Purchasing tooling is often one of the most expensive aspects of the part production process. Depending on the size, complexity, and material of a part, tooling alone can cost upward of hundreds of thousands of dollars. For businesses on a budget, there are fortunately many ways to reduce exorbitant tooling costs. Here are some of the most effective tips on how to decrease tooling costs of a part.
Opt for Aluminum Tooling Over Steel
One of the most impactful ways to reduce part tooling costs is to opt for an aluminum tool. In comparison to steel tooling, aluminum costs a fraction of the price. While some manufacturing processes, such as injection molding, require durable steel tooling to withstand the high temperatures and pressures used throughout the process, such durable tooling isn’t always needed. Manufacturing processes such as reaction injection molding require much lower temperatures and pressures which makes aluminum tooling a viable and advantageous option.
Minimize Tool Changes
Another tip on how to decrease tooling costs of a part is to minimize tool changes. Tool changes require the manufacturing process to stop which often incurs added costs. To keep tooling costs as low as possible, determine how many times tool changes occur that cause the machine to stop. Then, try to minimize such changes as much as possible.
Increase Parting Line Angles
The parting lines on the part that you design can also have a significant increase in tooling costs. Parting lines that have steeper angles make it more challenging to fit two molded halves together. Due to the extra care that must be taken, such angles typically increase the tooling cost of the part. By making parts that have parting line eagles of 10° or more off the line of draw, you can make the process of fitting the two molded halves together easier and minimize costs.
Simplify Part Design
If possible, simplifying the design of a part can greatly help decrease tooling costs. The more complex the geometry of a part is, the more intricate the tooling will need to be. Needless to say, creating more elaborate tooling costs far more beneficial than creating a simpler tool. As such, if you have the option, consider simplifying the geometry of your part to keep tooling costs lower.