The advantages of making tools and dies in China
Due to low cost of raw materials and low wage, price of injection mold tools in China attract buyers from the western countries, more important than pricing, the quality of tooling from China can compete with the European/ American quality and durability standards. If you are purchasing tools and dies from China, this article would be worth for your reading. If you still have not purchased from China, you will do soon, because this is going to be a trend and last long.
How to identity a qualified toolmaker?
The quality of Chinese tools and dies are differences, there are good and bad factories like anywhere in the world, how can you tell the difference? Which is good one and which is bad one? The best solution is to visit, one of my friends from Germany, used to visit 50 tool makers before he start his first tooling project in China, well, this could be an exhausted process, but it definitely worth it. Being able to identify the good and bad tooling shops can save you a lot of times and troubles in making molds.
No matter how many tools and dies making companies you have visited already, you can simply divide them into several categorizes as below and this is going to provide you some different angles to evaluate them.
Domestic toolmakers VS export toolmakers
Domestic toolmakers make tools and dies for domestic companies, these tools and dies are designed and manufactured for injection molding in-house or other local molders. Usually there are no standards to follow except some internal guidelines base on experiences. But domestic toolmakers have advantages for tools and dies under class 102. Why is that? The answer is low labor cost. You don’t have to design the tool and die for automatically operation if they stays in China for production, it’s cheaper to have one or two workers to do it manually; You can use inexpensive steels / accessories, there are plenty of cheap stuffs from small tooling shops. Instead of using the best and expensive steel, domestic tool makers prefer to trim the flash manually or fit the tooling one more time because that would be the more economical way to go. If you just want to purchase injection molded parts from China, domestic tool and die makers might be a good choice.
Export tool and die makers are focus on overseas companies, especially United States and European. They understand the requirements of western companies and familiar with HASCO or DME standards. Good export toolmakers can build mold as good as those in United States, and the price is usually 30-50% cheaper.
Tool and die makers in South VS East China
South and East have two well developing areas in China, both areas have some famous cities you probably know, Shenzhen, Dongguan are typical South cities, Shanghai, Kunsan are located in East. Tool and die making quality of South China is better than east, as Shenzhen is the first city to start “Reform and opening up”, South China has been developed for more than 30 years since that. Comparing with South China, other areas are just new emerging developing zones. However, tools and dies price in East could be lower than South China. Both areas are worth to visit before you can find the balance of pricing and quality.
Tool and die shops owned by foreign VS local companies
Some smart business men from European and United States are not just satisfied with buying molds in China, they start their own business in China. As I know, there are many tooling shops in Shenzhen that run by Germany, American, French, Spanish, Israeli, I visit myself a lot of them, Employees work in these factories are basically Chinese so they can take the advantages of the low labor cost here. Factories owned by foreigners have great advantage of communication, it would much easier for two western people communicate with each other. Another advantage is trust, this is very natural, sometimes, you could be able to get a much better payment term. However, the price from them is much higher than the tooling shop own by local companies usually.
Tool and die maker focus on big VS precision
This is about capability, tool and die makers equipped big machines aim for auto tools, everything in their shop is big, it is quit a big investment and they are not that common to see in China, which make your choices list shorter and easier. Precision tools and dies shops must be equipped the finest machinery, as well as measurement equipments like 2D projection, CMM, they probably interested in tools and dies for medical device, consumer product. It is easy for you to figure out and decide if you visit them to see their tooling shops.