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Why I prefer US injection molds over China?

I work for an OEM company, and we generally prefer United States injection molds for the following reasons. We have China injection molds in production now, but some of our experiences tend to make us prefer to keep tooling stateside.
  • Mold Design - We tend to get better designed molds in the USA. If the injection mold can be designed in the US and build in China, this has produced superior molds for us.
  • Lead Times - Maybe we just had a bad experience, but one injection mold seemed to take the slow boat across the ocean. The lead time wasn't competitive with a stateside mold.
  • Mold Trial - Generally not possible to be on hand for the initial injection mold trial in China.
  • Mold Modifications - We have gotten better/faster injection mold modifications when the mold was able to be sent back to the original mold maker in the USA. Sending the mold to China to be modified is cost prohibitive, so a 3rd party mold maker has to make the injection mold modifications.
These have been our main issues to date. Most of them are comfort level with tooling happening so far away, and the others are generally lead times. I know that we have often had 3-way conversations with the injection mold maker, molder, and us to optimize part and mold designs. This can also be difficult when the mold maker is in China.

Anyway, if you are a mold buyer, how do you select a reliable mold maker in China? Well, there are couples of things to check:
  • Does the company really exist? (No joke...)
  • Does the company is a trading or a manufacturer?
  • Do they have references? If yes, are they willing to share some of them with us?
  • Which kind of products are they specialized in (I do not believe in guys who can do "everything, no problem")?
  • Which kind of production molds do they have?
  • Which kind of measurement tool and gauges do they have?
  • How often those molds are checked? By who? Do they have certificates?
  • How the workshop is organized? Can you see clearly inside? Do the workers are trained or are they just non-qualified people working around? Do they know the injection molds they are supposed to use? Do they have drawing on their station?
  • Where does the steel come from (local or imported)? Are they able to provide material certificates?
  • Do they test molds? If yes how? Which kind of machine?
  • ...

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