If you’re like most people, when you need a plastic part created for a product, your primary concern is just getting it, so you can get production rolling and get your product out to your customers.
But once you’ve found a supplier, you need to be sure it’s the right supplier to produce your part. How can you know that? Start with three basic questions:
- Can you make the part I want?
- How soon can I get it?
- How much will it cost?
Can you make the part I want?
The first question to ask of any extrusion supplier, this question is not only a great qualifier (if they can’t make the part, you can end the discussion right then) but it can also help you get clarity on the project and what you really need. For example, it could be that the part really isn’t an extrusion part, but rather would be best as a molded part.
Talking to a vendor can both help you see if there is a potential fit and help you understand what creating your desired part entails. For example:
- Single or dual/co-extrusion processes, which may mean devising a bespoke process for the custom part
- Additional fabrication considerations, such as tapered ends or special finishing
Your requirements for your part affect its production, so discussing those, too, with your vendor can help you understand what it will take to create your part. These qualities can include:
- Required strength and durability of the part: How rugged must it be?
- Complexity of the part’s shape: Is it simple or complex? Does it require elaborate cut-outs on its surface?
- Color: Does color matter? If so, what is needed?
- Environmental considerations: Will it be out in the sun, and so require UV resilient material? Will it be used underground and require certain environmental standards?
- Visibility: Is it an interior part, where it isn’t seen and requires no particular exterior finish? Or is it an exterior part, where its visibility requires additional finishing?
How soon can I get it?
Remember the old saying about projects, “Cheap, fast, correct—pick two!” ?
It’s also true in thermoplastic extrusion parts production.
Yes, there are basic amounts of time to create tooling for a part and then produce it. (Going to a local manufacturer with a complex part that you need 1.5 million units of tomorrow will almost without exception get you a response of “no.”)
But in general, when you want your order prioritized so you receive it immediately, you’ll pay more than if you allow the vendor to schedule your project in with other orders. Some vendors will also be more flexible in getting your work scheduled in, so it’s worth researching and definitely worth asking.
How much will it cost?
Together, the answers to the preceding questions will dictate the price of the finished part—a complex part with complicated cut-outs will take more time to produce (and thus cost more) than a part that’s just a simple tube, while a part that’s meant to remain outside 24/7 will require more durable and resilient material (i.e., more expensive) that a part that’s meant to be stored indoors and disposed of after several uses. And either way, if you need the parts tomorrow . . . expect to pay for that convenience.
Based on that, along with the quantities of the part that you need and the timeframe in which you need them, your extrusion vendor should be able to provide you a price for producing them.
CPRO Works with You
Custom Profile Incorporated’s plastic extrusion machines can handle most any plastic request. We work with a wide range of high-quality engineering resins and general-purpose plastic materials, and we can certainly work with you to answer all the questions above to define the exact part you need and the best and least-costly way to produce and deliver it for you.