Mass production is what keeps the shelves of every establishment which sells packed up and ready for business. It is the same process which keeps the industries going, trickling down to our everyday consumption and conveniences.
The key steps involved in mass producing a product is design, material loading, injection molding, machining, assembly, and then post-processing.
In this post, a step-by-step guide on how you can mass produce a product shall be laid down. The most common steps involved in mass production shall also be outlined for your reference.
Product Design and Development
The most significant role of product design and development is that it is what determines the production cycle. According to Hash Micro, although it is the most basic, brainstorming phase, it identifies the materials needed, the production processes to be used, and the extent of machine works and treatments to be applied.
Taking it all in, product design and development also determines the overall cost of production.
Product design and development of a product that can be easily mass produced is crucial for profit gain. It takes a lot of precision, intentionality in the design, and minimalism in the production process to keep the production going yet keeping it unique to maintain your brand.
Other than this, designing products that can be easily mass produced is also important to ensure that quality control is present in the mass production process as it gives better economic leverage to mass producers.
Step-by-Step Guide to Product Design and Development
According to Rex Plastics, product design and development involve the following steps:
Brainstorming and Design Generation:
Everything starts with a promising idea they say. In mass production, design generation is the key to a continued manufacturing. In this phase, an inventory of the existing products is laid down.
This list is then drawn in relation to key market factors such as target market, functionality, analyzing product design strengths and weaknesses through a two-tier analysis: the SWOT and SCAMPER methods.
Defining the Product:
In this phase, the product strategy is refined and finalized. A roadmap for the production and business approach are also enumerated. Some of the other aspects of product definition include business analysis, success rubrics, value product estimation, and marketing strategy.
The design becomes more realistic at the prototyping phase. Using computer rendering, a drawing of the design can be tweaked and digitally manipulated for your team to identify the parts of the design which needs to be modified.
This gives you a better chance to avoid risks before plunging in with the product.
The outcome of prototyping is the printing of a minimum viable product or the MVP. It is already equipped with the features and the functions for it to work. From there, you can further test the product before the mass production.
Launching and Feedback:
During this phase, the MVP is initially launched to the stakeholders before it is launched to the target market. Feedbacks are gathered to get to know more where the tweaks in the design shall be incorporated and if such tweaks are feasible.
This stage is not mere testing as it also involves thorough validating. This is to make sure that everything is fit and that the whole product functions well. Testing involves three subprocesses.
The first subprocess is concept testing where the MVP is tested using a software. Next is the front-end testing where functionality of the product is tested. Lastly, market testing where the final product is tested in the actual market and see its profitability.
After everything you have done conceptually, and printing the prototypes, all roads lead to mass production. In this phase, the whole machining and production methods take place. Assembly and post-processing ends the mass production process.
The last part of product design and development is marketing or commercialization. Here, marketing strategies and business approaches go hand in hand.
Product development is heightened at the level of polishing and incorporating other specifications. It also includes product placement and ecommerce, if applicable.
The processes squared out here are discussed comprehensively. Nonetheless, it should give you a broad picture of what happens in each stage.
Different Plastic Manufacturing Processes
If you are thinking of endeavoring into mass production, there are dependable and cost-effective plastic manufacturing processes which you can explore. The following are the most popular in the industry of mass production.
Plastic Injection Molding:
This is the most common and considered as a revolutionizing process in mass production because of its cost-efficiency. Basically, molds are pre-fabricated depending on what you are mass producing.
Plastic materials are then injected in the molds under high heat. When the molds are filled, cools down and solidified, the finished parts can be taken out of the molds.
If you are working on hollow parts and products like glass bottles and more, blow molding is the best manufacturing process to consider. Blow molding is done by inflating a thermoplastic tube.
The tube is shaped like a molten cavity, often seen in injection molding. Through extrusion, the half mold which contains the shape shall form the hollow object.
The simplest description for this complex process is that you mass produce by heating a sheet at an even thickness and then finally drawing from it to create 3D products.
As the term implies further, the main materials used in thermoforming is thermoplastics. This is the process used to manufacture cups, lids, and other plastic packaging products.
Preparing for Mass Production
Before initiating mass production, massive preparation must be considered. The following are the catch-all preparation steps before starting mass production.
Finalizing Product Design and Materials:
It is imperative at this point to have a finalized product design and an inventory of the materials to be prepared and loaded.
It means specifically that the product design must have been tested, validated, and have gone through the refining phase.In between, inspection methods, quality control and other secondary processes must have been in place too.
Creating a Production Plan and Timeline:
Note that different clients demand for different turnarounds. Multiple clients needing different mass-produced parts can also be a hassle.
To make sure that all the deadlines and orders are met, you need to create a production plan and timeline. This includes work and maintenance schedules.
Procuring Materials and Equipment:
Now that you know the production plan and the specifics of the product design, you should be able to procure the right materials and equipment in time.
The only tip here is that, only get what is needed. This way, operations cost is lessened and mass production is enhanced.
Steps to Mass Producing Your Plastic Product Using Injection Molding
In mass producing using plastic injection molding, the following steps are the ones which you should keep in mind and probably, master, before delving into mass production.
Step 1. Concept:
Like the general mass production phases, in production through injection molding, the process starts with developing a concept.
You seat with your production team, key in the specifications you want, the functionality aimed for, and the packaging of the plastic product. Cost-benefit and risk analysis are also a part of the conceptualization part.
Step 2. Modeling:
In the modeling phase, you create the blueprint for your plastic product. You can either draw the design in a software, use CAD, and other applications.
In this phase, you get to spot weaknesses in the design and rectify them before mass production. You can also incorporate more functional features if proved necessary.
Step 3. Prototyping and Testing:
In many circumstances, modeling is not enough. A visual, 3D feel of the projected product is more than necessary for precision parts.
This is where prototyping is important. Prototyping helps in the design stability, functionality, and actual aesthetics. This gives you more freedom to assess the overall viability of the plastic product.
Step 4. Mass Production:
This is the part where everything comes full circle. Aside from preparing the materials and the equipment, you also must come up with product plans and timelines. Secondary processes including quality control are also incorporated in this.
Quality Control and Inspection
One of the most important secondary processes in mass production is quality control and inspection. In this section, we lay down the benefits and some of the proven quality control and inspection techniques used in mass production.
Benefits of Quality Control and Inspection in Mass Production
Quality control and inspection are very indispensable stages in the whole production because of the following benefits:
With quality control and inspection, excess parts are avoided, unnecessary geometries are discarded, precision and accuracy are ensured. Most importantly, resource maximization reduces inefficiency. All of these are vital in cost-cutting mass production.
Adds to Customer Satisfaction:
Through rigid quality control and inspection, you can create a culture of quality conscious mass production in your company. In having so, patronage is heightened and profit is enhanced because such elevates customer satisfaction.
Improved Precision and Production Techniques:
With quality control and inspection, the best practices in mass production are identified. Those that are no longer efficient, be it with equipment or materials or techniques, are discarded. Only those that generate high efficiency are maintained.
By employing high level quality control and inspection, same or uniform products having the same features and quality are produced.
As such, you can have the liberty to fix a standard price for the precision parts that you produce. This do not only ensure patronage but also high profitability.
Common Quality Control and Inspection Methods in Mass Production
If you are keen in employing the best quality control and inspection scheme in your mass production, the following are some of the proven steps in doing so:
Pulling Out Random Samples:
This is the most basic step in quality control and inspection. Under this, a standard quality control sampling method must already be in place. Random inspections of a representative sample ensures that indeed, uniform products of uniform quality are produced.
In this phase, the inspection team is given the blueprint or CAD render with checklist. This is commonly done for high spec products or those of larger sizes with more functionality. From color, materials used, construction, and so on, all findings must be reported thereafter.
Verification of Packaging Specifications:
To make sure that the right items are delivered to the clients and that no glitch or damage are inflicted, verification of packaging specifications and other logistics related information must also be inspected.
Although mass production is now more automated, on-site testing is still a must. The machines should be kept working, they must be well-maintained. The operators must be on their posts and the product plan must be in pace with the timeline. These are all the things that must be checked on-site.
Lastly, everything that must be found out in the inspection should be in black and white. This reinforces the production unit to see lapses, improve production, and see where the defects are most probably incurred.
You may also devise your own quality control and inspection mechanism in your own mass production plan. But in so far as the general steps are concerned, the above mentioned are points to start with.
Packaging and Shipping
The last stage of mass production is packaging and shipping. It must be overemphasized that even if you think you have employed a stellar mass production process, everything can still fail if logistics is not taken cared of. Proper packaging and shipping are important in mass production because:
Some products are more brittle than others. Hence, each product needs specified packaging and shipping methods. Packaging proofs products from various environmental factors that might shrink, deform, or destroy the products to be delivered.
Good packaging attracts the eye and generates potential buyers. This is the reason why packaging in mass production is as important as the manufacturing itself. You communicate your brand through packaging, thus, in a sense, packaging elevates product value.
Ergonomics: useful and intentional packaging adds ergonomics to your products. Choose packaging that can be reused for other functions later. Choose packaging that is easy to store, easy to fold. All of these add sustainability factor which is always an upside in product reviews.
Packaging and Shipping Options
If you are thinking about the packaging and shipping options for mass produced products, the following are the most common:
- Land-based, air or sea freights for shipping
- Cardboard box, drum, bottom boxes, roll-end boxes, full overlap boxes
Packaging and shipping options are entirely dependent on the type of products to be delivered. You define such but you must be wise and practical in choosing the best fit for your products.
As have been laid down, mass production is often, a linear process. First, you go through conceptualization and brainstorming. This is followed by modelling and then prototyping.
To make sure that everything is followed and everything functions as they are expected to, testing and validation kicks in. After this, mass production takes place. Quality control comes next and finally packaging and shipping.
A lot of industries benefit a lot from the processes of mass production. One of the most benefited is the injection molding industry.
Just make sure that in whatever mass production technique that you endeavor into, you know the basics of the process so you can improve products, and manufacture ones at a cost-efficient yet at supreme quality.
How Kemal Can Help You From Prototype to Mass Production
Looking for reputable injection molding products and services is not that hard. For instance, you can check Kemal Manufacturing if you need injection molding services or if you want to familiarize yourself with injection molding.
Kemal offers quotations, consultations, and even features informational articles in their website about the ins and outs of injection molding. If you want to know more about injection molding, Kemal Manufacturing is a good place to start.