How much does injection molding cost? Injection molding cost can range from as low as $100 to as high as $10 000. But this is mainly the cost to produce a mold, which also takes the most time and resources. Other costs, once the mold is produced, remain relatively low.
In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of the various factors that affect the cost of injection molding and you make best decisions when it comes to your manufacturing process.
Is Injection Molding Expensive?
Or, to put it another way, is injection cheap? Well, the answer is both yes and no. Yes because it requires a large initial investment, and no because cost after is relatively low.
In fact, the injection molding cost per part can drastically reduce to only a few dollars or less per part compared to other manufacturing methods. So, how much can one expect to spend? Let’s see.
How Much Does Injection Molding Cost?
The cost of injection molding is broken down into the stages that the process requires. These include mold making, prototyping, producing of the part, and finally any finishing options that may be required for a complete product.
Injection Molding Tooling Cost
Before you can produce injection molding products, you need a tool. This is the mold that contains a cavity in which the melt will be injected. This is the most expensive part of injection molding, and whose cost can range from $100 to $10 000 or higher. It mainly depends on the part size and complexity, and the type of material.
The injection molding mold cost also largely depends on the type of material used to make it, which can be steel or aluminum. Steel is the most expensive mold material, but also the most durable. Aluminum has the advantage of being lighter and less susceptible to corrosion, but it won’t last as long
Injection Molding Prototype Cost
Once you have your tool created, you will need prototypes. These function as test pieces to confirm that the mold works correctly before production can begin.
Again, the injection molding prototyping cost can vary widely depending on various factors such as how simple or complex the part is, as well as the method used to produce the prototype.
Usually, injection molding prototypes are 3D-printed, CNC-machined or produced using any other manufacturing method. These may include casting and thermoforming.
3D printing is one the most cost effective option for quick prototyping needs with the lowest costs. On the other hand, CNC machining is a preferred method for high accuracy and larger quantities.
Injection Molding Material Cost
Some injection molding materials are more expensive than others. This cost factor can have a huge impact on the total cost of your molded part or parts.
The most common materials used for injection molding are plastics (all thermoplastics and a few thermosets). Polypropylene, ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), and polyethylene are the most used plastics.
Plastic injection molding cost varies depending on the type of plastic. For example, nylon and polycarbonate are more expensive than polyethylene, with cost differences ranging from $0.5 to $1.
Injection Molding Manufacturing
The next stage after tooling, prototyping, and material selection is the actual production. Here, your injection molding cost will depend on the size of your order, the complexity or wall thickness of each part, and material type.
Typically, larger orders cost less per piece than smaller ones due to increased efficiency in production. As an example, the injection molding cost for a run of 100 000 pieces may be lower than the cost for a 10 000-piece order.
Also, a simple ABS part with no finish might be around $1.50 per part, while a more complex polyethylene part with thick walls and finish could cost closer to $3.00 per piece for the same quantity.
Injection Molding Finishing Cost
Finally, the last stage in injection molding is any finishing steps required to make your part look and function as intended. This could include liquid coating, pad painting, metal plating or assembly with additional components.
The cost of injection molding for this step depends on the type of finish, complexity and number of parts to be finished. Plating, for example, may cost more than pad printing.
The highest injection molding finishing cost may go up to several dollars per part (depending on size), while the least expensive may only add a few cents to the cost.
Injection Molding Cost Breakdown
To summarize, the cost of injection molding can be broken down into four main stages: tooling, prototyping, production and finishing. Each stage has its own price tag associated with it, which will vary depending on part complexity, material type and quantity ordered.
The table below shows, in general terms, what the cost of each stage can typically be when calculated on a per part basis. However, keep in mind that the numbers in this injection mold cost analysis are only estimates and can vary greatly in real scenarios.
Types of Injection Molding Costs
Low Volume Production (1000 Parts)
Medium volume Production (10 000 Parts)
High Volume Production (100 000 Parts)
Cost of Injection Molding Mold
Cost of Injection Molding Raw Materials
Injection Molding Labor Costs
Total Injection molding cost
Injection Molding cost Per Part
The injection molding price estimate is also largely dependent on whether the costs are calculated on an hourly or a per-piece basis. This mainly applies to the production stage, when large orders of the same part are being made.
Injection Molding Cost Per Hour
Injection molding machine cost per hour is mostly used for large-scale parts, since it takes into account all costs associated with the production process, such as set up and machine maintenance. Generally, this comes out to around $20-300 per hour.
Injection Molding Cost Per Part
This type of cost calculation is based exclusively on the number of parts produced during a production run. Injection molding cost per unit mostly applies to smaller production runs and prototype parts. All production prices are added and then divided by the total number of parts produced.
Injection Molding Cost reduction Ideas
Injection molding cost, depending on the factors discussed, can be high or low. But since everyone’s goal is to reduce these costs as much as possible, here are a few tips to help you do just that.
1. First, choose the right injection molding material for your needs. Research your options and find the one that best suits your application while also meeting your budget requirements.
2. Select the right size for your injection molded parts. Make sure to keep part size as small as possible, since larger parts will require more plastic and incur higher costs.
3. Choose a simple design with fewer features and details that are easier to mold, which will reduce the cost of part production. The fewer elements it has, the more cost-effective it becomes.
4. Focus on optimizing your injection molding process, as this can often be one of the most expensive parts of the production process.
5. Try to reduce cycle times by selecting materials or type of plastic that will offer shorter cooling and injection times, as this will decrease overall production time and your injection molding cost per hour.
6. Consider using a “family mold”. This is when related parts are manufactured in the same mold. This allows you to save costs on tooling since each part will only require one set of cavities instead of multiple sets.
7. Also, think long-term when doing your injection molding cost analysis. Consider how the injection molding process can be simplified and a durable mold produced. This can help you save money over the long run.
By following these tips and staying up-to-date with the latest injection molding technologies, you can optimize your production process and reduce your overall cost.
Your injection molding cost can be high (and uneconomical) or low (and cost-efficient), depending on the factors and processes involved. By selecting the right material, size, design, and optimizing your process, you can significantly reduce your overall costs. With the right approach, injection molding offers a cost-effective way to produce high quality parts.