What is the Injection Molded Prototype？
The injection molded prototypes are generally defined as several hundred to a thousand pieces of parts with the help of the single cavity tooling of low cost.
It is designed to prove the design of the product or the molding structure will work.
The injection molded prototypes consist of toolings that are not as solid and superior as the final product.
These tooling are often created from aluminum or softer steel so as to reduce both the material costs and the labor force to produce the tooling. Obviously, these tools are not designed for parts of high quality.
Some structure of the injection molded prototypes are even manipulated directly by hand, greatly reducing costs.
This has a distinct advantage over mass production.
To reduce the cost and the labor force, robots are usually used in the mass production to produce the tool. But, with the injection molded prototypes, it is quicker and cheaper to eject a few hundred parts from a tool by hand than to spend time and money on automating a robot.
Application of the Injection Molded Prototypes
Sometimes making injection molded prototypes isn’t necessary and is more common in some industries than others. For example, industries with tight timelines and/or those who conduct production offshore rarely take this step anymore. Nonetheless, some industries find this step vital before they market a product.
Here are some occasions in which an injection molded prototypes is of importance.
• A product should be produced in very large quantities. If that is the case, before investing in expensive multi-cavity toolings, you should make sure that the engineering is sound and that the product works as expected in its production materials.
• The consumer research is required. It that is the case, you should do injection molded prototypes. By doing so, your consumer research can be more compelling. Because the product you give your consumer researchers is as close as possible to the final product after several adjustments. The manufacturing of several hundred injections molded prototypes enables you to do a very accurate consumer test and also to make changes based on their requirements before mass production.
• A significant amount of testing before a product can be released to consumers. If you want to test a prototype that is as close as possible to the final product, the materials and production method should be identical. If the product is very complicated, you should mimic the injection-molded prototype to assemble and to slightly adjust the assembly process before the mass production.
• You want to show your distributors a final product so they know exactly what they’re buying. Customers often won’t make a purchasing decision on the basis of a sketch, so an injection molded prototype will be conducive to prove your product’s validity and solidify sales.
Price of the Injection Molded Prototypes
A simple injection molded prototype starts at around $3,000, but the exact number will be determined by the part size, complexity, material, quantity, and number of cavities in the molding.
The mold and the prototypes are typically produced simultaneously with the fixed costs. Unlike the mass production, however, changes both in colors or materials will have a significant effect on the cost. That’s because it takes longer than the short amount of time it takes to produce hundreds of parts.