The short answer: Plastic injection molds cost anything from $ 100 for a 3D printed low-volume injection mold to more than $ 100,000 for a complex, multi-cavity steel mold for high volume production, with the latter generally being the most significant fixed cost item at the start of injection molding represents. But because that cost is spread across hundreds to thousands of parts, injection molding is an ideal way to mass-produce affordable plastic parts.
In this guide, we provide a detailed breakdown of what the various factors make up the total cost of injection molding.
Introduction: How Much Does Injection Molding Cost?
Injection molding is one of the leading processes for manufacturing plastic parts. It is widely used for the mass production of parts with minimal manufacturing tolerances. It is a cost-effective and extremely reproducible technology for the production of high-quality parts in large series.
It is a fast, intense process in which molten material is injected into a mold under great heat and pressure. The molten material depends on the scope of the manufacturing project. The most popular plastic materials are various thermoplastics such as ABS, PS, PE, PC, PP or TPU, but metals and ceramics can also be injected using injection molding. The mold consists of a cavity suitable for the injected molten material and designed to reflect the final properties of the part.
Typically, mold cost, also known as tooling cost, is the primary cost-increasing factor in injection molding. The cost of designing and creating a mold depends on the volume of production required, the complexity of the part design, the mold material, and the process used to create the mold.
Simple, 3D-printed shapes for low volume production can cost as little as $ 100, while the cost of designing and manufacturing complex shapes for high volume production can reach $ 100,000. Despite the significant fixed costs at the start of production, the injection molding process has low variable costs due to the inexpensive thermoplastic metal materials and short cycles, and the work required is steadily decreasing due to automation and economic scaling. This means that the variable production costs are low and the process becomes more efficient. The cost per part also decreases with higher volumes as the cost is spread across hundreds or thousands of parts.