Saturday 23 December 2017

5 Software Tools To Estimate The Production Economics In Injection Moulding

Hello and welcome to this blog post on 5 tools to estimate production economics in injection moulding.  A series production of an injection moulding business may comprise thousands of produced parts monthly. Therefore, optimizing costs per piece can substantially impact the business financial outcome. Based upon literature research [1] and my own experience, I have compiled 5 injection moulding software tools to improve your production economics.

1. Injection Molding Cycle Time Estimator:
It is mainly used to estimate the time of an injection moulding cycle, which in turn will support a better production planning.
Features: The estimation takes into consideration the resin type. Furthermore, it allows a machine to set override for temperatures. For cooling, two types of estimation methods are available: centerline and average cooling of the wall. It has an error checking included and an easy Windows Forms interface. The software is freeware.

2. ProMax-One™ Plastic Part Cost Estimator by InjectNet:
This program calculates the total cost per part offering a cost breakdown where individual cost positions are detailed.
Features: The following boundary conditions are used: material, labour, mould cost, machinery, maintenance, cavity information and general project information (timeframe, etc.). This software is in its freeware version more complete than the Injection Molding Cycle Time Estimator from 1).

3. CostMate® by UL Prospector
CostMate® is part of UL Prospector plastics search engine.
Features: It can accurately estimate the cost of producing an injection moulded part and it considers costs associated to shipping as well as packing.  Additionally, it can generate a report of material price, machine, secondary costs, profit and total quote. Its basic version is free.

4. DFM Concurrent Costing® by Boothroyd Dewhurst Inc.
This software is mainly intended for the design of the part stage.  
Features: You can import your part geometry and you can customize the cost estimate inputs. Furthermore, you can import variables from your own injection moulding machine. Geometry calculations can be done within the program too. You can compare alternative production processes and materials for manufacturing your desired part. This is a commercial paid software.

5. CalcMaster® by Schoenberg & Partners
This commercial software is a cost estimator and a good design assistant too.
Features: CalcMaster® estimates the most economical number of cavities for your mould. Furthermore, it is able to take the all over project hours cost (design and manufacturing) into account.

Bonus: Injection molding cost estimator by Custompart
The injection molding cost estimator by Custompart is a handy tool which is free and web-based allowing you to quickly assess your production metrics. 

Overarching, the commercial software solutions, DFM Concurrent Costing and CalcMaster, are most comprehensive regarding decision making on the final part costs. Nevertheless, ProMax-One™ can be a good choice to start with before investing into a commercial software package. It offers already the calculation of several parameters such as cavity data, project timeframe and material data.

Enjoy trying out some of the programs and thanks for reading!

Herwig Juster

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[1] M.A. Selles, Analysis and review of different tools to calculate the production economics in injection molding, The 7th International Conference Interdisciplinarity in Engineering (INTER-ENG 2013)