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Tooling Procurement and Injection Mold Classifications
Class 101 molds are by far the highest priced molds, but not only are they made with the highest quality materials, they also have the highest yield of all classes. These molds are tooled for production runs of one million cycles or more. Cavities and cores must be hardened to a minimum of 48 R/C. Details such as heel blocks, wedge blocks, gibs and slides must be made of hardened tool steels. And, most importantly, the mold base must be a minimum hardness of 280 BHN. Injections must be guided and slides must have wear plates. Slides, cavities, and cores must have temperature controls wherever possible.
This class may seem more expensive on the outset, but because it has the highest yield, the price per item is often far lower than molds in lower classes.
Class 102 molds are high to mid-priced molds, made with high quality materials that are built for medium to high yield production runs. However, to ensure the quality of the parts being produced, these production runs should not exceed one million cycles.
Class 102 molds are a great choice for use with abrasive materials and with part tolerance requirements. There are several differences between Class 101 and 102, but the biggest difference is that slide wear plates, guided ejection, corrosive resistent, plated cavities, and temperature control channels may not be required depending on the anticipated part quantity.
Class 103 molds are medium to low priced molds that are recommended for production runs of fewer than 500,000. This mold is recommended for use with non-abrasive materials. With a recommended mold base hardness of 165 BHN and a cavity and core hardness of 280 BHN, all other extras are recommended, but not required.
Class 104 molds are the second to lowest priced molds, only higher than Class 105 molds. They are recommended for production runs of less than 100,000. Class 104 molds can be made from mild steel or aluminium and should not be used with abrasive materials. Hardness standards should be based on the size of the run and the materials used, but they are not required.
Class 105 molds are the least expensive to tool, but also have the highest per item cost because they are not recommended for production runs exceeding 500. Usually, Class 105 molds are only used to produce prototypes. Class 105 molds may be made from cast materials, such as epoxy or other strong composities. Essentially, this class requires the minimum strength to create a sufficient amount of parts, with the understanding that, most often, these parts will only be used as prototypes.