those components for a better understanding of their cost impact. 

1.1 Material Costs

It is usually not surprising that material cost often takes a huge chunk of the cost of most manufacturing including plating injection molding. What is unique about injection molding is that the materials can b be different depending on the specific injection molding technique you wish to use. 

It’s like getting ingredients to bake a cake – the type of flour you choose affects the cost and taste. Same with plastic injection molding, their cost varies based on the type of resin used. It’s like picking between premium and regular flour, each impacting the outcome and the cost. 

And just like flour prices can change, material costs in injection molding can fluctuate too further affecting the overall cost.

1.2 Tooling and Mold Costs

Equipment and mold costs are two critical considerations that impact plastic manufacturing costs significantly. Again, the cost of these two implements depends on the ‘flavor’ of injection molding as well as the complexity of the design. 

The molds are the tools that shape the final product. But like building a spaceship with so many details and features, the sophistication of the tools required will be more compared to molding a toy plane. In the same way, molding a complex part design requires a sophisticated mold.

And like assembling the spaceship, high-quality mold manufacturing involves design, manufacturing, and maintenance, all contributing to the cost.

1.3 Labor Costs

Personnel is the small wheel that drives the big wheel of plastic injection molding manufacturing for without then nothing can go on. However, the level of skill required for these personnel, including unskilled and highly skilled significantly contributes to the overall cost of injection molding. Just like a conductor leading an orchestra, bringing different instruments together to create a symphony. Injection molding personnel blend material, machine, and human touch. 

Skilled labor is like the conductor, making sure every part of the process is in tune. Just as a conductor ensures perfect harmony in music, skilled labor ensures the injection molding process is smooth and precise, while impacting the overall cost.

In injection molding, skilled technicians set up the machines, adjust the settings, and troubleshoot any issues. Just as a journey’s success relies on your navigation skills, the success of injection molding depends on the skills of the technicians, which is a sizable contributor to the final cost.

plastic molded parts

2. Volume and Production Scale

Considering the volume of production is highly dependent on the available funds at any given time. Determining the scale of production for injection molding manufacturing will require a careful examination of the cost involved and the returns possible with different scales of production. 

2.1 Economies of Scale

Economies of scale are often a crucial assessment for most manufacturers across several industries. In the high-quality mold manufacturing industry and in plastic production, the scale of production often hugely affects the overall cost of production. The reason is obvious. More volume requires more materials, machinery, and personnel all with their individual and collective costs. However, the good thing is you save more per product if you produce on a larger scale. 

This is because the costs associated with setting up the machines and molds get distributed over a larger number of parts. It’s like throwing a big party – the more guests you have, the lower the cost per person. Also, partners like raw material suppliers often give discounts when purchasing more volume. It’s all about turnover as they can do more business in a short period of time, which increases their bottom line. 

Imagine you’re baking cookies for a party – the more you bake, the less each cookie costs. Injection molding works in a similar way. It’s like a magic trick where producing more parts can make each part cheaper. 

2.2 Low-Volume Production Considerations

With the benefits of manufacturing high-volume plastic injection molding, it is normal that not every plastic manufacturer can do high-volume production. Hence, it is necessary to consider the impact of low-volume production on the overall cost of injection molding. 

Think of low-volume production as crafting a delicate piece of jewelry – it requires attention to detail and careful handling. In injection molding, low-volume production is a bit like that – it demands precision and focus.

But here is the thing, making fewer parts in injection molding costs more per part. It’s like baking a small batch of cookies – the effort you put into each cookie increases the overall cost. 

Also, the complexity of the injection molding method employed can substantially increase the level of detail required, further increasing the total cost. For instance, using gas-assisted injection molding as against traditional injection molding can drive the details and consequently the cost up. 

That’s why low-volume injection molding is ideal for crafting custom parts that meet specific requirements. It’s like having a suit that fits you perfectly – the attention to detail and customization can justify the slightly higher cost per part.

In the end, whether it’s high-volume or low-volume, injection molding offers flexibility to cater to your needs. It’s like having both a grand banquet and an intimate dinner – each has its benefits, and the key is choosing the right one for your project.

plastic prototype design

3. Complexity of Part Design

3.1 Design Complexity and Tooling

With the range of factors already discussed, none can be more unpredictable and technical than the complexity of part design. This unpredictability also requires that cost estimators pay more attention to this area to ensure that it doesn’t make the cost more exorbitant. In reality, the more complex the design part is, the more manufacturers pay for production. 

From prototyping with innovations like 3D printing technology to final development, manufacturers may incur so much that it becomes discouraging to continue production. For instance, the more intricate the design, the more complex the mold. It’s like creating a puzzle with intricate details – each piece adds to the complexity and the cost. 

It is befitting for manufacturers to check the design features that may require more details in production to be able to effectively estimate the cost. Just as a challenging puzzle takes more time to complete, a complex part feature may require a more intricate mold, impacting the overall cost. 

The tooling for complex design can also add a substantial amount to the final cost considering that advanced equipment is often required to achieve these design features. It can be compared to constructing a skyscraper where every beam needs to be precisely positioned. Injection molding in similar ways requires part dimensions and tight tolerances require careful attention. 

Like crafting a masterpiece – every detail matters, and achieving perfection might involve additional steps and resources, which can influence the cost.

3.2 Part Quality and Tolerances

The level of quality and tolerances requirements for the plastic part is also a critical consideration in evaluating the cost of injection molding manufacturing. To achieve these tolerances, especially where quality requirements are high, plastic manufacturers often incur more costs. This cost can come in the form of tooling, quality testing, and equipment calibration. They all add up to make a huge impact on the cost. 

In the same way building a bridge where each part needs to hold its weight can impact the cost of the project, and so also does part quality in injection molding. Like the load-bearing components – they need to meet tight tolerances to perform perfectly. 

Just as a skilled artist creates a masterpiece with attention to detail, precision tooling and additional post-processing steps are required to achieve the desired quality, which can impact the final cost.

So, it doesn’t matter if it’s a complex design or tight tolerances, injection molding offers the ability to meet specific bespoke design requirements. Nevertheless, the attention to detail ensures excellence, even if it requires a bit more effort and investment.

injection molding machine

4. Material and Production Efficiency

4.1 Material Waste and Recycling

In pre-production, factors like materials, equipment, and design all feature prominently in the cost of injection molding. However, production and post-production factors like materials wastage and production efficiency are also critical to determining the cost of plastic injection molding. More like minimizing the chips that fall off when sculpting a masterpiece or a high-quality CNC Machining procedure. 

While you cannot avoid wastage, taking steps to reduce it to the barest minimum is essential to saving costs. 

Nevertheless, exploring advanced methods and equipment that minimize wastage is one way to go about it. While this sophisticated equipment might have a significant initial purchase cost, the long-term savings in wastage reduction might bring down the overall cost. 

Again, exploring eco-friendly techniques that support recycling is another consideration as the cost of recycling production waste material can substantially reduce the cost of injection molding. 

It’s akin to managing a garden, where you design the watering system for reusing water to keep your plants happy. Injection molding, too, can recycle materials for multiple uses and sustainably, contributing to cost-effective production.

4.2 Process Optimization and Cycle Time

The cycle time in production is never overlooked when it comes to cost savings and estimating manufacturing costs. It’s no accident that manufacturers even for injection molding often seek techniques and machinery that reduce the cycle times for production. It is simple. 

The more time you spend producing a batch of plastic products, the more money it will cost, especially in machine time. Hence, process optimization where parameters like temperature, speed of injection, and pressure are often set to achieve a quality production very quickly. 

Just as a streamlined recipe cuts down baking time, optimizing the injection molding process reduces cycle time, leading to faster production and potentially lower costs.

complex plastic part assembly

5. Supplier Selection and Cost Comparison

5.1 Choosing the Right Supplier

The individuals and organizations that partner with you as an injection molding manufacturer are key to saving significantly in production. When it comes to injection molding, choosing the right supplier is like finding the perfect partner for your project. 

There are so many benefits you’ll get from finding an experienced and reliable supplier, including valuable insights, and optimized processes all of which contribute to cost-effective production.

However, there are some factors that you should carefully consider when choosing a suitable partner, especially one that will reduce your cost. 

A supplier’s years of experience in the industry supplying materials and equipment to injection molding producers is a key indication of expertise. This often results in optimized manufacturing from tested and proven methods over the years. 

The level of sophistication of their equipment also strongly indicates their level of efficiency which will invariably rub off on you should you choose to partner with such a supplier. 

Again, the feedback from their past customers can give you a heads-up concerning their level of expertise. Even though it’s nearly impossible to get positive feedback from all customers, getting more positives than negatives shows they are doing something right. This is especially true if the total sample size from which the feedback was gotten is high.  

These criteria can help you quickly select a suitable partner that will improve your productivity and reduce your costs. However, other criteria like effective customer service, prompt technical support, and a fast turnaround time are also good indications you are partnering with the right supplier. 

In injection molding, different suppliers offer different capabilities and expertise. It’s like forming a squad of fantastic individuals – each member contributes their unique strengths, and choosing the right supplier can be the key to overcoming challenges and achieving cost efficiency.

5.2 Cost-Benefit Analysis

While exploring the components of injection molding to find ways of reducing the cost of production, certain features of the process might be critical and unavoidable. Weighing the benefits of such factors against their cost may be the best to determine their necessity for the overall success of the injection molding process. It’s like planning a vacation while considering all the aspects including cost, destination, and experience. Injection molding decisions are kind of the same. It’s about weighing the costs against the benefits. When evaluating injection molding costs, it’s essential to consider factors beyond the dollar signs. Considerations such as time-to-market after production, product quality with a given technique or pricey equipment, and long-term benefits should be the priority. 

In injection molding, making decisions involves strategic thinking. It’s like plotting the course for a treasure hunt – each choice you make affects the outcome. A thorough cost-benefit analysis helps you make informed decisions, ensuring that you navigate the injection molding journey effectively and efficiently.


Finally, after all is said and done, the cost of injection molding should never be taken lightly, especially given the many factors and combinations of components that make up the decision tree. 

Considering the intricate details that contribute to the cost of injection molding, including design complexities, materials, labor, and production scale will help you make an informed estimate. Just as a puzzle’s completion relies on each piece fitting perfectly, cost optimization requires a careful balance of these factors.

Ultimately the benefits of a cost component might well outweigh the cost implication. Hence, carefully weighing the benefits against the cost is often a good practice in injection molding cost evaluation.  By understanding these factors and making informed choices, you have the power to conduct a masterpiece of cost-effective and successful injection molding processes.


Gary Liao

Gary Liao

Gary Liao is the Engineering Manager of TDL Company and has more than 20 years of mold design experience.

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