USA and China
Our mold tooling is generally made by our Chinese partners. We have experience in making molds, however for our custom molding operation
Chinese molds are far less expensive (sometimes ¼ the cost) and their methods differ somewhat from US mold making.
Chinese molds built for running in China are built differently than US molds, however, China has been building molds for many countries,
US included. They have over the years changed their methods, being willing to adhere to certain specifications required by the customer.
When we import a new customer mold, we ask for certain things that we expect, for example hardened inserts (molding surfaces), US waterline
practices (designed differently to be leak resistant), and any other special needs we require depending on the mold or the machine
of ours we expect to use for that part. Because of our requirements, Chinese molds built for our operation are modestly more expensive
than Chinese molds built to run in China.
In the US, we like to have a mold that will run unattended, if possible, so machine techs can monitor several machines. So, we need molds
that are more robust and reliable to avoid US labor costs.
In China, you will often see one or more operators on nearly every machine, in addition to the processing techs. What drives this is the
low cost of labor.
Molding in China v. Molding at Shadow’s Ridge
There are advantages to molding production in both locations, each depending on customer needs:
Production in China makes sense when the mold is first built, this allows for any new mold issues to be addressed by the original mold
makers, allows customers to make design changes at low cost, and puts enough product at the customer to allow for the relocation time
of the mold to Shadow’s Ridge when production is to be done here. There are also quantity considerations. If the lifetime quantity
of parts is low or unknown, it may not make sense to pay to have it moved. Also, labor intensive production can favor leaving the mold
Production in the US makes sense when it is mandated to be produced here (Made in the USA), frequent runs, subsequent secondary operations
done at Shadow’s Ridge, cost of overseas shipping, logistical problems, etc.
Quality is rarely an issue; our Chinese associates do very careful inspection as do we.