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Plastic blow molded parts assembled and packaged for shipping.

More Questions to Ask When Choosing a Michigan Plastic Blow Molding Company

Plastic blow molded parts assembled and packaged for shipping.

Plastic blow molded parts assembled and packaged for shipping.

The previous blog entry covered five top questions when researching a Michigan plastic blow molding company. This blog entry covers some of the other considerations when looking for a local plastic blow molding company. We have specified Michigan blow molding company because that is where we are located. However the information isn’t specific to any one state or province. Blow molding companies in southwest Michigan and blow molding companies in China and elsewhere can held to the same standard.

  1. Combine molds for a variety of plastic shapes – Separate mold pieces combined for many different sizes & shapes.  Blow molding may not be the best option for your part, or possibly one element of you part requires blow molding and another part is best suited for injection molding. A consultation with an experienced engineer can offer the most efficient applications to produce a high quality product.
  2. Location – Finding a plastic blow molding manufacturer that has submitted the lowest cost but is located out of state or the country can quickly lose its’ advantage when packaging, freight costs and lead times increase. If the facility you choose has a considerable cost advantage but is located in a nearby state and once freight and shipping is determined still results in a cost savings and meeting shipment scheduling is guaranteed to meet turn around times, close proximity may not be a concern. Many Michigan manufacturers require tier suppliers to be within a specific mile radius which limits options in some cases. If for instance, you are an appliance manufacturer you may not have rules for suppliers location but the convenience of having your parts manufacturers close can reduce cost and valuable lead time.
  3. Turn around – As noted above with the location, turn around time can be critical in the manufacturing industry. The more time required to manufacture parts the more cost per part, thus increasing the cost of the final product. When comparing press capabilities, a penny difference per part of one million parts on a slower press adds up quickly. Considerations must be taken with the speed of design, prototyping, changes, production and fulfillment. If molded parts can be completed within other facilities at the same level of quality at a much faster speed it can reflect in a huge cost savings to the customer and more sales to the manufacturer.
  4. Assembly and Packaging – Often times blow molded or injection molded parts are just one piece of a larger item. For instance blow molding for manufacturers would include the tires on the 4-wheeler tote-a-long in the photo above . However, in this example the body of the product also requires blow molding. Bringing the components together to a completed product in one facility instead of shipping parts to be blow molded in one spot then assembled in another, then packaged in another location is time consuming and expensive. SPI Blow Molding and SPI Industries in Michigan produce the plastic molded parts, assemble, package and ship to the manufacturer or directly to the wholesaler or distributor.  Other items such as food bins that need micro sized parts added and attached can be assembled in SPI blow molding and injection molding facilities. All products will need to be packaged whether products are individual parts, partially assembled or complete products ready for sale. Determining packaging is an important step in the final stages of the manufacturing process. How products will be packaged, from large boxes that will be transported on skids, to small items placed in plastic bags and then into cardboard boxes for shipping or individually into customer provided point of purchase packaging all adds cost and time.
  5. Warehouse direct shipping – Once the plastic molded parts are complete and packaged what is the best method to get products to the next stage? Options from the blow molding manufacturer and injection mold manufacturer for shipping or delivery of items include shipping to warehouses, production facilities, or customer’s business. Some blow molding companies like SPI Blow Molding, offer warehousing and factory direct shipping, and even direct to retailer or end user shipping. This is a valuable service for companies who do not have a fleet of delivery trucks or a fleet service they retain. Keeping manufacturing, assembly, packaging and shipping within one facility reduces cost, staff, and liability. Time savings include, reduced order tracking, order placement, product receiving, staff management, reduced time monitoring and tracking of spending and payroll.

Have we answered all of your questions on blow molding? Hardly! Once you are ready, give us a call or shoot us an email. We can talk to you about your specific product or part and offer suggestions for the best production solution to fit your product application and your time and budget. Meanwhile take a peak at the article about our expansion covered by Plastics News!

example of plastic blow molded part for a toy

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Michigan Plastic Blow Molding Company

example of plastic blow molded part for a toy

Plastic blow molded part for a toy wagon.

Plastic blow molding allows product manufacturers to mass produce items with precision and cost efficiency. Utilizing skillful design and engineering is the first step in developing high quality plastic blow molded parts with lower production cost. There are many other considerations when choosing a blow molding company for your plastic molded parts.

  1. Standard & custom molds – If the blow molded part you need is a universal design such as bottles or jars there are often standard molds that can be used. Utilizing these readily available standard molds reduces time and cost in development. Unique shapes that require custom molds add additional steps to the blow molding process. Design, fabrication, prototyping, fine tuning and creation of the final mold takes time and increases cost. The benefits of developing a custom mold that will be used time and time again for a unique part will reflect savings in the long run. Attempting to fit a custom shape to fit the constraints of standard molds is often not feasible or can require changes in other parts of the end product to produce a high quality functioning part.
  2. Prototype – Prototyping helps you perfect your design before you move into the higher cost stage of production. Engineers develop a design that meets the part specifications and ensures process ability. Engineers create molds, fixtures and product designs on computer aided design (CAD) systems. Dependent on timeframe and budget prototypes can be created in a variety of stages to suit your needs. From standard engineering to a 3-D plastic molded part or a prototype with final finishes in place from chrome, to textures, to final coloring, etc. You can choose what stages of review that is required for your project from concept models to functional prototypes.  A popular prototyping option is 3-D printing. With quick results combined with inexpensive prototyping material costs, 3-D prototyping on 3D printers is revolutionizing product design and accelerating manufacturing lead time.
  3. Plastic Blow Molding Types: The three types of blow molding include Extrusion Molding, Injection Molding, Stretch Blow Molding. All of the blow molding processes include melting of resin otherwise known as plasticizing. They all have inflation and cooling phases within a mold and all are ejected from molds. All three have specific application advantages. Many blow molding manufacturers offer more than one options. It is important to discuss pros and cons of each process for the application of your plastic blow molded part. Generally extrusion blow molding can offer lower costs because of the lower cost of material per unit weight and is well suited for low production runs. Injection molding is capable of producing small intricate parts and more than one material can be sued when utilizing co-injection molding. Stretch molding works great for holding beverages and is used extensively in PET water bottles, seams are less visible or nonexistent.
  4. Industries – Blow molding serves the consumer and industrial product industries. Products for use by consumers are a large sector of blow molded products produced every day. From food storage, beverage bottles and cups, to agricultural sprayers, and garden equipment, games, beauty products, decorative gift items, household products such as chair bases used in furniture manufacturing, etc. Some blow molding companies focus on niche products or categories. It is not uncommon for blow molders and injection molders, to focus on a single industry, such as agricultural, lawn and garden or appliances. SPI Blow Molding and SPI Industries found combining these plastic molding service they could offer a more comprehensive package of solutions for their customers.
  5. Materials and construction – There is an enormous variety of plastic resins to choose from. A wide range of resins have become available over the years to fill the ever increasing demands as plastic part diversity has exploded. The function and finish characteristics of a part dictate the type of resin best suited for the specific part. You will need a molder and material supplier working in concert to solve the most difficult applications.  Do you need extreme light weight?  Do you need food grade that can tolerate high heat environments?  Do you need color fast UV stabilization, or a resin flexible enough to form a multitude of bellows shaped parts? Do you need a hard plastic resin for a theatre seat with double walled construction? From temperature, color, impact, flexibility, and life span an experienced plastic blow molder can provide guidance and recommend the best resin for your application.


Did you realize there was so much information about plastic blow molding? There are actually plenty more and we’ll be covering them in the next blog entry. Be sure to check in. Meanwhile, what other questions are considering as you are looking for a plastic blow molding company? Please post them below and check back for answers or contact us directly, we’re happy to help.

Polycarbonate Packaging – It’s only the beginning

Polycarbonate water dispenser blow moldingAre you in need of a material for your new invention or updated product that has the look and feel of glass and is also strong, durable and bioinert? Do you need the material to be injection molded or blow molded? Polycarbonate plastic meets all of these requirements and more. Polycarbonate packaging is quickly replacing glass containers because of it’s durability, light weight, heat resistance and biologically inert properties.

Physical Benefits of Polycarbonate :

  • high transparency
  • glass like feel
  • good electrical insulator
  • heat resistant
  • flame retardant
  • high impact resistant
  • low scratch resistant
  • dimensional stability
  • lightweight (as opposed to glass)
  • strong
  • durable
  • biologically inert

Because polycarbonate is highly transparent to visible light with a better light transmission than many kinds of glass it is highly sought out for use in food packaging. An example of a polycarbonate packaging solution is a mid-Michigan company that specializes in bulk coffee for sale. Blow molded polycarbonate cylinders dispense coffee beans in self-serve stations in grocery stores throughout the Great Lakes region and the midwest. The ability to provide a container that is impact resistant, transparent, and safe for food storage is key when it will be used in high traffic areas and contain food goods.

As high of an appeal the transparency factor and FDA food grade polycarbonate is polycarbonate food packaging is just one use for this versatile plastic. Many industries and products that utilize molded plastic rely on the special qualities polycarbonate offers. Polycarbonate can be used in medical applications because of it’s ability to be sterilized using steam at 240 degree. Also niche applications like eyewear protect from UV light

From construction materials and automotive accessories to sunglasses, industrial grade polycarbonate is a highly versatile material that can also be extruded through blow molding processes, injection molding processes and more transformational techniques.

blow molded exterior lamp shade

Light Cover (lens)

Industry Served with Polycarbonate Packaging:

  • Furniture – stadium seating lighting,
  • Appliance – refrigerator shelving, washer dryer parts
  • Automotive Industry – dome lights, headlamp lenses, lighting lenses, windscreens, visors for ATV’s and
  • Consumer Goods – drinking glasses, luggage, dishes,
  • Food and Beverage Industry – water bottles, liquids, condiments, etc.
  • Technology – Data Storage, DVDs, compact discs, and BluRay® discs
  • Electronic Components – e-readers, telecommunications, smart phones
  • Construction Industry – noise barrier walls, green house sheeting,
  • Lawn and Garden Industries – tables, water fountains..
  • Medical Applications – sterile pharmaceutical packaging and utensils

These days plastic, Blow molding, and Injection Molding news is often centered around the PET bottles and the great value polycarbonate, brings to packaging but it’s uses truly seem to be limited only by our imaginations. From safety glass panels, UV protected eyewear, automotive interior parts, and drinking glasses at your favorite brew pub, the varied applications polycarbonite lends itself to offer more opportunities to manufacturers in all industries in Michigan, the mid-west and throughout the United States.

Innovative blow molding polycarbonate packaging received rave reviews at this year’s plastics industry awards. Details of the winning designs are covered in this issue of Plastic News.

Give SPI Blow Molding or SPI Industries Injection Molding a call today to see if polycarbonate is the best solution for your newly designed product. Our rates are competitive and our quality can’t be beat.

Click for a quick quote on your blow molding project or injection molding project.

3d printer plastic prototype a type of prototype for your plastic part

Benefits of 3D Printers for Plastic Prototypes

3d printer plastic prototype for plastic manufacturingDo you have a product invention that you think is ready to go to market? Whether you are an established company or a start-up entrepreneur manufacturing plastic prototypes can be costly and time consuming. Historically many new product design concepts never hit the market because of the time and expense involved in creating the prototype to prove the value to investors or stockholders.

Most of the product inventors on Shark Tank would never be able to step foot on stage if they had to rely on traditional plastic manufacturing methods to make their first product prototype! Fortunately the techies have come to rescue to reduce plastic prototype manufacturing costs. Whether your product prototype will be used in the furniture, agricultural, lawn and garden or even appliance or automotive industry a 3-D printer can be a game changer. Inventors and companies with new product lines can now have detailed prototypes without the expense and time commitment of a full production.

Benefits of a 3D Printer for Plastic Prototypes:

  • considerably less cost
  • considerably less time to produce
  • no need to secure factory space
  • no production line set up
  • no jigs or fixtures or expensive dies required
  • low cost for supplies / prototype material
  • reduce or eliminate shipping and procurement cost
  • plastic prototypes can be created in less than a day

The 3D printer specifications for SPI Blow Molding and SPI Injection molding can be found here. A 3D printer can be the solution for many inventions or newly revised plastic parts. Whether the finished part or finished product will require blow molding or injection molding, SPI can provide a quick and inexpensive prototype in your hands within days. All that’s needed are the specifications for the plastic part or plastic product you want to manufacture. SPI will create a design based on your specifications and develop it for the 3D printer and you will have a prototype.

Once a 3D plastic prototype part is tested fine tuning can be done to the design until a final prototype is approved for manufacturing. Production of plastic parts and products can be handled through the SPI Injection Molding plant or SPI Blow Molding plant depending on the product design.

Inventors and designers rejoice – you don’t have to break the bank to get your new product to market when a 3D printer and plastic prototypes allow you to create mock ups inexpensively and quickly until you achieve the perfect product you envisioned.