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Introduction to: How to Build High Quality Molds in China

Part 1 of 6 in the “How to Build Quality Molds in China” Series

Written by Greg Pugh, Project Engineer for GSM

_MG_5548One of the most common expressions in life is “you get what you pay for”. We have all found this to be true at certain times and in certain situations. We can all most likely point to times when we got a real bargain in the marketplace and to times when we feel like we got snookered. A couple of quick examples out of my own life come to mind. I once bought a used Go-Kart for my son when he was 10 years old from an individual who lived within a couple of miles of my home in North Carolina. His kids rode it around for a few minutes to show me how well it worked and how much fun they had. It was a bargain, I thought, and it was within my budget. Well, when I gave it to my son and he started riding it around our property, I noticed that after a few minutes, it started smoking profusely and then cut off and wouldn’t start again until it had plenty of time to cool down. The bargain turned into the worst gift I’ve ever given. A Go Kart that couldn’t be used for more than about 5 minutes at a crack.

Another instance was when my wife and I were vacationing in Florida many years ago and saw an ad for free tickets to Disney. It turned out that the free tickets only came after a 2 hour high-pressure sales meeting for time-share properties. Some things you get burned on you vow to never do again. So it goes with used Go-Karts and free Disney tickets.

American mold builders often say that “you get what you pay for” when you buy offshore molds. I’ve spent all of my career in the injection molding industry, working in the areas of tooling, process, product and project development. I’ve had to live with a few horror stories where the customer sends a mold in for you to make parts and brags about how little he paid for it. One such mold was so poorly designed and built that a part that should have run at a 60 second cycle made a part every 12 minutes for only a few shots. The mold was like that Go-Kart. It would overheat and need a cooling-off period after just a few parts were produced.

Is it possible to get high quality tooling at a cost-savings by having them built in Asia? GSM and our customers will tell you that the answer to that questions is a resounding “Yes!” First, GSM would ask you to consider the source before you go building your molds in Asia. Before I came to work with GSM, I was a customer of GSM. I was also travelling to China on a regular basis with very large tooling direct builds. I decided to come to work for GSM because I was impressed with their people and their results. Now that I’ve been on board for just over a year, I can say that we at GSM believe so strongly in the quality of the tooling that we are building in Asia that we stand behind what we build. Our US mold building capability and expertise allows us to service any mold that we build in Asia. We also build molds directly in the US and build hybrid molds producing detail components in China to stay cost-competitive.

There are at least four key elements in building high quality tooling in Asia (or anywhere, for that matter).

  1. Part Design
  2. Materials
  3. Mold Designs
  4. Mold Debug and Process Development
  5. Service After Sale

In future newsletters, I’ll expand on each of these 5 elements as we explore this process together.

 

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