Why are injection molds so expensive

Determine the cost of injection molding tools

The costs for an injection molding tool seem disproportionately high to any newcomer to the industry. For experts and specialists in the tool industry, it is clear that the one-off production of a tool quickly consumes 1000 working hours. Machine tools have their price and real precision is a high requirement.

Why is it so complicated?

Tool costs vary greatly depending on the part geometry and the planned number of series items. Tools made of steel are more expensive than those made of aluminum. Series tools are more expensive than sample tools. Tool suppliers specialize in B. on part classes, component sizes, industries or plastic types. The variety is confusing.

The actual costs and delivery times can be determined through specific inquiries from some suppliers. The offers that follow are often sobering. Price differences of 50% and more are normal. Delivery times vary between a few weeks and many months, depending on the market situation. And the cheapest providers with the shortest delivery times are rarely the best.

There is no such thing as THE cheapest tool supplier.

However, good suppliers can be found for every special requirement.

In order to determine the actual tool costs, you should inquire about these with suitable suppliers. Many buyers scatter their inquiries and always consider several tool suppliers. This also gives you an overview of the current market situation in terms of costs and delivery times. Depending on the economic situation, the prices and delivery capabilities of the tool manufacturers fluctuate.

For an inquiry you need:

  • The article construction as a 3D CAD file and, if possible, a drawing with quality information
  • Material information
  • Quantities

With the offer you get:

  • The tool price
  • Part prices depending on the lot sizes
  • A delivery date

Learn more about:

-> Calculation and cost accounting

-> Inquiries and offers

-> Calculation software

-> Tool supplier list

Which factors influence the costs?

Complexity of the molded part

Complex articles with many details and extensive functions require more effort in tool design and tool construction. The tool concept for mold design and demolding is becoming more complex, and with it the entire tool structure. The design and manufacture of the mold inserts, cores and slides with cooling channels and sprue system can then account for around 80% of the total tool costs.


Precision is a high requirement when it comes to plastic parts. The specific properties of plastics generally lead to inaccuracies in the components. Small tolerances are feasible, but require additional work steps such as dimensional adjustments and correction loops on the tools.

Component size

Large parts require large tool racks and larger processing machines for processing the mold plates and mold inserts. The pure material price of the tool racks only accounts for part of the additional costs. The processing time and the entire handling of the tool components are becoming more complex.


Injection molds can produce many millions of parts. Several cavities can become profitable from a quantity of around 10,000 per year. This increases tool costs. At the same time, part prices are falling because several parts are injected with each production cycle.

After allocating the tool costs to the part price, multiple tools are profitable if the number of pieces is high enough.

Tool designs of 2, 4 or 8 times are common. Mass products even allow 128 cavities in one tool for a part that is manufactured with 400 million pieces per year.