Outsourcing production and component manufacturing to other countries, like China, is a go-to option as OEMs consider lowering costs and increasing margins. So when the topic of Accumold vs. Offshore molders comes up, engineers want to know the difference. Anyone can tell you they’re better, but where’s the data?
Micro Molding Tolerances and Scalability
Generally speaking, the most important topic when comparing Accumold vs. offshore molders is scale and tolerances. Overseas molders can certainly replicate smaller injection molding and in some cases touch on micro molding, but when it comes to scalability and delivering on extreme tolerances they falter.
Many of these companies can prototype extremely small components in the lab, but when it comes time to scale and produce they fall short. Our customers report when it comes time to move to production these companies can’t hold the tolerances they promise. This realization forces the customer and engineering team to relax the tolerances, or risk paying a much higher price for parts, due to poor yields.
When considering Accumold vs Offshore molders, it’s important to know we warrant our tools for 1 million shots and there are never surprises when we quote to customers. We quote everything upfront and our tooling or part price doesn’t change unless the customer makes requests/changes that increase costs. For example, if we have to add a secondary operation like annealing, etc.
Tolerances and scalability aren’t the only things to consider when comparing Accumold vs Offshore molders, however.
Micro Mold Tooling
When using molders located throughout Asia there are also tooling and intellectual property concerns as well. In many cases, the tooling isn’t done in-house but outsourced from the production site. This means many OEMs don’t know who is actually building their tool. This can quickly cause a production issue.
It’s not unusual in the tooling process to run into unexpected challenges. When that happens, our quality, automation, engineering and tooling teams work together to find a solution. We are very good with DFM, tooling lead times, and are vertically integrated with Tooling, Automation, and Production. 3rd party tool builders takes more time to communicate and collaboration is a struggle. Outsourced tooling isn’t only a matter of collaboration and problem solving however, but also a matter of intellectual property.
Intellectual Property Concerns
When considering Accumold vs Offshore molders, loss of Intellectual Property (IP) is a major concern for US companies. Any strategic components built outside are at risk of not being secured. We’ve all heard the cases where a tool you paid for is copied, to make parts domestically or copy the tool to compete against their own US customers.
An OEMs IP is extremely safe here at Accumold. We don’t share our micro molding IP, we don’t share our technology, and we don’t even share who we do business with. The only parts we show at trade shows are done with customer permission and blessing—even with legacy parts. (This also means, the most amazing projects, parts, and companies we are working on, you will never know about.)
Final Determination: Accumold vs
Accumold has become the world leader in micro molding beacuse we have a world-class tool room, pull off the most complex projects imaginable, and are second-to-none in scale and quality.
When comparing Accumold vs offshore molders, we aren’t the cheapest up front, but we produce the parts and components other companies can’t. We give our clients the ability to scale from 500k to 1 million parts quickly, all at the micro precision needed.
We specialize in doing micro components with micro features, micro tolerances, and micro in size. If twelve companies can make a part—that’s not a part for us.
Paul Runyan is the Vice President of Global Sales for Accumold. He has his BA in marketing from Iowa State University and a BS from Kansas State University.