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Plastic Injection Mold Manufacturing Since 2005

ZetarMold is a top-end turnkey plastic injection mold manufacturer. Focus on plastic injection mold manufacturing since 2005

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How We Works

Get Your Request

Get your detailed requirements for injection mold manufacturing, including mold materials, mold life, number of mold cavities, runner requirements, and surface treatment requirements

Confirm DFM Report

Our engineering team begins to conduct mold flow analysis and provides DFM ( Design for Manufacturing) report according to your detailed requirements and confirms all details with you

Mold Deisgn

Our engineering team make a 3D drawing design of the injection mold based on the confirmed DFM report, including all details of the mold and confirm the mold design drawings with you

Mold Final Acceptance

After the final sample is confirmed, we start the final acceptance of the injection mold. If it is an export mold, we need to do the final injection mold packaging. If the mold is ready for mass production in our factory, we prepare the production materials.

Mold Assembly & Testing

After the injection mold is made, we start fitting the injection mold, assembling the injection mold and testing the injection mold. We repeat this work until the product is tested and meets your requirements, and then we send you some samples for confirmation.

Injection Mold Manufacturing

Based on the confirmed mold drawings, export the 2D drawings with the key dimensions and tolerance requirements, and then our plastic injection mold makers start injection mold manufacturing and tolerance inspection of each processing step

Why Choose Zetar

Zetar stands out as a premier, all-inclusive injection mold inc, having consistently achieved the ISO 9001, ISO 13485, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001 certifications, demonstrating our commitment to top-tier quality, health, environmental, and safety standards. Since our inception in 2005, our focus has been on manufacturing plastic injection molds. 

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Injection Mold Solutions

Discover the Ideal Mold Steel for Your Injection Molding Project: Achieve Excellence with Optimal Solutions

Resources for Injection Mold Steel

What are Plastic Mould Steels?

Plastic mold steels, also called mold steels or tool steels, are a type of steel alloy made for use in making plastic injection molds. These steels are designed to handle the high temperatures, pressures, and corrosive conditions that come with the plastic injection molding process.

What are the Primary Characteristics of Plastic Mould Steels?

High hardness:

To resist wear and tear, and maintain the mold's shape and surface finish.

High thermal conductivity:

To efficiently dissipate heat generated during the molding process, reducing the risk of thermal shock and warping.

High corrosion resistance:

To resist the corrosive effects of plastics, mold release agents, and cleaning chemicals.

Low thermal expansion:

To minimize warping and distortion of the mold due to temperature changes.

What Factors Should Be Considered When Selecting Injection Mold Steel

Mold size and complexity

Production volume and expected lifespan

Type of plastic being molded

Desired surface finish and accuracy

Budget and cost considerations

What Type of Steel is Used for Molds?

When it comes to injection mold materials that don’t have any abrasives like glass fibers or corrosive ingredients, P-20 Steel is the most popular mold steel for plastic injection mold, because it has good wear resistance and it’s reasonably priced.

There are some common plastic mold steels used in the plastics industry. They all have different properties and uses. Here are some of the most common ones:

Mold Steel Hardness Property Application Suitable Plastic Materials
S50C 19~22HRC Medium carbon steel is known for its excellent wear resistance, but it has reduced ductility. Mold base, Trial molds and small batch injection molds Making molds for PP, PE, ABS plastics, rubber, soft plastic material
P20 30~36HRC It has good machinability and can be ground to a mirror finish. Plastic injection mold, extrusion mold, blow mold Making molds for PP, PE, ABS, PS, PA plastics, rubber, soft plastic material
2738 29~33HRC It has excellent processing and polishing performance. Plastic molds that require certain polishability Molds requiring high smoothness for PP, PE, ABS, PS, PA Plastic Material
718H 34~38HRC It is a pre-hardened plastic mold steel with exceptional polishing properties. Plastic product molds with high surface finish; blow molds Plastic molds with mirror polishing requirements, suitable for PA, POM, PS, PE, PP, ABS, PBT plastics
NAK80 37~43HRC It is a pre-hardened plastic mold steel that is good for polishing and carving. Mirror polished mold, transparent product mold Plastic molds with mirror polishing requirements, transparent product, suitable for PC, PMMA plastics
2083 48~52HRC It has good corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and cutting properties. Injection molds for corrosive plastic materials Production of molds for POM and PVC plastic materials
2344 48~52HRC It is a hot-working die steel that has excellent polishing performance, high toughness, and good ductility. It also has good heat resistance. Die casting mold, extrusion mold, injection mold Production of molds for PA+GF, PA+CF plastic materials
H13 50~54HRC It is a hot-working die steel with good wear resistance and good heat resistance. Mold of forging dies with large impact loads, hot extrusion dies, precision forging dies; die-casting, injection mold Mold for high temperatures like PAI,PEEK, LCP, PPSU, PEI, PTFE plastic material
S136 48~54HRC It has great polishing performance and is highly resistant to acid. Suitable for various plastic product molds, Injection molds for corrosive plastic materials Mold for high temperatures like PAI,PEEK, LCP, PPSU, PEI, PTFE plastic material,Production of molds for POM and PVC plastic materials,mirror polishing requirements, transparent product, suitable for PC, PMMA plastics

These are only a few examples of the many plastic mold steels available. The choice of steel alloy often depends on the specific application, the type of plastic being molded, and the desired properties of the mold.

 

Which Tool Steel is Right for a Plastic Injection Mold?

Deciding which tool steel to use for a plastic injection mold depends on several factors, including: the kind of plastic being used, the mold design, the expected volume of production, the desired properties of the final product.

The Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) classifies mold tooling into five different groups, ranging from Class 101 to Class 105. Each class has its own specifications and requirements and is generally determined by the volume of production.

SPI Mold Classifications: 5 Injection Mold Standards

Standards Lifetime Cycles Production level Steel Hardness Wear Resistance Thermal Conductivity Cavity Steel
Class 101 1 million or more Extremely high-volume 50~54 HRC Very High High S7,H13
Class 102 Not exceeding 1 million High-Volume 48~52 HRC High Moderate S136, 2344
Class 103 Not exceeding 500,000 Medium Volume 38~42 HRC Moderate Moderate 2738, 718, 718H, NAK80
Class 104 Not exceeding 100,000 Low-Volume 15~25 HRC Low Low S50C, P20
Class 105 Not exceeding 500 Very low Below 15 HRC Very low Very low Aluminum

Here's a breakdown of each class

Class 101: This is the biggest category. It’s often used for massive production runs. The molds are built to endure big volumes and are commonly used in mass production.

Class 102: This is for medium to big production runs. It’s built to be tougher and resist corrosion, so it can handle runs that are not as big as Class 101.

Class 103: This is for medium production runs. It’s built to be more accurate, so it can handle runs that require really good parts.

Class 104: This is for low to mid-sized production runs. It’s built to be versatile, so it can handle runs that require options and alternatives.

Class 105: This is for lowest production runs. It’s built to be option-friendly, so it can handle small runs or making models.

Note that the SPI system isn’t a firm classification, and some molds might cross over between categories. Also, which mold you pick relies on what you need, like what kind of plastic you want to make, what your mold design is, and how many you expect to make.

What are the design requirements for each SPI mold classification?

CLASS 101 MOLD

  • Detailed mold structure drawing is required.
  • The mold base must be at least 28 HRC.
  • The molding surfaces (cavities and cores) need to be at least 52 HRC. All the other stuff, like way more inserts and sliders and blocker bits and gizmos and thingies, needs to be hardened too, of course.
  • Ejection should be guided.
  • If there are sliders, they should have wear bits too.
  • All molds need to be locked together at the parting line.
  • Put temperature controls in the cavities, cores and slides as much as you can.

Over time, the water in the cooling channels can cause rust, which makes the mold not work as well, which makes the parts not as good, which makes it take longer to make them. So, it’s best to make the plates or inserts that have water in them out of stuff that doesn’t rust or do something to stop them from rusting.

CLASS 102 MOLD

  • Detailed mold structure drawing is required.
  • The mold base needs to be at least 28 HRC.
  • The parts that touch the plastic need to be at least 48 HRC. Everything else that needs to work needs to be made and heat treated.
  • Put the temperature controllers right in the parts that touch the plastic as much as you can.
  • Put locks in all molds if you can.

CLASS 103 MOLD

  • Detailed mold structure drawing is required.
  • Mold base must be a minimum hardness of 15HRC.
  • Cavity and cores must be 38HRC or higher.
  • All other extras are optional.

CLASS 104 MOLD

  • Mold structure drawing is required.
  • Mold base can be of mild steel.
  • Cavity and cores can be 15HRC or higher.

CLASS 105 MOLD

  • This mold will be constructed in the least expensive manner possible to produce a very limited quantity of prototype parts.
  • Molds may be constructed from cast metal or epoxy or any other material offering sufficient strength to produce minimum prototype pieces.

Injection Mold Price

Unlock High-Performance, Cost-Effective Solutions for Your Injection Molds

How Much Does It Cost to Have an Injection Mold Made?

A simple, one-cavity mold for low-volume production might cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000. On the other hand, molds for larger, more complicated parts can cost $10,000 or more. On average, a standard mold that makes a pretty simple part that fits in your hand costs about $5,000. It’s important to know these numbers because it shows how important it is to plan carefully and optimize your design early in the process.

What factors will affect the cost of injection molds?

The cost of molds ranges from $1,000 to over $10,000, depending on a variety of factors. Some of the factors that can influence the cost of having an injection mold made include:

Mold size and complexity

Mold steel material selection

Mold design

Production volume

Location and supplier

Additional features

  • Mold size and complexity: Larger and more complex molds require more material and labor, increasing the cost.
  • Mold steel material selection: The type and quality of the mold material can impact the cost. For example, high-quality steel molds are typically more expensive than mild steel,  aluminum or other materials.
  • Mold design: The design of the mold, including the number of cavities, gate locations, and ejector pin placement, can affect the cost.
  • Production Volume: The molds that are designed for high-volume production are more robust. They are designed to endure extensive wear and tear, which means that they involve higher initial costs. However, those higher costs are offset over time by the lower per-part costs.
  • Location and supplier: The cost of mold production can vary a lot depending on where you are. For example, molds made in China are often cheaper than molds made in the US or Europe. That’s because labor and materials cost less in China.
  • Additional features: Features like hot runners, temperature control, and automation can increase the cost.

By providing accurate information and working with a reputable supplier, you can get a more accurate estimate for the cost of your injection mold.

How to Get an Accurate Injection Mold Quote?

To get an accurate injection mold quote, follow these steps:

    1.Provide detailed specifications:

    • Tell the supplier what it looks like, how big it is, what it’s made of, and what it does.
    • Tell the suplier  how many you want and when you need them. schedule.

   2. Clearly define the mold requirements:

    • What kind of mold do you want? Harden Steel, Mild steel?
    • What kind of finish do you want? Polished, brushed, anodized?
    • Are there any special things you want, like cooling channels or ejector pins?

   3. Provide accurate production volume and schedule:

    • Tell the manufacturer how much you plan to produce and when so they can estimate how long the mold will last and when it will need maintenance.

   4. Specify the desired mold design:

    • Tell me which design software you use or send the 3D file.
    • If there’s anything specific you want the supplier to keep in mind, like limited space or a certain material you need to use, let the supplier know.

   5. Provide accurate part dimensions and tolerances:

    • Give suppliers the part dimensions, including tolerances, so they can design the mold correctly.

   6. Request a detailed quote:

    • Ask the manufacturer to give you a detailed quote that includes:
      How much it will cost to design and make the mold
      How much it will cost to make the tooling (things like mold inserts, ejector pins, and cooling channels)
      How much it will cost to make the parts (things like labor, materials, and overhead)
      Any other costs (like maintenance, repair, or replacement)

   7. Check the quote:

    • Look over the quote carefully to make sure it has everything you need and costs what you expect.
    • Ask questions if you don’t understand something in the quote.

   8. Ask for a sample or prototype:

    • Ask the manufacturer to give you a sample or prototype to make sure the mold is designed right and the product is what you want.

   9. Negotiate the terms:

    • Go over the quote and discuss the terms, if needed, to make sure we’re on the same page.

   10. Check out the manufacturer:

    • Look into the manufacturer’s reputation and experience in making molds for similar products.
      Make sure they have experience with similar materials, production quantities, and design specifications.

If you want to make sure you get an injection mold quote that’s accurate and meets your needs and budget, follow these steps.

6 information need to ready for an accurate injection mold quote

When requesting an accurate quote, be prepared to provide the following information, The more detailed the information provided, the more accurate the quote will be.

Quotation accuracy Drawing Material Production volume Color Surface Treatment
100% Mold design drawing or Product 3D drawing Exact material and grade, such as Zytel® 70G33L NC010 Exact quantity, such as 500000pcs per year Pantone color card number or RAL color card number VDI Stardand, SPI Standard, MT Stardand YS standards
100% Provide sample Reference sample Exact quantity, such as 500000pcs per year Reference sample Reference sample
90% Sample photos from different angles Only material types are provided,such as ABS plastic material Exact quantity, such as 2000pcs per order Reference sample photos Reference sample photos
80% Design Sketch Exact material and grade, such as Zytel® 70G33L NC010 Exact quantity, such as 1000pcs per order Pantone color card number or RAL color card number VDI Stardand, SPI Standard, MT Stardand YS standards

What is a Reasonable Cost for a Plastic Injection Mold?

The cost of plastic molds can vary a lot. It depends on the complexity of the parts, the size of the molds, the materials used, and the quantity of the parts. In general, a simple mold can cost you $1,000 to $3,000. More complex molds can cost you much more.

If you don’t know this industry well, it’s better to consult a few mold manufacturers. Get a few different quotes, understand the specific cost of your project, and then choose the supplier with a mid-range quote to place an order.

How to choose an injection mold manufacturer?

To choose an injection mold manufacturer, follow these steps:

Step 1: Collate detailed project quotation information

  • Part design and dimensions (2D or 3D CAD files)
  • Material requirements (resin, color, and finish)
  • Desired production volume and lead time
  • Consider any specific certifications or compliance requirements (e.g., FDA, CE, UL).

Step 2: Research potential suppliers and share project information

  • Collect mould makers from different countries in China, South East Asia and India, it is recommended to collect at least 6 mould makers from each country, you can decide according to your own time.
  • Ask the mould factory to sign an NDA agreement before sending the project information to ensure the security of the project.

Step 3: Collate quotations received

  • Quotations received are organised and categorised by country
  • Mould materials, mould cavities, mould sizes may be different in the quotations provided by different suppliers, list the different information and collate a unified standard for all suppliers to update their prices according to the unified standard again.

Step 4: Finalising the decision on the mould supplier

  • Remove the lowest and highest prices from the updated quotations received after the harmonisation of standards.
  • Let the selected mould makers provide factory information, photos, videos, quality certificates and customer references, and based on this information, filter out two to three more qualified mould makers.
  • Check their website, social media, and online reviews.
  • Verify their certifications, such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO45001.
  • If the project is more important, it is recommended to arrange a third party factory inspection or you visit the factory, if the project is not big, choose a mould factory according to your judgement, because arranging a third party factory inspection and you visit the factory need to spend quite a lot of costs and time

Step 5: Signing contracts and arranging orders

  • Determine the terms of payment.
  • Signing contracts and arranging orders

If you follow these steps, I’m sure you can find a reasonable cost for your plastic injection mold project and choose an injection mold manufacturer that meets your specific needs and requirements.

Why are Injection Moulds so Expensive to Make?

Injection molds require meticulous precision and extensive expertise, factors that significantly drive up their cost. From complex design requirements to labor-intensive manufacturing processes, each step in creating an injection mold adds to the overall expense.

What Factors Affect the Cost of an Injection Mold

Injection molds can be expensive to make due to several factors. Here are some reasons why and percentage share:

Factors Detailed description Percentage Share
Mold Material Costs Molds are typically made from high-quality steel, hardened steel, stainless steel aluminum, or other materials, which can be costly. 20%
Design and Development The design and development process requires skilled engineers and designers, which can increase costs. 10%
Manufacturing Process The manufacturing process involves various stages, including machining, grinding, and polishing, which can be time-consuming and expensive. 20%
Labor Costs Skilled labor is required to design, manufacture, and assemble the mold, which can drive up costs. 5%
Testing and Validation Molds require testing and validation to ensure they meet quality and performance standards, which can add to the overall cost. 5%
Complexity Complex molds with intricate designs, multiple cavities, or special features can increase costs due to the additional complexity and time required to manufacture. 20%
Lead Time Rush orders or tight deadlines can result in higher costs due to the need for expedited manufacturing and shipping. 5%
Quality Control Ensuring high-quality molds requires rigorous quality control measures, which can add to the cost. 5%
Profit Margins Mold manufacturers need to make a profit, so they factor in a margin to their prices. 10%

Look at the table above. It shows the different cost parts and percentages that make injection mold so expensive. Find ways to make some of them smaller.

Injection Mold Manufacturing

Turn Concepts into Reality with Expert Mold Manufacturing

How to Source a Plastic Injection Mold Maker in China

If you want to find injection mold manufacturers in China, you should know the main distribution of China’s injection mold industry. China’s injection mold industry is mainly distributed in Guangdong, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian and Hebei. Among them, Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang account for 70% of China’s injection mold industry production capacity.

Here’s a table that shows the regions, characteristics, and proportions of injection mold manufacturer in China.

Regions Quality Price Characteristics Proportions
Guangdong Province High High Guangdong Province is where China’s mold industry started. Injection molds technology is the most advanced there, but of course, the price is also the highest. As injection molds have become more mature, the competitiveness of Guangdong’s molds is gradually weakening. Many injection mold factories have started to shift from doing ODM to doing their own R & D products and have started to sell their products on Amazon and eBay. 10%
Shanghai High Moderate Shanghai has the largest number of large and medium-sized injection mold factories in China, many of which are focused on producing molds for the automotive and electronics industries. Shanghai is also home to many foreign companies, making it an ideal location for businesses that need injection molds for export. 20%
Jiangsu Province High Moderate Jiangsu Province borders Shanghai, and many mold factories were relocated from Shanghai, many of which specialize in producing high-quality molds for electronics, automotive, and medical industries. 25%
Zhejiang Province Moderate Low There are many small and medium-sized injection mold factories in Zhejiang, which mainly make large-scale daily necessities molds, trash can molds, seat molds, etc. with general requirements. 30%
Fujian Province Moderate Low The injection mold industry in Fujian Province started roughly the same as Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang, because there is no large-scale industrial mold industry like Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang. The development of the mold industry is at a relatively slow stage, mainly small and medium-sized injection mold factories, and the quality and price are similar to those in Zhejiang. 10%
Hebei Province Low Low The development of injection molds in Hebei Province also mainly benefits from FAW-Volkswagen and related companies. The injection mold industry has achieved a certain development, but the industry is relatively scattered and not very centralized, which has also led to the injection mold industry's incomplete supporting facilities and slow development. 5%

How to find an injection mold factory

In China, 60% of injection mold factories do B2B online, 30% of injection mold factories have their own official websites and social media platform, and 10% of injection mold factories participate in exhibitions. Here are some common ways to find injection mold factories.

B2B Online directories

  • Alibaba (alibaba.com)
  • Made-in-China (made-in-china.com)
  • Global Sources (globalsources.com)

Google Keyword Search

  • Social Media Platform: To promote themselves, some mold factories will update videos related to the industry on Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin, Quora and other platforms.
  • Company official website: The company’s official website is the most detailed display of the company.

Industry associations and trade shows

  • China Plastics Machinery Industry Association (CPMIA)
  • China International Mould & Tooling Expo (CIMTE)

How to Evaluate Injection Mold Manufacturers

The accuracy and reliability of your injection mold directly affect the quality of your final products. Properly selecting a manufacturer will reduce downtime, maintenance issues, and ensure high-quality outputs that meet your production needs.

Here are some key factors to consider when evaluating injection mold manufacturers:

Pricing and Cost

Compare prices across different manufacturers. Consider factors like material costs, labor rates, and overhead when comparing factories of different sizes. For projects with varying requirements, consider factories of different sizes to get the best value while maintaining quality.

Quality Control

Ask the injection mold manufacturer to give you a list of the quality inspection equipment they use and the quality inspection process they follow. Make sure the manufacturer has good quality control processes in place, including inspection and testing procedures that make sure all molds meet your quality standards.

Experience and Reputation

Check out the manufacturer’s experience in making molds for your industry or similar applications. Look at online reviews, ask for customer references, and verify their reputation through industry associations or trade organizations.

Certifications and Accreditations

Check if the manufacturer has any certifications like ISO 9001, ISO 14001, or ISO 45001. These certifications show that they care about quality and following the rules.

Capacity and Lead Time

You gotta get a list of the injection mold processing equipment that the injection mold factory has. You look at the list, and you see if they have the production capacity to get your molds done when you need them. You gotta check out the manufacturer's capabilities in tooling and machining. You gotta check out their experience with CNC machining, EDM, and other precision machining techniques.

Communication and Collaboration

Evaluate the supplier’s style of communication, how quickly they respond, and their willingness to work with your team. The supplier team should have at least 2 people who can communicate in English and more than 2 engineers. Of course, the more the better, to avoid a situation where there is no one to communicate with or no technical staff to handle your project in a timely manner.

How Long Does it Take to Make a Plastic Mold?

Typically, it takes between 2-8 weeks to produce a plastic mold. This duration depends on factors such as the mold’s complexity, the material being used, and the manufacturer’s capabilities. Simple molds could be ready in as little as 2-3 weeks, while more intricate, large-scale production molds could take up to 8 weeks.

Here is a timetable that shows a mold with a 30-day production cycle. It will tell you how long each step in the process takes so you can understand it better.

Mold Design Mold Steel Accessories Procurement Mold Making Processing and Quality Inspection Hardening and Surface Treatment Fitting & Testing
3 days 3 days 18 days 3 days 3 days

Note that these estimates are general and may vary depending on the specific manufacturer, the complexity of the design, and the materials used. It’s important to talk to the manufacturer about your specific project requirements to get a more accurate estimate of the production time.

Four Key Factors Affecting Plastic Injection Mold Timelines

Mold Design Complexity

The complexity of a plastic mold is perhaps the biggest factor affecting how long it takes to make it. If you have a detailed design with fine features or tight tolerances, you need to be really precise. Every little thing you add to the mold adds steps to the process, from the initial CAD drawings to the final machining and finishing. Not only does it take longer to make a complex mold, but it also takes more skill from the mold makers.

Navigating Through Design Changes

Design changes happen a lot in the development of plastic molds. As you test and evaluate prototypes, you might need to change the mold design to get the product quality you want. Each change takes more time to redesign and machine, so it takes longer to finish everything.

Choosing the Right Materials

What you make the mold out of is a big factor in how long it takes to make it. Harden Steel is great because it lasts forever and can handle a lot of parts, but it’s harder to machine so it takes longer to make. Mild steel is softer so it machines faster, but it doesn’t last as long.

Manufacturer’s Expertise and Capacity

The speed at which a mold can be made depends on the expertise and capacity of the manufacturer. An experienced manufacturer with a strong production line can make molds much faster. They use advanced technologies and efficient workflows that make the entire process from design to completion much faster. On the other hand, smaller shops or those with less experience will take longer, especially if they have operational bottlenecks.

What is the Injection Mold-Making Process?

The whole injection mold making process includes everything from design and prototyping to finishing the mold and getting it ready to hand over to the production department or package and ship to the customer.

In the specific production process, we will use the Mold Process Production Schedule to control the time progress of each step.