Call us: 937.242.6165

High Quality Molds Require High Quality Mold Designs

Part 4 of 6 in the “How to Build Quality Molds in China” Series

Written by Greg Pugh, Project Engineer for GSM


Last time, we discussed the need to use high quality materials and components to produce high quality molds in Asia. This time, we’ll address the need for a high quality mold design. You may be thinking: What does the mold design matter if we already have a high quality part design (as discussed in Part 2 of this series)? After all, the end result of a mold is parts, and GSM’s customers are in the business to produce high quality parts and assemblies. Molds are just a necessary tool to be able to meet the end result – high quality parts – aren’t they?

I would suggest that there are ways to make high quality parts that won’t be profitable if you don’t start with a high quality mold design. Can you make a high quality part without proper temperature control designed into the mold? You can, but it will need longer cycles, manual labor, or secondary processes. Even if you have started with a high quality part design and high quality materials, you can still create a nightmare scenario if the mold design is lacking.

In a previous job, my company received an order for molded parts from a customer who was shipping his mold to us from China because the transport cost for the parts was too high. He was also having significant breakage issues in the field which were affecting his product’s reputation in the marketplace. When we received the mold, we saw that what he had was a prototype mold with little cooling. The warranty issues with the parts were a direct result of the lack of cooling in the mold. The design was such that we couldn’t make any significant improvement in part quality or productivity. The customer ended up building a new production mold because the original mold hadn’t been properly designed.

The mold design phase is critical for building a high quality mold. GSM’s process is split into two phases, with a 2D preliminary design that can be modified quickly based on reviews with the customer, followed by a full 3D design that can be used to manufacture each mold component accurately. The 2D phase allows us to order steel while we work with the customer to further improve and complete the design in 3D.

The design phase of a mold build is generally about 2 weeks, but it is key to the quality of the mold. It is in this phase that customer machine specs and mold specifications are incorporated. Each customer has unique specifications for water fittings, manifolds, electrical connectors, part orientation, clamping, locating, and other items that need to be designed-in up front for compatibility with their molding operations. It is also here where runners, gates, mold cooling, venting, and ejection methods are optimized. Questions are asked and answered such as: Where are my potential ejection problems and how can they be addressed in the design? Where are the potential hot spots that need special attention or specialty materials? Will the parts be picked by a robot or fall onto a conveyor?

At GSM, we work with the customer’s engineers to review and optimize the mold during the design phase. The best projects are those where we know the potential trouble spots up front and address them in the design.   It is here that our collective expectations are met and the mold begins the sampling and conditioning phase. We’ll talk about that phase next time.


Comments are closed.

Let’s Talk!

We would love to work with you on your next tool development, tool manufacturing or tool maintenance project! Please contact us to get started today.
Contact Us

Our Warranty

We build tools right the first time but if a problem should arise with the workmanship, we are committed to making it right.
Read More

Global Source Manufacturing

is a world class tool development and maintenance company based in Troy, Ohio with capabilities in the United States and China.

Contact Us

Global Source Manufacturing
155 Marybill Drive | Troy, Ohio 45373
P: 937.242.6165