I get several calls a month from people at various companies looking for a ``good'' molder. They want me to provide them with a list of the good molders. Since recommending a good molder to an unknown person is like recommending a ``good'' movie or a ``good'' restaurant, I tend not to name names. But here's what I will do. I will help you discover for yourself just exactly what a good molder really is.
First, let's find out what kind of parts you want this good molder to mold. Are they critical-care medical parts? Are they tight-tolerance computer components? Are they nursery-quality flower pots? Do they weigh 2 grams or 2 pounds? Do your parts need a clean room? A clean environment? Does it matter? What about quality requirements? Do your parts require 100 percent inspection? What about packaging requirements? Can these parts be thrown into a box or must they be individually wrapped in protective covers and layered?
What about shipping requirements? Are you on a just-in-time system? Does your schedule change as often as the menu at Rosie's Roadkill Restaurant?
Now, let's talk about your definition of a good molder. Do you believe a good molder is one that gives you perfect parts at cheap prices? Is it one that jumps through hoops whenever you call and never gives you any flak about who should pay for mold changes or repairs?
All too often I hear that from OEMs. Sometimes I find out they're changing molders be-cause their current molder wants a price increase to cover the increased cost of resin. (How absolutely unreasonable!) Or they think they can get a better price from another molder down the road. (Which they probably can if all they're looking for is price.)
Rarely is it because the molder is shipping bad parts, or not shipping on time.
So, here's what a good molder is: Good molders know their costs to manufacture. Good molders make a fair profit because that's the only way they can stay in business and continue serving their customers with state-of-the-art equipment. Good molders produce parts that exactly meet customer requirements. And good molders have customers who know what it is they require - exactly.
Goldsberry is a Plastics News correspondent based in Phoenix.