The Washington-based Plastics Industry Association has released the 2023 Customs & Practices of the Moldmaking Industry Guide to reflect the terminology, technology and protocols that have emerged since the last revision 27 years ago.
First issued in the early 1970s, the guide was overhauled and modernized by the trade group's Moldmakers division as part of a continuing effort to improve practices benefiting the industry.
The latest version offers information to assist buyers seeking guidance about plastic injection mold procurement. It benefits mold makers by providing descriptions and terminology to help standardize and streamline the process with customers.
The cost of a mold typically ranges from $25,000 for prototype tooling to $500,000 and above for complex tooling for high cavitation. The guide defines the various mold classifications starting with "Class 101" tooling, which is built for extremely high production and made of premium-grade materials for 1 million or more cycles.
Glenn Starkey, president of Progressive Components, a Wauconda, Ill.-based company that sells components and monitoring systems for mold making and molding, oversaw the guide update with Toby Bral of MSI Mold Builders Inc. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Camille Sackett of Accede Mold & Tool Co. Inc. in Rochester, N.Y.
Starkey gave an example of one of the guide revisions.
"It has been common for decades for the industry to use terms such as Class 101 molds, but the guideline that carried those definitions was terribly out of date," Starkey said, adding that he and his committee colleagues weren't updating the document "from some ivory tower."
"This was attacked by myself and Camille and Toby, both who are deeply technical and constantly are working with tooling engineers who buy molds," Starkey said.
The trio also received input from the American Mold Builders Association and had put out a call to the industry at large.
Jeffrey Linder, director of industry standards for the Plastics Industry Association, coordinated the mold guide project.
"The result is the sharing of best practices for dimensional tolerancing, payment terms and other topics that can get contentious without a guideline for all parties to be able to refer to," Starkey said.
The guide will help make sure there are clear expectations of a mold from both the purchaser and the mold manufacturer, according to Bral.
"It's a great guide for those new to the industry to know what is typically included and what is not, how the quoting and buying process works, and what some of the terminology is that they are sure to come across," Bral said. "Even if you are not new to the industry, it is useful to refer to as questions arise throughout the mold procurement, design and manufacturing processes."
The 17-page guide is complimentary for trade group members and can be purchased for $30 by nonmembers.
"We're pleased to release the updated customs and practices guide for the mold making industry," Whitney Taveras, director of industry engagement for the equipment division, said in a news release. "This updated guide ensures mold makers will continue to uphold the highest standards and practices that benefit the entire industry."
Founded in 1937, the Plastics Industry Association supports the entire supply chain from material and equipment suppliers to processors and recyclers in the $468 billion U.S. plastics industry that employs more than 1 million workers.