engineer holding manufactured mold

Injection Molding for Prototypes and Low-volume Production Parts

Choose from two molding options tailored to your manufacturing needs

We make it easy for you to work with us from prototyping to low-volume production. Using scientific molding techniques, we optimize and monitor your parts for production, saving you time and also simplifying process qualification across your development stages. Every step in our process is documented as a data point and that knowledge is applied to each run of your parts. Along the way, we offer DFM feedback and design consultation to improve part design, and automated inline CMM technology to verify critical-to-quality dimensions and help you qualify parts and process quickly using our automated and precise CMM systems. Finishing options? We have a range of those, too, including Mold-Tech finishing!

Prototyping or On-demand Manufacturing?

While the molds themselves are similar, part quantities, lifetime maintenance, quality documentation, and pricing vary depending on which service option is chosen. The right one depends on your project needs.

  PROTOTYPING ON-DEMAND MANUFACTURING
OBJECTIVE

I need to validate my design at Protolabs speeds. I need the flexibility to economically iterate before production.

I have on-demand production needs at Protolabs speeds.

BEST WHEN
  • Iterating over design, material and assessing tradeoff between cost and manufacturability.
  • Key focus is to reduce design risk, increase R&D productivity and quickly iterate to speed product release to market.
  • Typical Quantities <2,000
  • Design and configuration is finalized and focus is to reduce supply chain risk, quality, and total cost of ownership.
  • Run-to-run part consistency is critical
  • Qualification documentation and mold capability information is required
MOLD CAVITIES Single Single and multi-cavity
MOLD LIFE Limited (guaranteed for at least 2,000 shots) Unlimited
MOLD STORAGE Stored for 18 months of inactivity Stored for 3 years of inactivity
MOLD OWNERSHIP Upon request Yes
QUALITY DOCUMENTATION Basic inspection reports available upon request
  • Critical-to-Quality First Article Inspection*
  • Critical-to-Quality 30-part capability study*
  • Critical-to-Quality dimensions checked during all runs
  • Scientific molding process development report*
  • In-line CMM measurement technology
  • PPAP, IQ/OQ/PQ, ISo13485 through approved partners.
SHARED FEATURES

Aluminum molds
Standard lead time of 15 days or less
Tolerances of +/-0.003 in. plus resin tolerance (in./in.)
Set-up fees apply to each run 
Consultative Design Services (CDS)
Finishing Options
No minimum order quantities (MOQ)
Quick-turn shipping in as fast as 1 day

*Inspection conducted on initial run of parts

Not sure which service is right? Take a complete look at the service options or get quotes for both to compare. You can also call your account representative at 877-479-3680 to further discuss.

Why Use an On-Demand Manufacturing Tool?

Start with advanced design for manufacturability feedback, which ensures that your design is optimized before a single part is molded. From there, our scientific molding process takes that data and lessons learned and applies them to each run of your parts. Our combination of CTQ and automated CMM ensures and verifies consistency throughout the manufacturing process.

Our on-demand manufacturing service helps you simplify your supply chain so you can get quality parts easier and faster. We meet your inventory needs with no minimum order quantities, and offer supply chain flexibility ranging from bridge tooling and just-in-time (JIT) production to standard production and dual-sourcing strategies. So, you get:

  • Free prototype mold when upgrading to on-demand manufacturing
  • No minimum order quantity
  • ISO 9001:2015; ISO 13485; CoC; CoA
  • CTQ reporting, including process capability study and FAI
  • Exclusive in-line CMM automation

Piece-Part Price Comparison

This chart shares the potential cost savings you can achieve with on-demand manufacturing for molded parts with varying levels of complexity.

PART COMPLEXITY SIMPLE MEDIUM HIGH
EXTENTS 1 in. x 1 in. x 0.65 in. 3.5 in. x 2.5 in. x 1 in. 4.2 in. x 4.2 in. x 2.9 in.
PART VOLUME 0.16 in.³ 2.73 in.³ 7.31 in.³
PIECE-PART PRICING

PROTOTYPE
SINGLE-CAVITY MOLD

$1.50 $2.45 $7.50

ON-DEMAND MANUFACTURING SINGLE-CAVITY MOLD

$1.00 $1.70 $5.30

ON-DEMAND MANUFACTURING
MULTI-CAVITY MOLD

$0.40 $0.85 $2.00

Note that this is just an example of parts to illustrate the potential piece-part price savings offered by on-demand manufacturing.

 



 

Multi-cavity molds can provide substantial piece-part cost savings compared to single-cavity molds.

Enhanced Quality with Digital Inspections

Digital inspection reports on molded parts are available on every on-demand manufacturing order. Our metrology lab uses a 360-degree, 12-position 3D scanner that collects data, identifies dimensional variance, and creates a visual aid and color map for a direct CAD-to-scan comparison.

COMPARE INSPECTION REPORTS