April 10, 2024

Injection Molding Cost Breakdown: What You Need to Know

injection molding cost

Introduction to Injection Molding Costs

Introduction to Injection Molding Costs The cost of injection molding, a cornerstone in the fields of manufacturing methods, product development, and mold production, is a really important issue for manufacturers, product designers, and users as well in the production of plastic parts. For budgeting and project planning, it is crucial to know the molding injection cost. The injection molding technique allows for the mass-production of high-quality plastic parts with the precision of tight tolerances. On the other hand, the level of resources required for production is high, including machinery, molds, materials, and operational costs. This article is aimed at providing an overview of the major elements that compose the overall injection molding cost, to guide the readers on how to make the right choices.

Understanding the Basics of Injection Molding

In the world of manufacturing technologies, it is the set of methodologies from CNC machining to electrical discharge machining that are the most important. In this group, injection molding is the most used technique for the production of plastic parts. An impressive data illustrating its prevalence is the fact that 30% of all plastic products are made using this technique. The injection molding process, mainly divided into molding cycle and mold type, is the process of melting plastic granules and injecting them into the cavity mold under high pressure. This method is not only efficient but also versatile, which allows designing different shapes through insert molding and the use of different cavity molds.

The cost of injection molding is affected by quite a few factors, such as the complexity of the mold that usually involves the production of precise tooling by CNC machines, and the choice of material. Often, ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and PP (Polypropylene) are selected for their good cost-performance balance. The last injection mold tooling that is a combination of the number of cavities and the particular plastic injection mold used directly influence the total project budget. Through a grasp of these pivotal factors and how they affect injection molding cost, manufacturers will be able to negotiate the complexities of production, while at the same time maintaining both efficiency and quality in their projects.

The initial design and the manufacture of the mold are two of the most important factors that represent a large portion of the total investment in injection molding. It is necessary to understand that the part dimensions, its complexity, and the number of cavities within the mold have a significant impact on the cost of a mold. Factors such as strict tolerances, undercuts, and surface finish complexity are paramount in determining the mold’s complexity and the mold material and manufacturing requirements in return. Techniques such as CNC machining and EDM are applied to make these exact tools, which also contribute to the cost of tooling. All these factors can lead to an increase in mold material costs and technical expertise required for the success of the project.

Besides, repair costs are an ongoing cost that cannot be ignored. In the course of a mold’s lifetime, the repair costs can add up, particularly for molds that produce a large number of parts or are used to create complicated details. Along with the setup costs, the expenditure is increased when a different type of mold is used for different production runs.

injection molding cost

Equipment Costs Explained

Types of Injection Molding Machines

Injection molding machines are the main tool which enables the creation of plastic products. The prices for these types of equipment vary significantly. The price is determined by their size, type (like hydraulic, electric, or hybrid), and performance (e.g., how much power they can apply or how fast they can inject plastic into molds). The cost of the mold itself, especially when dealing with larger molds needed for bigger parts or small parts requiring precise detail, can significantly impact the overall price. Secondly, the price may depend on the task that the machine should perform. For instance, the manufacture of miniature parts or parts that have to fit together very well and precisely might require the use of specialized machines, thereby increasing the startup cost. However, the exorbitant equipment costs of such machines may be offset by their long-term effectiveness. They are better in accuracy and time, and have a longer life. This indicates that less waste and shorter time to manufacture the products can be achieved, which can help reduce injection molding cost.

Operational and Maintenance Expenses

Operating costs can be broken down into two parts: how much power the machines consume and the salary of the people running them. These are the costs that form the basic structure of the price. Not only is the cost of maintenance of the machines high, but also keeping them in good condition can be expensive. The machines, especially those which are used a lot or work with materials that can wear them off, are especially subject to this. It is necessary to be regular in the upkeep and repair of things when they start to break down. They act as gap fillers and keep machines in the best running condition possible. This has an effect on the number of parts which are made and the price of injection molding for each part.

Material Costs for Injection Molding

Understanding the material costs is essential in the realm of plastic injection molding, as the choice of material can significantly impact the overall injection mold cost. Common materials which are used in this process are ABS, PP, and Nylon, each of these materials being used for their properties to meet specific product requirements. For example, ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and Polycarbonate (PC) may be the materials that are used for the manufacturing of a smartphone case. The choice between the two materials is likely to have a significant influence on the cost.ABS is known for its good impact resistance and toughness, making it a cost-effective choice for a wide range of applications including consumer electronics housings.

High-end plastics or specially formulated additives such as pigments and flame retardants can also contribute to the cost increase.However, when producing large production volumes, selecting the right plastic resins can lead to significant savings without compromising quality.

MaterialPropertiesCommon ApplicationsCost Dimension
ABSStrong, impact-resistantConsumer goods, automotive partsModerate
Polypropylene (PP)Resistant to chemicals, fatigueFood containers, automotive componentsLow
NylonHigh strength, wear-resistantMechanical parts, gearsHigh
Polycarbonate (PC)Excellent clarity, impact resistantElectronics housings, lensesHigh
Polyethylene (PE)Ductile, chemical-resistantBottles, tubingLow
Polyoxymethylene (POM)High stiffness, low frictionPrecision parts, gearsModerate-High
Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU)Flexible, abrasion-resistantPhone cases, automotive interiorsModerate
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)Good barrier propertiesBottles, food packagingModerate
injection molding cost

Production Volume and Scale Factors

Scaling production volume up or down has profound implications for injection molding costs. Large quantities are able to pay off the massive tooling cost that can be generally divided by their overall number leading to loss of costs per the part.However, preparing for mass production involves considerations of mold cavitation (the number of cavities in a mold), production cycle time, and the capacity of available injection molding machines. Successfully dealing with these factors can help to achieve significant cost savings and be successfully positioned even when price competitiveness is the dominant selection criteria.

Reducing Injection Molding Costs Without Sacrificing Quality

The increase in productivity of the injection molding process, especially when dealing with complex molds for plastic molding, can result in considerable cost reduction. Techniques like fastening cycle time, maximizing material use based on part size, and lessening plastic waste are the key factors in cutting the production costs.For instance, a manufacturer has been successful in bringing the cycle time down by 10% through an improved cooling system in the injection molding process. At first, the cooling time was 30 seconds, but that eventually reduced to 27 seconds when we upgraded our cooling system.This seemingly minor reduction in the cycle duration to a large extent resulted in an increase in the output by almost 10% without additional operational costs and thereby the cost per unit was significantly reduced.

On the other hand, integrated approach to the production planning, for instance, CAD model where the design is precisely defined and steel molds, which is known to be long lasting and precise can be used to find opportunities of cost saving. This can lead to lower cost even with the complexity of molds.

injection molding cost

Choosing the Right Injection Molding Partner

Selecting a competent injection molding partner is crucial for achieving high-quality parts within budget constraints. The right partner will have the technical expertise, advanced equipment, and process know-how to optimize design, material selection, and the manufacturing process. They should offer transparency in injection molding cost estimation, helping you understand where your investment goes and how to control costs effectively. Moreover, a reliable partner will communicate openly about potential challenges and solutions, ensuring that your project meets its quality, timeline, and budget goals.


It is necessary for anyone who is directly or indirectly involved in injection molding to understand the various factors that affect the costs of injection molding.From the intricacies of mold design to the operational expenses of manufacturing, each element plays a role in the final cost. In addition to that, through the application of efficient design strategies, rationalization of the production processes, and choosing the appropriate manufacturing partner, the cost of production can be managed and even reduced.Remember, the goal is not just to minimize expenses but to do so in a way that maintains, or even enhances, the quality of the final product. Provided with accurate planning and a target approach, an injection molding that is both cost-effective and of exceptional quality is certainly achievable.

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