Frequently Asked Questions
What are moulds made from?
Moulds intended for mass production are constructed using quality tool steel, made to handle the high pressures used during the injection moulding process. Numerous types of steel are available that can be subjected to various heat treatment processes depending on requirements for toughness, wear, longevity, etc.
For prototype moulds, some non-ferrous materials are used successfully, e.g. aluminium, bronze, and other alloys. Whilst the use of these materials can save time and therefore cost in the machining process, their lifespan is limited.
Do you mould PVC?
We do mould some articles in flexible PVC. However, we do not mould unplasticised (rigid) PVC. This material should be processed on moulding machines equipped for the purpose (i.e having different internal components from a standard machine). We therefore leave this to the specialty PVC moulders.
What is the largest article you can mould?
Articles of approximately a quarter of a square metre in area, and up to approximately 2kg in weight, depending on the type of mould and the raw material used.
Do you recycle?
The majority of plastics used in our processing are capable of being recycled, and where possible, we do so. Unfortunately, a few of the ‘high tech’ engineering polymers cannot be used in their recycled form, as some of their properties (e.g. strength, heat resistance and surface finish) may be significantly reduced.
For suitable articles, up to 100% recycled material can be used. This not only helps to reduce the material cost component of the article, but also allows the customer to advertise that the product is made using fully recycled material.
How much does a mould cost, and how long will it last?
The mould cost is of course relative to the type of mould, article size, number of articles in the mould, complexity, surface finish, volume requirement plus other factors, all of which must be taken into account to arrive at a final price. Generally, a small basic mould can cost from as little as $3,000 and up to many tens of thousands of dollars, and even hundreds of thousands for complex or very large moulds, usually with numerous and varied internal moving parts and other features.
The lifespan of a mould naturally depends on its frequency of use. If a mould only has to produce say a thousand articles a year, it should provide good service for many years before requiring an overhaul, if at all. If, however, a mould must produce a million plus articles per year, it may require some refurbishment, or replacement of any components subjected to wear, on perhaps an annual basis.
How long does it take to get a mould made?
The complete process of taking the finished design of a product to production stage can take some months, being relative to the cost of the mould and its features as mentioned above.
The mould design stage may take from 1 to 3 weeks. Time is then required for the actual mould-making stage which can be from 3 weeks to 20 weeks or more. The next stage is trialling the moulds and allowing for any fine adjustments, (particularly where close tolerances or high precision fits are required on articles). This trial stage can also take a number of weeks. When all these stages have been completed, the mould is ready for production.