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Molds and Mold Fees in Chinese Manufacturing

November 29, 2009

When manufacturing many products, especially plastic, rubber, and confectionery products, the manufacturer will begin work by creating a mold or using a mold provided to them. Molds are not an optional element of the manufacturing process, but a necessary element that makes it possible to produce items in large quantities and ensure that each product looks like the others.

Those who wish to manufacture products in China are often unaware that a mold is required and, depending on the type of product, the cost to produce the mold can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. It is important to be mindful that a product comprised of several distinct pieces may need a mold for each piece, meaning the total cost of molds can be quite expensive. Further, like everything else, a mold itself is a product that can be constructed of high-quality materials that can be used to make millions of products or of lower-quality material that may only yield a few thousand products.

Sometimes, manufacturers will provide a quotation for a product that includes the cost of the mold and sometimes they will not. When you are given a price quotation, you should check to see whether the cost of the mold is included. One way or another, the manufacturer will charge you the cost of those molds. Just knowing about the mold costs will enable you to better negotiate the total cost for manufacturing: we discuss these costs openly with the manufacturer to help reduce the production costs for our clients.

It is also recommended to establish ownership rights to the molds that are produced. If a manufacturer closes shop or if you become dissatisfied with the manufacturer, you may find it prohibitively expensive to switch manufacturers if you do not have rights to the molds that are used in the manufacturing process. Never put yourself in a "manufacturer lock-in" position where you are not free to move to a different manufacturer who will offer better service, higher-quality, or lower prices.

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