The rules of working with Chinese mold manufacturers

Picture of plastic injection moldAs you know, there is ton of mold business organization in China. They might be factories, traders, or sourcing agencies. Their size ranges from few people to hundred workers. Certainly they comes with totally different cost, the larger manufacturer, the higher cost they would offer. On the other hand, quality is another critical concern for all of those who are looking for a mold manufacturer in China. Definitely to say, the large size manufacturers run with high quality system. Since they put quality high priority instead of others.

But how to find a suitable mold manufacturer for your business? I think this a hard job for most of foreign businessmen who wanted to source a Chinese mold factory to produce their product. Here below I can share some important rules for your reference as below:


Step 1: Based on your business you need to figure out what level of mold manufacturers you would like to work for. If your products requires high quality, standard operation system, and large facility. Then you have to find a middle-larger factories. If not, you have should find a smaller one with less people, cheaper cost, and easier communication.

Step 2: Sourcing the potential mold suppliers from search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo) B2B platform, or mouth-word( people around you to share). and list a matrix information on the manufacturer’s size, location, contact information, people, and cost.

Step 3: Based on the matrix information you listed, you have to sort out top 5 mold manufacturers you expected to know more about them. And make an appointment with them to have a factory visit in person.

Step 4: Once a mold manufacturer is chosen, you need to create a comprehensive NDA agreement to protect your IP, as well draft a comprehensive OEM agreement. Ensure the agreement includes clarity on payment terms, penalties for non-compliance.

The document should explain in minute detail every aspect of the order at hand from raw materials, production and delivery times, logistics, quantities, defect allowances, quality standards, production details and final product expectations, and protect from any quality control regimes and standards and every other possible positive or negative contingency.

Step 5: Require the mold manufacturer you chosen for a quality control plan and weekly project update, it can strongly shorten the lead-time and control the risk of project faulty.

Step 6: Let your manufacturer to provide you a main communication window, normally we call them project managers or salesmen, who speak at least good English without any barriers.


After you followed the rules mentioned above , you could avoid 90% of business risk of working with a Chinese mold manufacturer. If you still have any other question, Inno Molding team can help you freely.

Introduction of Common Mold Material

mold steel material pictureI can guess some of us may not be so familiar with those mold material that your supplier quoted. This is why I would like to share some common mold materials which used in the mold manufacturing industry.

First of all, let’s have a glance of the common mold material as:P20, 718, NAK80,S136, 738,SKD61. And then we can discuss one by one for their properties as below:


P20 is a famous Chinese local steel for the production of plastic mold and die casting. As P20 steel has good machinability and mirror grinding performance. It can be directly used for mold processing, and has the characteristics of good dimensional stability, pre-hardened steel to meet the general needs of the mold life of 500,000 cycles.


The material of 718 is very similar to the P20, but 718 is more competitive because of its better hardenability, superior performance, you can make large size, high-grade plastic mold parts. With the development of plastic mold, there will be more and better updated to improve the mold steel appears, 718 is commonly used in the manufacture of TV chassis, washing machine, refrigerator shell, bucket and so on. On the other hand, 718 is widely used in die casting mold and blowing mold. Especially 718 can be used for mirror polish mold in application of plastic mold of PA、POM、PS、PE、PP、ABS, and it’s mold life can meet 800,000 cycles.


NAK80 is a high quality mold steel manufactured by Japan for its excellent hardness of HRC37~43, what’s more NAK80 is friendly to polish, EDM,and machining.NAK80 can meet European and US clients’ requirement, it’s widely used for automotive parts mold, printer plastic parts, and other high quality plastic parts. Normally NAK80 can meet a mold life for at least 500,000 cycles.


S136 is an economical mold material in the mold industry. But it reach a great maintenance property as S136 can be stocked in normal work condition for a long time, never get rusty

S136 mechanical characteristic:

  • excellent corrosion resistance
  • excellent throwing optical rotation
  • excellent wear resistance
  • excellent machinability
  • quenching with excellent stability


738 is a pre-hardened plastic mold steel from Buderus in Germany, for 738 perform a hardness standards 29 ~ 33HRC 738 . As a result of the addition of nickel, to improve its hardenability, large cross-section thick plate hardness distribution. Mainly used in large-scale plastic mold, mold, such as car bumpers, TV shell mold, and so on. (PS) and ultra-non-quenching (ABS), etc.

738 steel Features: Excellent processing performance, easy cutting and polishing and electric erosion. 738 steel by adding nickel components, hardness uniformity, with excellent processing performance and polishing performance. Mainly used in high-demand plastic mold, suitable for televisions, fax machines, home appliances plastic parts, auto parts and other requirements of a certain polished plastic mold. The following are the same as the ”

738H German plastic mold steel 738H is based on the 738 plus hardening improved, the steel by adding nickel components, hardness uniformity, with excellent processing performance and polishing performance


SKD61 is a Japanese brand of hot work die steel, it is the most widely used hot work die steel, SKD61 is similar to the US mold steel H13, and equal to South Korea STD61

SKD61 mold steel is consist of silicon, chromium, molybdenum, vanadium medium alloy hot work die steel quenched, tempered after the organization of fine, fine grain of martensite, basically distributed with small carbon, with Good comprehensive mechanical properties, and good hardenability, more suitable for manufacturing large size, complex shape of the mold.

High temperature strength and toughness, good wear resistance, easy cutting; 2, SKD61 is a very good strength, toughness and heat resistance of the thermal die steel, in recent years with the development of isotropic products and increasingly High toughness and other aspects of development, it can make the mold life longer, more stable performance, and easy processing, heat treatment deformation small.

SKD61 is the most widely used in aluminum and zinc die-casting mold materials. It is made of high temperature resistant alloy steel containing tungsten component. It is suitable for hot work, aluminum, magnesium, zinc, copper alloy die-casting mold, cutting knife, scissors and heat Forging action, plastic mold, hot reamer, rolling knife, general hot forging die, hot bolt mold, hot various tools.




The industrial 4.0 for the mold manufacturing industry

4.0 for the mold manufacturing industryAs some of us may know, industry 4.0 is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It’s widely used in many industries. So does for mold manufacturing. Here let’s talk about something about it as below:

I have worked for a very well known company in the mold and manufacturing sector for 16 years. At first, the main design, and later to 2002, we received a large order. At that time asked us to set each mold is 7 days, the accuracy of the mm level, to the global exchange. In 2002, this task is a big challenge, and a large number of 200 months a month with the number of molds, each set of mold requirements, that year is also a challenge, lack of staff experience. At that time I thought, if in accordance with conventional practice, can not reach the boss’s ideas, since then, we began the digital factory planning to better reduce manpower and improve efficiency.
From 2003 to 2006, we became the company’s top global die supplier. Regardless of speed, quality, delivery, we have achieved a significant lead, and become the standard of its global suppliers. This is a very easy thing, but we did it.

2, mold factory faced by the challenge
First of all, let us analyze the challenges faced by the mold factory:
Mold factory requirements with each passing day, and the difficulty of mold is getting higher and higher. 20 years ago, the mold is very simple, not now so complicated. Now the mold, in many cases there will be two-color, to enhance the precision and so on requirements.
Is the delivery. 20 years ago, a set of mold delivery may be 30 days, then shortened to 20 days, and then my boss took over, the delivery will be shortened to 7 days, the efficiency of a substantial increase in delivery significantly compressed.
There is talk about why the software is only done in China, other countries are not. Here is a great feature, all of China’s mold factory size is greater than Japan and Europe, I managed a factory, there are 2200 employees, 24 hours to start. In addition to China, this is not seen in other countries. The scale is so great that you need to consider how to effectively manage and control the performance of the entire plant, which is a very important issue.
A new generation of young people are often reluctant to work in the factory, how can we produce such a beautiful product like today’s iphone, I want to use the software, no other better way.

3, mold development process and technical difficulty
Mold factory is a highly technical place, from CAD, CAM to a variety of processing technology, CNC, EDM, wire cutting also includes measurement technology, but also contains all the molding technology. How to set up the formation of the conditions? How to quote? The whole process of project management? How to carry out quality control? This is a complex industry, contains a lot of technology and content.
How to manage the process, how to achieve a combination of software automation, how to combine with the professional knowledge, as well as the integration of all the IO and monitoring part of the management of all the machines, so as to form a smart manufacturing.

4, intelligent mold manufacturing system
Intelligent manufacturing, from the beginning of the project, to the molding test model, contains a lot of things, a very important part is the combination of the actual situation, industrialization and information integration. The point is that if we do not start from the model control, there is no way to do the whole plant management, can not be automated into reality.
From the CAD model to the paperless: CAD modeling, give each CAD model with different processing accuracy requirements, surface roughness requirements, in the CAPP process design, but also all the process information added to the CAD Model, a link to pass down, you can reduce the need for repeated work, while the need to link part of the system through the automatic reach, which is the reason for the idea of this software platform.

5, digital mold manufacturing system and intelligent software technology applications
Through this system, we will mold the manufacturing time from 16 days to 7 days. This is due to our system, the change in processing equipment technology, from the Hexagon measurement equipment and Makino machine equipment to help us reduce the mold delivery by 45%, staff training time is also significantly shortened, which is intelligent manufacturing We bring the benefits.

6, how to measure how to incorporate mold automation
In addition to the mold manufacturing we have talked about, we have to consider the integration of mold intelligent manufacturing data, the manufacturing industry, what kind of change can be generated?
We can not simply understand the measurement is the measurement accuracy. Measurements enable measurement automation. From the CAD model’s accuracy requirements and process requirements, the system can understand where to measure, resulting in a real measurement procedure.

7, automatic measurement solution
Our complete solution, in addition to the program, also includes integration with the site. Through the RFID read, you can download the program, automatically generate test reports.

8, mold development process and technology blind spot
The extended application of the measurement also includes monitoring a lot of things, such as:
The stability of the machine
Understand the quality of the machine distribution, whether it needs to be maintained, whether the need for laser correction
Found that the machine is abnormal adjustment, tooling is stable, the knife is no problem, this is the measurement can bring us
As we talk about the discharge conditions, discharge conditions of each section need to choose. Through the collection of data, found the law, the system can replace the artificial selection. Through a variety of data, such as electrode processing, we have to understand the contact area of ​​the electrode and the required VDI specifications and depth, all the data together, the association and integration, we can automatically select the entire discharge conditions, Each machine, and can be continuously optimized. In this way, can bring changes to the entire industry.
In addition, the EDM process, for example, do an electrode, the electrode to do bad for many reasons, such as the Z axis anomaly, X / Y deviation, gap anomalies, C axis problems and so on … … all of these problems together, you May need an old master, one of the inspection. Through our system analysis, you can put all the data out, the precise positioning of the problem. This is the application of the data for us.

9,3D Measurement Equipment
Many people here may not have applied PMI-3D annotations, this 3D markings in many CAD models are present, on behalf of the product module information. With this information, you can bring the tolerance information in the automated markup section. In this way, is it possible to carry out automatic measurement without the need for human programming. This is where I think the future measuring machine needs to be improved.
In addition, we carried out the automatic measurement, many of which are measured on the point cloud, the deviation of each point vector position, whether the future measurement of geometric tolerance can be measured, the measurement report three-dimensional display. Now the factory has a variety of measuring equipment, they come from different manufacturers, whether we can have a standard language platform. The other is about the measurement of optical images, but also need more automatic. There are three coordinates and the measurement center on the processing center, how to achieve the exchange of measurement procedures and results. This is the part of the space where I think there is room for improvement in the future.

10, cloud technology applications
It is important that the future will focus on cloud applications. We know that the mold factory has large, medium and small variety of scale, their performance are different, large mold factory has a good equipment and personnel, but not necessarily better than the small factory performance. Through the cloud platform, to save the skills of small and medium enterprises to help us to improve.

11, automatic measurement solution
Our goal is to make all the technology into a platform to take advantage of, including CNC, EDM, CMM … the future, this is our bottom information, everyone can connect together, all the processing technology and knowledge together to help Each user quickly applied, while the CAD model information to join.
Our system includes wire cutting, CNC electrode program, measurement program, EDM program, all realized automation. Do not need man-made intervention, the use of automated methods, the use of geometric recognition, coupled with the logic of the library to achieve these functions, and human operation results are similar. If the future process of processing an electrode is very cheap, you do not need to spend manpower, so that the industry has changed. Five-axis machining simulation, previously also through the operation of people, and now can use the cloud platform in the background to operate, so that changed the entire industrial environment model.
Facing the future, we will have more innovative models that generate more SOHO families, and they will change the entire mold industry. In the surrounding, we can also education, training, customer support and even the establishment of trading platform, which is the mold manufacturing industry caused by changes in the cloud. This change is not only in China, but it will change the future of the whole world mold

The Status of Mold Industry

Everybody knows that China is the worldwide factory which manufactures most of commodity using in the world. Certainly plastic mold is an essential industry for many products. So here we would like to discuss some points about China mold manufacturing industry.

How Chinese mold industry begins?

mold manufacturing statusSince 1978 Chinese economy reformed and opened the door to the world, Chinese government released lots of policy to attract foreign companies to run factory or business in China mainland. At the very early stage, relative to say, plastic injection mold technology was an advanced invention in China. It really can help business people to earn good money since mold industry is high profit business. Especially Taiwan and Hongkong people started OEM manufacturing business earlier than other Chinese mainland people, since they take good advantage of language at that time , few of Chinese mainland people speak English. This is how Taiwan and Hongkong people took orders from oversea(USA, European, Japan…) and set up their own factories in China

Where are mainly the Chinese mold manufacturers located?

Whatever in the past 40 years or the time being, Chinese mold manufacturers are mainly sprayed in the Southern China and North-Eastern China, those provinces are GuangDong, Fujiang,Shahai, Jiansu, and Zhejiang. You know China had the population and land advantage, this is how China takes manufacturing industry from others advanced countries in the world.

If you had even worked with Chinese plastic mold manufacturers, you may feel Gondguang(Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Dongguang)provide much higher quality other Chinese manufacturers outside these regions. Perhaps you know, the mold manufacturers in Zhejiang province can really offer you low cost services, but they produce less quality products.

When you start with a new project and wanted to source a low mold manufacturing in China, personally I suggest you should try Shenzhen or DongGuang mold manufacturers, they have strong mold manufacturing background and always provide high quality products, meanwhile they are honest to clients instead of other mold manufacturers.

Once you have any problem in finding a Chinese mold manufacturer or get any project to run, please don’t hesitate to contact Innomolding company to help.