What is the typical lead time for the fabrication of an injection mold?
The lead time can vary greatly and depends on the complexity of the mold and the shop's workload. We have built a variety of tools with lead times ranging from a few days to several weeks.
The manufacturing lead time is inclusive of the lead time for the materials and components necessary for the tool assembly. Molds that require custom components will have longer lead times.
Special surface finishes, textures, treatments, or coatings will add lead time.
A reliable estimate of lead time can be provided only upon evaluation of the part requirements.
Lead times are always based on our workload in the shop and what is involved with the fabrication of the mold. A simple mold can be completed in 2-4 weeks. A complex mold in 6-8 weeks. A prototype aluminum mold in 2-3 weeks possibly again depending on complexity. However, if the shop is busy the fabrication may not begin for 2-8 weeks from the time the purchase order is received.
If the part is designed already we can start mold design immediately. Then we have to get it in our schedule. Usually 6-8 weeks on a mold done in our shop. If built overseas, add another 6-8 weeks with transportation included in the 6-8 weeks.
If the part is not designed, figure approximately 2 weeks with back and forth between the client and designer if there is a good response time between the two. If a lot of components need to be incorporated into the design then 4-5 weeks usually is sufficient.
We can usually sample a new mold within a week after completion because we know when it will finish and can get it into the schedule before it is actually completed. Special colors cannot usually be in the sample run due to their lead times.