What to Expect From Your Plastic Engineer
Engineering is critical to the success of your product. The process improves upon the design of the product to help both your company and the manufacturer. Your plastic engineer works closely with you and the manufacturing floor to create plastic products that are easily manufactured while continuing to maintain high-quality products that meet the needs of the client.
Before working with a manufacturing company with on-site engineers, it is important to know what to expect from the process and how the process will benefit your company and your product in the long run.
What Does the Plastic Engineering Process Look Like?
The plastic engineering process starts by presenting the product concept to the project engineer and the tooling manager. From there, they review 3D product models and compile advice on how to make the product more conducive to molding and manufacturing. They will also consider how the product can be altered so that less expensive tooling options can be used.
Once the client approves the design changes, different resins are discussed. If a client comes in knowing what resin they want, but are unsure as to what grade would be best for their application, the plastic engineer will help them decide based on the needs of the product.
After the resin is decided, a project quote is presented to the client. If the manufacturer is rewarded with the project, they begin designing the mold. The mold design then needs to be approved by the client. Once they sign off, the steel is ordered and the molds and tooling can be created, taking 12 to 18 weeks to fully complete.
When the molds and tooling are ready, the first shot is done. The client is usually there to see the first part or product manufactured, and if they are happy with it, full production then begins.
What Can Your Plastic Engineer Offer
Source Alternative Resins
There are a few reasons why your plastic engineer will source alternative resins. Generally, supply chain shortages and cost are the primary reasons a different resin will be considered. If the chosen plastic is too expensive or back-ordered, your plastic engineer will discuss different resins that could be a good fit for your application.
However, sometimes there can be failures in production where the chosen resin isn’t working with the application. In these instances, the plastic engineer will re-evaluate the plastic that is being used and find a better fit.
At Port Erie Plastics, we buy millions of pounds of resins yearly, giving our clients and engineers an abundance of materials to choose from. This allows us to save money on manufacturing and material costs, while providing solutions no matter the challenges.
Offer Advice on New Tooling Designs
Some parts are complex, making them more expensive to manufacture and putting them at a greater risk of failure in the production process. Plastic engineers always look to minimize the complexity of the tooling to make manufacturing more efficient. The less complex the part, the less likely it is to be damaged during the manufacturing process and the easier it is to produce.
Offer Advice on Existing Tool Modification
When evaluating existing tooling, engineers are still looking to reduce complexity. The piece will be sent in and evaluated. The engineer will sample the tooling and assess for problem areas, then offer suggestions that can reduce cycle time and lower costs.
Specialization in Automation and Robotics
Many times implementing automation and robotics is discussed during the quoting process. Engineers will discuss the benefits of cutting down on human operators to save labor costs and time while still considering the budget of robotics. The machines are expensive to implement; however, they are efficient and precise, and could save you money in the long run depending on your application.
Benefits of Working with a Plastic Manufacturer with Engineering Capabilities
Partnering with a plastic manufacturer that has in-house engineering capabilities yields various benefits. You get the benefits of working with a plastic engineer without having to have an engineering department at your own company. It is also possible to come in with a design and your ideal resin and the engineers can tweak it to make it more efficient, eliminating the need to fully engineer a piece before bringing it to a manufacturer. You will also have direct contact with a plastic engineer throughout the entire manufacturing process, so you know exactly what is going on and you can ask any questions you need to.
Port Erie’s Engineering Staff is Here for You
At Port Erie, our engineering staff will support you and your project in a variety of ways, including:
- Supplying technical information and expertise throughout the duration of your project
- Providing support from the initial concept to production to the final product
- Mold and part prints and model review
- Making sure your products are production-ready
- Ensuring products meet your needs
- Providing relevant procedures, documentation, and other information for efficient manufacturing
- Quality control
- Monitoring your project throughout the manufacturing process and providing necessary improvement suggestions
Our experienced team of Penn State plastic engineering graduates combines their knowledge with customer service to give each client the best experience possible. Whether you need injection molding services, structural foam molding, mold design, or extrusion, we can make the process as efficient as possible.
Trust Port Erie’s Experienced Engineers with Your Next Plastics Project
Contact our team to see what we can do for your product today.