Customers with a budget in mind often ask us how they can reduce the price of their part. They think that the price is always tied up in expensive material costs but in reality it’s usually the labor costs or a complex mold that results in a high price. What you should understand is that the more complicated a part is, the more expensive it will be. In the case of a molded or extruded part, the tooling needs to be more complex and this takes more time and effort, therefore the mold will cost substantially more. In the case of machined parts this is even more acute as every hole, angle, and cut adds cost.
Labor for machining is quoted based off “passes” that is how many times a tool needs to touch the plastic material in order to make the cuts needed to manufacture the parts. These passes are the labor cost – the more passes, the more cost. A good example to discuss are “webbed” sheaves. These are sheaves or pulleys that have the sides machined out around the outside of the hub on either side. This has the sometimes beneficial property of reducing sheave weight because it’s now made of substantially less material. However, these weight savings mean lots of extra machining has to be done and this increases the cost of the sheave. Where lowest price is desired and weight savings are not critical, webbing is not advantageous to your application.
One service we offer to customers is that we provide “blanks” these are partially machined plastic parts that are not completed, just the general profile is done. Once the parts arrive on site the end-user themself then finishes the machining. An example of this is our Redco chain channel for sawmill applications. We can offer the channel pre-drilled with weld washers but this adds about $0.85/hole. Many customers elect to simply buy the channel and drill their own holes on site. Perhaps the best method to figure out if a part can be simplified is to just talk to one of our plastic experts. We’ll take a close look at the application and ask you if the part can be redesigned to a simpler format to save money.
For assistance with your plastic application please contact Redwood Plastics and Rubber.