Low volume injection molding, or LVI, is a relatively new and increasingly popular injection molding method. It maintains the benefits and advantages of traditional injection molding, but it is much more cost-effective for low to medium production volumes. In this article, you will discover five benefits of low-volume injection molding.
Several fundamental differences in the production process of LVI enable lower overall per-unit costs. The first difference lies in the type and amount of machine tooling required to perform injection molding. Because the production volumes are low, CNC machine tools are unnecessary for LVI, which reduces overall costs associated with the machinery. Essentially, all that is needed is a standard injection molding machine with a screw and a cavity. A second difference lies in the materials used for injection molding. In traditional injection molding, high-quality steel is used. For LVI, this is not necessary. Polycarbonate and nylon are two of the most commonly used materials in low volume injection molding. Both plastics are low cost and can be used to manufacture a wide variety of products that would normally be made of metal or other non-plastic materials, thus increasing the number of possible applications for LVI.
Lead time measures the amount of time from the beginning of a process to the end. Injection molding is no different. It takes longer to produce an injection molded part than it does to make something another way. Normally, injection molded parts have a much greater lead time than traditional ones, but if you intend to produce low-volume products, this could become an issue. Traditionally, injection molding can have lead times as long as 4 weeks. For LVI, lead times are much lower and measured in days or even hours. This is possible because the entire process from preparation to the final injection molded part can be completed within hours, not weeks.
Low volume injection molding has another benefit that stems from its reduced production time: increased flexibility. Because the production time of LVI is much shorter than traditional injection molding, changes to product specifications can be made more easily. A more extreme example would be a change to a product already in the middle of production. Production could stop, and the part could be molded with updated specifications. In traditional injection molding, where production lead time is significantly longer, changes to specifications would not work due to their impact on overall costs.
Low volume injection molding allows for a reduced investment on the part of producers. A smaller initial investment is required to take advantage of this method, and the lower cost of entry can significantly impact individual companies. For example, if you are trying to start your own small business, this could be a great way to get started quickly and cheaply. The lower overall investment makes it easier to turn a profit and make money from your small business without putting too much of yourself into it.
In traditional injection molding, the production volumes are high, and the investment in machinery is significant. Because of this, producers tend to focus on high-volume products with very low margins as they help cover higher production costs. Injection-molded parts are often used in high-volume applications like automobiles or other large machinery, making sense. Low volume injection molded products can have much higher profit margins because the manufacturing cost is much lower, and therefore they can be sold for more money. However, keep in mind that higher profit margins generally result in higher competition. If you are producing a specific product, you may want to consider a lower profit margin to discourage competition.
Injection molding is a great method of producing parts because it offers low costs and high flexibility. However, if you are trying to produce low volumes of injection molded products, this method could become a problem as it can be significantly more expensive than traditional methods. Low volume injection molding offers many benefits, but the primary one is cost savings for smaller production volumes.
In conclusion, LVI is a great option for small businesses, product creators, and manufacturers. It’s not that complicated and a lot cheaper to produce molds, so it’s most certainly recommended to use.