Shipping over 20 million parts per month to customers worldwide, Plastic Components, Inc. is a world-class manufacturer of small- to medium-sized plastic injection-molded parts that pushes the limits of metal-to-plastic conversion while giving its customers confidence in the quality of injection-molded parts.
The company was faced with the challenge of reducing internal costs while minimizing the number of mold iterations associated with each plastic injection-molding manufacturing job to satisfy customer time-to-market requirements.
Standardizing on SOLIDWORKS
Plastic Components standardized on SOLIDWORKS 3D design software in 2006, and in 2016 it bolstered its mold-filling simulation capabilities with SOLIDWORKS Plastics Premium software to reduce mold iterations to more quickly deliver customer parts and eliminate unnecessary costs.
The company saved time, money, and unnecessary mold iterations. “We wanted to take our mold-filling simulation capabilities to the next level to help our customers meet increasingly shorter time-to-market goals and reduce our internal costs on the back end,” Business Development Manager Rick Riesterer notes.
Reducing Mold Iterations
With SOLIDWORKS Plastics Premium, Plastic Components has minimized mold iterations, which Riesterer refers to as “round trips,” because engineers can pinpoint injection-molding issues during simulations that, in the past, often went undetected until sampling. “A round trip is what we call the process of qualifying a customer’s component from sampling to mold approval,” Riesterer says.
“We partner with our customers to help them validate each design concept for manufacturability, functionality, assembly, and sustainability before developing the mold,” Riesterer continues. “Before we added SOLIDWORKS Plastics Premium software, we’d sometimes discover an issue on very complex components during the first mold trial that would require a second, third, or more trials.”
Minimizing mold iterations is critical for Plastic Components because of the time and cost associated with each of the iterations. “One ‘round trip’ takes about two to three weeks and costs thousands of dollars,” Riesterer says. “We don’t have the luxury of being able to charge extra for subsequent iterations, so it’s imperative for our business that we cut costs where we can.”
Early Problem Detection Improves Accuracy
The improved accuracy of integrated SOLIDWORKS Plastics Premium software enables Plastic Components to identify injection-molding issues, such as faulty gating schemes, poorly positioned knit lines, gas traps, or areas that won’t fill correctly, before making molds and tooling, saving additional mold trials that can take three weeks each. The company also saves on back-end costs while helping customers achieve their time-to-market objectives.
Eliminating unnecessary mold iterations also frees company bandwidth to generate new business and R&D initiatives. It’s a win-win. “SOLIDWORKS Plastics Premium software provides the advanced capabilities—such as post-filling, cycle optimization, cooling analysis, and warp prediction—that allow us to simulate complex mold scenarios, accelerate customer time to market, and reduce internal launch costs,” says Riesterer.
“A new customer asked us to vet a program for producing a mission-critical component that was utilized under pressure,” Riesterer adds. “We ran a SOLIDWORKS Plastics Premium simulation on the gating scheme that they had, identified the problems they were having, and showed them how a new gating scheme would resolve the issue. That landed us the business.”