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Understanding Lead Times

Lead times within the prototype injection moulding industry are as varied as the components manufactured. They are also very subjective with one person’s idea of a standard lead time being very different to another.

Traditionally anything from 12 weeks to 16 weeks seemed common place however there are more and more companies offering reduced lead times of 3 weeks or even faster.

But what cost do customers pay when choosing these high speed companies? It’s not just the financial implication that customers are paying for…

Quality – this is often sacrificed in pursuit of obtaining parts fast. When things are made quickly the quality tends to be lower as the time and effort hasn’t been put in to manufacturing.

Additional cost – Extra fees to expedite the tooling and mouldings can be an expensive charge. Plus when errors creep in additional costs to re-work tools start getting added to the final bill.

Part functionality – this can be affected if design changes are required to suit the manufacturing processes. Simplifying the design to reduce lead time is very common within the prototype moulding market and can often have a detrimental effect on the part deeming them not fit for function.

Lead time – errors from working quickly and making design changes to suit manufacturing processes both push the original lead time out of the window.

At RP we work a little differently to other prototype moulders, we offer a service based on our customer’s key requirements for their project.

Quality – If the component has high quality requirements and needs a full quality inspection such as PPAP then we will offer the appropriate lead time to ensure the quality specifications are met.

Cost – If low cost is the top priority, we can ensure the tool design and polymer chosen for processing are the most cost effective options to suit your component specifications.

Part Functionality – our ‘Without Limits’ philosophy means that we manufacture what you design, no changes just a simple solution. Your final parts will match your drawings and function as needed.

RP Technologies News CAD Designer

Lead time – If speed is the critical requirement and design changes can be made to simplify the component, then we will offer a lead time to suit the customers schedule.

What has become clear in our conversations with customers is that it’s almost impossible to have a standard lead time. RP offer the very best lead time based on your requirements. It may not always be the fastest but we always consider your project specifications and ensure these are matched when manufacturing parts.


If you have a prototype moulding project that you’d like to discuss, please call us today on 0121 550 5868 or chat to us online.

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Award-winning aluminium tooling, plastic injection moulding, CNC machining, and rapid prototyping. We specialise in fast turnarounds of high quality components.

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