Frequently asked questions
How does plastic injection molding work?
For an explanation of the plastic injection molding process please refer to the following Wikipedia page:
I have a part idea, but no drawing – can you help?
LCS works with several part design vendors who can translate your idea into a detailed part drawing and a 3D model.
How do you handle confidential drawings?
LCS is often asked to sign confidentiality agreements prior to viewing customer drawings. If you don’t have a form you prefer to use, we can provide a standard one.
Who owns the tool once it is made?
Tools paid for by customers are customer owned assets that LCS stores between runs for our customers. In some cases LCS will amortize the tooling cost into the part price for customers. In these cases until enough parts are shipped to pay off the tool or the customer buys out the tool, it is owned by LCS in the same way a bank owns your car until the loan is paid off. In some cases we will quote no-cost tooling on a project. These tools are owned by LCS.
How much does a tool cost?
This depends on a variety of factors including part size, part complexity, cavitation of the tool, etc…
Why does annual volume matter?
There are trade offs between a tool’s cost, and part cost. As the number of cavities goes up, the part cost goes down, but the tool cost goes up. Knowing your projected annual volume helps us quote the most cost effective balance between part cost and tool cost.
What type of volume do I need to do business with you?
LCS has customers with projects that only require a few hundred parts per year and customers who buy millions of parts. We handle short and long run projects.
Do you offer textured parts?
Yes. We can provide you with standardized texture samples so you can choose how you’d like your part to look.
What color options can you provide?
We can provide standard colors, or we can color match to a sample provided.
What type of resins can you mold? How will I know what will work for my part?
LCS works with most types of engineered and commodity resins. We can help by suggesting appropriate resins for your application.
I need to bring the cost down on an existing part – can you help?
There are many options we can suggest to help improve the cost structure on existing parts.
I’m unhappy with my existing molder. Can you run my mold?
We can provide you with the questions you will need to ask your current molder for us to determine if we can run your mold. LCS can run most standardized molds, however if a proprietary insert mold was used it may be difficult or impossible for LCS or any other molder to take over your project without incurring retooling costs.
What is rapid prototyping and when should I consider it?
Rapid prototyping allows you to quickly get parts that can be used for fit and finish testing within a few days at an average cost of under $1,000 (depending upon how many parts are needed). However rapid prototypes are not suitable for function testing, as they are not made out of production part plastic. For function testing LCS can quote steel or aluminum prototype tools that can be used to make production quality parts in small quantities. Once part development is completed then production tooling can be quoted.
Do you offer UV inhibitors?
Yes. UV inhibitor can be mixed (or come premixed) in with the plastic resin and/or come mixed with the colorant used on your part.
Cavitation – what is it and why does it matter?
This denotes how many cavities are in a tool to make parts. As the cavities increase the mold cost increases, but per part cost goes down.
What does LCS make in-house and what is outsourced globally?
Nearly all plastic parts are molded at our plant in Waterville, MN, with the exception of some specialty projects where offshore molding helps meet a customer’s logistical or cost parameters. We strive to provide customers with highest quality low cost tools by obtaining bids from both regional toolmakers and a trusted offshore vendor. Parts requiring assembly are handled in-house or shipped to an ISO certified contract assembler in Mexico.
Do you have a quality program? Are you ISO certified?
Yes, LCS is a ISO 9001:2015 certified company, registered by TÜV SÜD America
What kind of turn-around can I expect? On tools? On production parts?
Depending on their size and complexity, tools typically take anywhere from 4 to 10 weeks to be built and sampled. Rapid tooling and rapid prototyping can produce prototype parts in less time. Our standard lead time for production parts is two weeks.
Have you worked with my industry or type of part before?
LCS works in a wide variety of industries for a wide variety of customers. We do not handle projects requiring clean rooms or FDA certification.