Short Run Production vs. Long Run Production: What’s Right for Me?

Custom injection molding is one of the most versatile processes for creating plastic parts. From designing to producing, there are many decisions that play into the manufacturing process. 

So, how do you know if short-run production or long-run production is best for your part?

Short-Run Molding

Short-run molding typically falls into two categories. 

  1. Initial product development. After the prototype is done, fully tested and approved, the next step is building a mold and running some parts. This is short-run molding. You don’t want to commit to 100,000 pieces until you know how well it will sell. During this stage, parts will generally cost more because of the time it takes to set the mold and get the process up and running. On a longer run, those costs are absorbed over more pieces – which makes long-run piece price cheaper. 
  2. The other category is “Service” or “Replacement” parts molding These are terms used to describe short-run molding in the appliance and automotive industry. When they make refrigerators, for example, they make 300,000 a year – and will need 300,000 of the various parts used to make that refrigerator. Once they stop making that model, they may only need 300 pieces a year for replacement or warranty work.

Pioneer Plastics specializes in all of the above and is here to guide and talk you through these options and pricing so that you can make good educated decisions based on the known facts.

Long Run Molding

Long run molding – High volume production molding is achieved with multi-cavity steel molds. These molds will run anywhere from 20,000 to millions of parts per year. Upfront tooling cost will be higher because they are bigger multi-cavity molds, but they drive down part/unit cost due to pieces per hour, less time to produce and less labor. Payback on tooling cost is achieved through volume and our goal is to help our customers get that payback as soon as possible.

Consider the Complexity

If your part is small or large complex designs may sometimes require more advanced mold techniques, meaning cams or lifts to produce this part. This will take more time and labor and will lead to an increase in mold cost. 

If the part requires additional services or post operations like decorating ultrasonic welding or assembly, it will increase production time and cost. Labeling, over-molding, and heat staking are examples of additional services that your part may require to achieve your finished goods.

Get Started

Pioneer Plastics will educate you on all available options so that you know exactly what to expect at every step of the process. To get started on custom injection molding services, contact us today

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