The Most Common Rubber & Silicone Molding Pitfalls
and How to Avoid Them
Cutting Corners on Mold Tooling
Part quality is directly dependent on tool quality. While it may be tempting to reduce tooling costs, don’t sacrifice life and usability of the tool. For instance, reducing shut height may lower tooling cost somewhat, but may make it more difficult to eject each part. Likewise, a lower grade steel or aluminum may save a few dollars but provide diminished tool life. Trust Summit Rubber to recommend the optimal tooling for your project.
Selecting the Wrong Material
Different rubber and silicone formulations will produce different outcomes on the same tool. Therefore, it is important to be sure the molded material meets all requirements; not just lowest price. Summit Rubber has unparalleled knowledge of rubber formulations and can ensure your material is a perfect match for the application.
Failing to Optimize the Design of The Part
The cost of a molded part is driven by the material being molded, the molding equipment and the cycle parameters. As tolerances get tighter, and as cosmetic finish becomes more stringent, the cost goes up. Post-molding operations such as trimming or surface treatment will also increase the price. It is best to optimize the part design in order to minimize your total cost. Summit Rubber works with all tooling suppliers to ensure your molded part meets your requirements.
Cutting Corners in Order to Get to Market Faster
Each step in the process is critically important. Avoid the urge to cut corners by omitting a design review, or manufacturability review by the molder and mold maker. Also try not to concede on inferior materials. Finally, be prepared to spend a few days getting the tool to produce good parts. New tools often have to be tweaked after the initial run. One of the best ways to speed to market is to involve Summit Rubber in the design and build process.
Sourcing Tooling Overseas
Molds sourced from China or low cost countries (LCC) typically take longer to design, the same or less time to produce, and require some rework when received. Experience makes the difference, with US mold designers having decades of experience, and Asian counterparts often having fewer than five. Carefully assess the total cost of quality and ownership of sourcing overseas vs domestically. Domestic sourcing is likely to be the best bet.
Failing to Obtain a Proper Tooling Maintenance Program
For an annual fee, Summit Rubber will meticulously care for your tooling at all times. The life of your mold tool depends on how it is treated both on and off the machine. Summit Rubber cleans each tool and applies a rust preventative. The tool is then stored on a flat rack in a climate controlled room, and is not stacked with other tools.
Focusing on Tooling Cost Instead of Piece Part Cost
High tolerance, high detail, and high weight all increase processing time and part cost. One of the best ways to reduce part cost is to mold multiple parts at a time. A multi cavity tool can reduce part costs by 20% to 40%, especially if the production demand is, say, 40k to 50k parts per month.
Failing to Include Summit Rubber in the Mold-Making Process
Many times when molds are produced they don’t always work for the first run. Although we don’t manufacture your molds, we are willing to step-up and guarantee that it will work when it gets to our plant. We will work directly with the approved mold manufacturer through all stages of the design process to ensure that when it arrives, you are up and running. In the unlikely chance that it does not work, the onus is on us to fix regardless of the cause.