You would think it would be easy to make money in plastic moulding. After all, just look around at the vast array of plastic products we all use every single day. Cell phones, computer monitors and CPU’s, printers, half the parts in our cars, ceiling lighting fixtures and on and on.
There was a time when almost any enterprising mold maker or molder with a willingness to work hard could set up shop in his garage and make good money moulding plastic parts. Those days are gone, except in some developing countries where inexpensive, low quality items are produced.
These days it takes an unbelievable amount of technical equipment to enter the competition and succeed. Sure, you can buy an old, used injection molding machine anywhere, maybe win some contracts to produce simple parts, but it is unlikely you will make a sustainable income doing so. The main reason for this is the fact that a Chinese molder can do the exact same thing at a fraction of the cost.
Ideally, you could sort of ease into the business, maybe branch out from an existing business, so that you would have an income base to operate from. If you are doing a start up company, you must be resigned to the fact that you are going to invest a lot of money, work long hours and not make much profit for a while.
Molding equipment is quite expensive, though it is possible to buy used equipment at a discount, which can save a huge amount of money. Molding machines, robotics, material handling equipment, overhead cranes, plastic dryers, and inspection equipment are just scratching the surface.
Given the huge number of plastic injection molding companies going out of business and holding liquidation auctions, you can find complete factories for sale for pennies on the dollar.
You also need knowledgeable staff to set up molds, inspection department inspectors, maintenance men, mold design staff is a huge benefit,
How to win custom injection molding projects
Good luck! Very often companies prefer dealing with one or two companies that they already know and trust, so it can be a daunting task to win a new customer. They need a compelling reason to add you to their supplier base.
Persistence does, however, pay off in the long run. If you can manage the lengthy process that most significant companies have developed for analyzing new suppliers, you stand a chance of getting work. One of the best methods is the same as it has ever been: networking. In reality, the plastics community is just not that huge in any given country and very often people know one another, at least by name and face. This can be a huge asset for someone trying to break into a new market.
Joining associations is one way to get you name and face out there for some networking recognition. Contributing articles to industry journals is another effective method to develop a reputation as an expert in your field. Of course, all these things require time and considerable effort up front without any direct compensation, but they are very effective techniques.
Plastic moulding is a very competitive but potentially profitable industry with great opportunities, as well as challenges. Considering how many companies have gone under in recent years it would seem very unattractive, yet both existing and new companies keep finding ways to succeed.