What You Need to Know Before Manufacturing Prototypes and Molds in Asia

If quality is your number one priority when it comes to manufacturing prototypes and molds, then chances are that as cheap as possible won’t cut it. Asian countries don’t specialize in manufacturing just high-quality parts. They also produce components that look pretty darn good for a bargain price tag. But getting consistent quality out of an Asian manufacturer is usually easier said than done…at least not without spending an arm and a leg. This leads us directly into point two: keep your cost expectations realistic!

manufacturing prototypes and molds

Key checklist to do before manufacturing in Asia

Now you must go through the checklist before manufacturing in Asia. Some of the key things you need to do are: think about consistency and costs, check on the prototyping, see if they have a support system or group so they can help you with your future order, research on them (do your due diligence) In addition to these checkpoints, make sure you double-check a few other important steps. First, ask yourself some hard questions about consistency and costs.

How long will it take for manufacturing prototypes and molds?

In India, it takes one week to manufacture prototypes with the soft tool. On the other hand, in Thailand, they can produce them in two to three weeks. A normal plastic injection mold will take about six weeks to reach the T0 trial stage.  A normal manufacturing process is done within eight to 10 weeks in India or 12 to 14 weeks in Thailand. After receiving your product, you may need additional time for post-processing before shipping. This could take another five to seven days if mold adjustments are needed. Your vendors should be able to give you an estimated time frame before you sign any agreements or pay any money upfront.

Manufacture prototypes

How much will it cost for manufacturing prototypes and molds?

The cost of manufacturing prototypes and molds varies by country, labor availability, availability of raw materials, speed, and shipping times. It is important to keep all of these factors in mind when making your final decision. In India, a typical prototype can cost anywhere from $200 USD to $8,000 USD whereas a mold for plastic parts can be about $25,000 USD.

Trade-offs when outsourcing in Asia

While there are many clear advantages of manufacturing prototypes and molds in Asia, it’s important to keep a few things in mind before you dive into outsourcing across an ocean. One advantage of outsourcing overseas is the speed of production. However, the quality compromise is a real concern as well if you don’t keep a close review and supervision. This is apparent in, for example, some Asian countries, which lack strict regulations as to how they handle molds production. Thus, the production of your design might have flaws or have poorer quality materials than you might want, or even improper safety standards.

Plastic Injection Molding

How can I ensure consistent quality for manufacturing prototypes and molds ?

A collaborative approach helps manufacturers better understand your design and how your customers intend to use it. Jointly develop your design, approve at all stages, review manufacturing and third-party quality checks, and make certain there are no quality issues before you approve final production. If quality problems arise during final assembly, it’s much easier to fix small issues than find and fix major problems further down in the process.

How quickly can they produce my prototype or mold?

In terms of turnaround time, manufacturers in Asia have become very competitive. A quick call or email can usually find out how quickly a manufacturer can help produce your prototype or mold. Make sure you ask about lead times for rush orders as well (when necessary). As far as communication goes, most manufacturers speak English well enough to communicate back and forth; however, having samples of your product can help speed up communication if you’re sending it over on snail mail.

Summary

Like all aspects of your business, it’s important to ensure that you’re making an informed decision. What are some factors you should consider when choosing where to manufacture prototypes and molds? This post will walk you through a list of these factors, along with some guidance for how best to take advantage of them.

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