Category Archive: Manufacturing

What is OEM Contract Manufacturing? Types and Benefits

Contract Manufacturing

OEM contract manufacturing is a way for companies to produce goods cost-effectively and with ease of scalability. If you’ve been wondering, “What is OEM contract manufacturing?” This article will answer all of your questions and cover the benefits you can expect from outsourcing to an OEM contract manufacturer.

What is Contract Manufacturing?

OEM contract manufacturing, also known as Original Equipment Manufacturer, is a business arrangement in which a company outsources the manufacturing of a product or component to a third-party manufacturer, known as the OEM contract manufacturer. The third-party manufacturer produces the goods according to the specifications and design provided by the company, which is often referred to as the OEM brand.

In an OEM contract manufacturing relationship, the OEM brand typically owns the product design, brand, and intellectual property rights, while the OEM contract manufacturer is responsible for the actual manufacturing process handling the necessary raw materials, production, quality control, and packaging.

Outsourcing the manufacturing to an OEM contract manufacturer allows companies to focus on what they are best at to compete at levels that would otherwise be impossible and take advantage of a host of other benefits. It is important to note that while OEM contract manufacturing offers numerous benefits, there can also be challenges and considerations involved in selecting and managing an OEM contract manufacturer effectively. It is crucial to establish clear communication, define expectations, and maintain a collaborative relationship to ensure a successful partnership.

What Is OEM Contract Manufacturing?

Benefits of Contract Manufacturing

OEM contract manufacturing offers several advantages to companies. It allows the OEM brand to focus on product development, marketing, and sales, while leveraging the expertise and resources of the OEM contract manufacturer for efficient and cost-effective production. It also enables the OEM brand to scale production capacity based on market demand without making significant investments in manufacturing facilities and equipment.

Partnering with a contract manufacturer provides a number of advantages:

  • Cost savings: By outsourcing production to an OEM contract manufacturer, companies can avoid investing in their own manufacturing facilities, equipment, and personnel. This eliminates the need for capital expenditures and reduces operational costs, such as labor and maintenance.
  • Improved quality: OEM contract manufacturers possess specialized knowledge, expertise, and resources that can be leveraged by the OEM brand. This allows for improved product quality, efficiency, and innovation, as the OEM contract manufacturer brings their experience and capabilities to the production process.
  • Prioritization of resources: By outsourcing to an OEM contract manufacturer, companies can focus their internal resources and expertise on their core competencies, such as product design, marketing, and distribution. This enables them to allocate more time and attention to areas where they have a competitive advantage, fostering business growth and development and allowing them to react to fluctuating demand or when introducing new products to the market.
  • Shortened lead-times: OEM contract manufacturers have established supply chains, production workflows, and quality control systems in place which can streamline manufacturing operations and significantly reduce the time required to bring a product to market. This speed to market can be a crucial competitive advantage in industries with rapidly changing consumer preferences, short product life cycles, or an urgency to launch new products.
  • Scalability and flexibility: OEM contract manufacturers offer scalability and flexibility in production by offering the OEM brand the ability to quickly adjust production volumes based on market demand to avoid excess inventory or production bottlenecks. This flexibility is especially beneficial in industries with short product life cycles or peak season demands.
  • Risk mitigation: OEM contract manufacturers can help mitigate certain risks by ensuring compliance with the OEM brand’s specifications, quality standards, and certifications, and thereby reducing the burden on the OEM brand. Additionally, OEM contract manufacturers often have backup plans, redundancy measures, and disaster recovery strategies in place, which can minimize the impact of unforeseen events or disruptions to the production process.

Types of Contract Manufacturing

Contract manufacturing is a highly customizable service that can be easily adapted to meet the needs of each customer. There are several primary types of OEM contract manufacturing:

  • Private Labeling: Large retailers commonly use private labeling to save money on product design and engineering by customizing or tweaking existing products under their established brand umbrella.
  • Build-to-Print: The OEM brand handles the design and engineering aspects and provides detailed specifications, drawings, and assembly instructions. The OEM contract manufacturer is responsible to execute the tooling and production process based on the provided documentation.
  • Component Manufacturing: Some OEM contact manufacturers specialize in producing specific components or sub-assemblies for integration into the OEM brand’s final product. One such type is Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS), including PCB (Printed Circuit Board) assembly, system integration, testing, and after-sales services.

Industries Served

No matter what type of product your company produces, there is an OEM contract manufacturing service available to meet your needs. At Source International, we assist OEM brands from many industries, including industrial machines, appliances, consumer goods, automotive, agriculture, medical equipment, recreational vehicles, electric power generation, telecommunications, electronics, and more. Here are some OEM contract manufacturing examples from various industries:

  • Automotive: Components and systems such as engines, transmissions, electrical systems, chassis, drive trains, battery components, and interior parts.
  • Electronics: Semiconductors, circuit boards, displays, memory chips, wiring harnesses, and other electronic parts used in consumer electronics, computers, telecommunications equipment, electric vehicles and more.
  • Medical Equipment: Medical devices, equipment, and instruments, and components like sensors, imaging systems, surgical instruments, diagnostic tools, and other medical equipment for use in healthcare settings.
  • Industrial Machinery and Equipment: Specialized components, motors, pumps, valves, control systems, and other parts used in heavy machinery, automation systems, and manufacturing equipment.
  • Consumer Goods Industry: Appliances, home electronics, furniture, and other products. OEMs often produce specific components or assemble entire products for well-known brands.
  • Energy and Power Generation: Turbines, generators, transformers, control systems, electric grid components and connectors, and renewable energy equipment such as solar panels and wind turbines.
  • Telecommunications: Network equipment, routers, switches, antennas, and communication devices used in the telecommunications infrastructure and systems.

It’s worth noting that OEM contract manufacturing is not limited to these industries alone and can be found in various other sectors wanting to reap the benefits depending on the specific requirements of OEM brands and their products.

OEM Contract Manufacturing from Source International

Whether you need help fabricating a single component, a subassembly, or a complete product, Source International offers a reliable OEM contract manufacturing solution. By partnering with Source International, you can rest assured that you’ll get an OEM contract manufacturing partner who understands your business and can meet your production goals and mitigate the risks for you. We offer nearly limitless capacity with no misunderstandings about quality standards or concerns about raw material availability, and no delivery black holes.

At Source International, we have over 35 years of experience helping all kinds of businesses obtain exceptional quality products. To learn more about our OEM contract manufacturing services, contact us today.

Asia Manufacturing Showed Signs of Improvement in Q4-2022


Q4– 2022 (Oct. Nov. Dec.)

Tracking The Trends Which Drive Costs in Asia Manufacturing

Executive Summary

Despite supply headwinds, labor shortages, and an uncertain economic environment, Asia manufacturing continues to surpass the expectations of recent years. Manufacturing has demonstrated continued strength in 2022, building on the momentum it gained emerging from the pandemic, and surpassing expectations from the prior two years. While overall demand and production capacity have hit recent highs, there are indications that the near-term outlook may not be as bright. Asia industry is currently experiencing concerns related to inflation and economic uncertainty. In addition, manufacturers continue to grapple with talent challenges that may limit their growth momentum. Moreover, supply chain issues including sourcing bottlenecks, global logistics backlogs, cost pressures, and cyberattacks will likely remain critical challenges in 2023. As leaders look beyond leading amid disruption and revamp their approach, our 2023 manufacturing industry outlook examines five important trends to consider for manufacturing playbooks in the year ahead.

The commodity price trends in the fourth quarter were mixed with plastics, fuel, freight and currency leading the down-in-price group, while rubber, steel, aluminum, other metals, and textiles led the up-in-price group.  Meanwhile paper, ceramic materials, and labor costs showed little change. Year over year, plastics, rubber, steel, aluminum, and freight ended the year lower in price than one year ago while metal, wood, paper, textiles, labor, and fuel all saw price increases in the period.

Below is a chart of the overall trends.  For all the details, please see the entire report below or download it from the link at the end.

Report Details 


Overall, the General-Purpose plastic resin prices declined in Q4 of 2022 vs Q3 but only slightly.  And, in the most recent month of December the trend appears to have reserved with some price increases. Year over year, the results are mixed with PVC, HIPS, HDPE, and PET all showing price declines from 3% to 30%, while EVA, PS, PE and PE all showing increase of 4% to 11% versus one year ago.

Engineering grade resins displayed a similar trend in Q4 to the General-Purpose grades, with all grades except PU Foam showing price declines, however, they declined less than GP, most less than 1%. Year over year, prices were down on average by 4.5%, led by ABS down 21.8% and POM down17.5% while Nylon increased by 10.3% and Triton and Nylon prices increased slightly, by only about 1% versus 1 year ago.

Rubber prices were more mixed in Q4 with the trend generally up on average by about 1.9%. Reclaimed Rubber led the way up 2.6% while Polybutadiene Rubber led the decliners down 2.2%. Year over year, the trends were more mixed, with Neoprene and Nitrile up the most, 27.4% and 18.4% respectively, while Silicon, Natural Rubber, and Latex all showed substantial price declines of 35.7%, 11.5%, and 10.2% respectively versus one year ago.


For the fourth quarter of 2022, the prices for most of Carbon Steel grades were up slightly on average about 1% or less versus three months ago with Cold Roll Steel Sheet up the most at 1.7%. Year over year, virtually all carbon steel prices were down on the average 8.6% versus one year ago.

Stainless Steel prices were also up slightly in Q4, on average by 1%-2% compared with last quarter. Year over year, prices were mostly lower than 2021 with 430 and 201 grades down the most on average about 10% versus one year ago

Aluminum prices were higher in Q4, on average by 1%-2%, except 6061 which was up over 5%. Year over year, aluminum prices decreased on the average by 3.2%, however, 6061grade  was up 3.6% versus one year ago.

aluminum price trends,2022Q4

In other Industrial Metals, all showed substantial increases in price led by Nickel (up 18.7% and Brass rods, up 14.3%.  Only Zinc bucked the trend, down in price 3.9% versus Q3. Year over year, the prices trends were mixed with Nickel up 53.2%, Brass Rod up 4.8%, while Copper decreased 5.5% and Brass Tubes down 1.9% and Zinc Alloy prices were flat versus one year ago.

industrial metals price trends, 2022Q4


Wood prices were flat in Q4 showing little change from Q3. Year over year, with MDF grades up 2% to 5%, Beech up 3.8, Fir up 1.3%, Pine up 1.0%, and White Oak up fractionally versus one year ago.

wood price trends, 2022Q4

Most all Paper prices were flat in Q4. Year over year, the trend was more mixed with Kraft down 0.7%, Corrugated down 9.5%, while White Cardboard was up 3.9%, Gray Cardboard was up 4.3% and Art Paper was up 0.8% versus one year ago.

paper price trends, 2022Q4

Most Textile fabric prices were up slightly in Q4 by about 1% versus last quarter. Only Raw cotton was down in price 3.7%. Year over year, the price trends were mixed with declines led by Raw Cotton down 32.9% and 100% Polyester Fabric down 9.1%, while Non-woven PP up the most at 6.2% followed by T/C fabric up 2.4%, and PVC fabric up on average by 1% versus one year ago.

textile fabrics price trends, 2022Q4


Ceramic and Glass Raw Materials showed little change over Q3. Year over year, most of the materials were up in price led by Soda Ash up 26.2%, Alumina up 2.3%, Glass Grade Sand and Feldspar up 2%, Kaolin up 1.3% and Quartz was flat versus one year ago.

ceramic and glass materials price trends, 2022Q4


Fuel prices in China moved lower in the 4th quarter led by Diesel declining the most at 10.1%.  Year over year, the trend was higher prices for most fuels. up in prices on average 3.9% versus one year ago.


The World Container Index was down 55.7% versus last quarter. Year over year, the World Container Index was down 77% versus one year ago.


Most of the Asian labor rates were unchanged in Dec. Year over year, Labor costs in China were up 4.5%, Vietnam up 5.9%, and Thailand by 5.4%, while Bangladesh labor costs declined 1.2% versus one year ago levels.


For the fourth quarter, the USD strengthened against the CNY by 1.9%, however, the Yuan strengthened in December signaling a possible reversal in that trend. Year over year, the USD remained substantially stronger than most of the Asia currencies versus one year ago.

CHINA TRADE (Data lags by one month)

China Imports were up slightly by  almost 1% and China Exports increased 3.4% versus December. Year over year, China Imports decreased 7.3% and Exports decreased 10.1% versus one year ago.

The China Consumer Price Index (CPI) was up only slightly 0.2% and the China Producer Price Index (PPI) increased 0.6% in December. Year over year, the China CPI was up 0.3% and China PPI was down almost 10% versus one year ago.


The China PMI ended Q4 at 47.0, well below the benchmark 50 for an expanding economy and the Hong Kong PMI ended at 49.0, a little bit closer to the 50 mark. The US PMI also remained below 50, with the Manufacturing PMI at 46.2 in December, down from November’s 47.7, while the services PMI activity index fell to 44.4 in December (November: 46.2). Across the private sector, new orders fell at the sharpest pace since May 2020, while new export orders continued to fall, but at a slightly softer pace than in November. Both input and output price inflation eased in December, while employment growth was marginal and business sentiment was pessimistic by historical standards.


Thank you for taking the time to follow trends in Asia manufacturing. Source International has operational offices in Louisville, Kentucky;  Xiamen, China; and Ho Chi Mihm, Vietnam. Our passion is to partner with companies in supply management from Asia. We have a 30+ year on-the-ground track record, a rigorous operating procedure, and a very well-trained local staff. We welcome the opportunity to show you how we can add value to your supply chain in Asia and invite you to visit our offices and website to learn more about us.

For additional details, please refer to the charts that follow or contact one of our Operations Specialists for more information. Thank you for your support.

You may download the entire report here.

Please visit our website at:

Data for this report comes from the sources listed and while every attempt is made to be as comprehensive and accurate as possible, please consider that these are just general trends, and you should not draw any specific conclusions from the data. We recommend that any information provided in this report be weighed against other sources and experts on the individual topics covered and\, accordingly, we make no specific claims nor assume any liability from the use of the data contained herein.



How Has Aluminum Extrusion Evolved Over Time?


Aluminum Extrusion’s Evolution Since the Late 1700s

Aluminum extrusion converts aluminum alloys into cross-sections for various applications. The extrusion process takes advantage of aluminum’s unique properties, such as malleability and strength. Aluminum only has a third of the density of steel, yet offers considerable strength. These characteristics make aluminum alloys easy to cast, machine, and form into customizable shapes.

A block of aluminum, known as a billet, is forced through an opening in a die, which creates a continuous cross-sectional profile. The resulting aluminum extrusion is pliable, long, and adaptive to applications in architecture, automotive, lighting, and more.

Here we’ll discuss the history of aluminum extrusions, typical applications, and some tips when selecting an aluminum extruder.

History of Aluminum Extrusion

Inventor and locksmith Joseph Bramah first designed and patented a metal extrusion process in 1797. With blacksmith Henry Maudslay, Bramah originally aimed to produce an impregnable lock but soon realized he could produce other parts like pipes using the method, which involved manually driving a soft metal through a mold.

In 1820, Thomas Burr began using a hydraulic press invented by Bramah to extrude lead rods and pipes. It wasn’t until 1886 that Charles Martin Hall and Paul Heroult independently developed an electrolysis smelting process that made aluminum easier to extract. As a result, it became much cheaper and easier to extract and extrude aluminum.

Alexander Dick invented the hot extrusion process in 1894, enabling manufacturers to extrude non-ferrous metals. Shortly after, in 1904, the first extrusion press was built. The aerospace and automotive industries were among the first to benefit from the extruded aluminum cross-sections this machine created.

Today, the aluminum extrusion market is worth over $87 billion and serves the aerospace, transportation, architecture, electrical, and many more industries.

Typical Use Cases for Extruded Aluminum

Below are some areas of extruded aluminum applications:

  • Construction/Architecture: Extruded aluminum can be used for lighting fixtures, window and door frames, elevator shafts, bleachers, railings, balustrades, and other decorative and functional architectural components. Durable, lightweight aluminum segments are perfect for canopies when the framework cannot weigh much but needs to support a load. Its rust- and corrosion-resistant surface makes it ideal for building facades and interior accents.
  • Automotive/Transportation: Panels, engine components, transmission housings, roof rails, radiator enclosures, drive shafts, cylinder liners, chassis, and bodies of automobiles can all be made with aluminum extrusions. They can also make truck and boat chassis components.
  • Displays: Most stands used in exhibits and trade fairs are constructed using extruded aluminum alloys. They often feature interlocking properties for easy assembly. Different finishing treatments are available to enhance the appearance of the display. Other display applications for aluminum extrusions include point-of-sale (POS) displays and display cabinets.
  • Electrical/Electronics: Because of its excellent conduction properties, extruded aluminum is used for busbars and other electronic devices, including LED light fittings and audio/visual systems. It is also found in the support structures for photovoltaic solar panels, which must be strong, corrosion-resistant, and lightweight.


Tips When Choosing an Aluminum Extrusion Manufacturer

To choose a reliable aluminum extruding company, make sure they have ISO certifications, produce high-quality results, implement quality control, deliver fast lead times, and operate with the utmost transparency.

Source International specializes in factory sourcing and management, and we can help you find the perfect aluminum extrusion company for your needs. As your supply management partner, we audit our factory partners and handle timezone, language, and cultural differences on your behalf so that you receive the highest quality extruded products on time.

Connect with our team today to learn more about our sourcing capabilities for aluminum extruders.

What is Supply Chain Resilience?


Supply chain resilience is identified by its ability to either mitigate or quickly recover from most, if not all, supply chain disruptions. The most agile and resilient supply chains are built to do more than just resist and recover. They are designed using processes and technologies that allow them to predict and respond quickly to whatever risks and opportunities the future holds.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us, worldwide global catastrophes can lead to supply chain issues. Other supply chain problems include unforeseen competition, sudden changes in the market, and even modifications in customer behavior. Now more than ever, supply chain resilience is essential if a business hopes to succeed.

Features of a Resilient Supply Chain

Click to Expand


A resilient supply chain works by augmenting production with supply chain planning. Some of the features of a resilient supply chain include:

Inventory Buffers

Product shortages can negatively affect your customer base. Customers may become frustrated and seek out other suppliers. To mitigate this issue, building a sizable safety stock buffer is imperative. With an inventory buffer, you can continue to take care of customers while you handle supply issues in the background.

While this measure may seem intimidating due to the required initial investment in the product, it can protect your revenue stream and business reputation in the event of a supply chain disruption.

Diverse Supply Network

You cannot have supply chain resilience without a strong supply network. Sourcing from multiple suppliers may reduce your overall supply chain risk, however, it is important to have an in-depth understanding of each supplier to ensure consistent quality standards. Though vetting each supplier takes some effort, a diverse supply network will afford you business continuity in any circumstance. Some of the steps you can take to create a diverse network include:

  • Considering the viability of producing in multiple geographic locations
  • Developing multiple sources for key items
  • Approving in advance alternate substitutions for critical parts and components
  • Using multiple carriers and comparing alternate routes
  • Evaluating each supplier for key metrics like quality, service, and on-tim delivery


Identified Vulnerabilities or Redundancies

Perform a risk evaluation and understand where your supply chain is most vulnerable. Unless your product is only available from a single source, you should be able to put measures in place to mitigate these risks.

Supply chain vulnerabilities will always be present. When evaluating redundancies, you are trying to determine how much redundancy your business can handle. Common vulnerabilities include:

  • Weak supply chain transparency
  • Relying on suppliers with unstable pricing
  • Failing to implement modern supply chain technology, i.e., artificial intelligence, automation, digitization, robotics, smart factory
  • Relying heavily on one supplier
  • Failing to keep current with commodity trends


Example of Resilient Supply Chain

One famous example of supply chain resilience is the case of Nissan and Toyota. After the tsunami and earthquake in Japan in 2011, it became clear that these two companies had a few weaknesses in their supply chain. Nissan was able to build an alternative supply chain network and recover more quickly than Toyota. Toyota eventually built a resilient supply chain and recovered faster when disaster hit again in 2016.

Digital Supply Chains

A digital supply chain offers more visibility into the workings of a supply chain. A digital supply chain focuses more on the customer and integrates internal data and systems with external information.

A study conducted by Bain & Company found the following benefits of a digital supply chain over a traditional supply chain.

  • Customers are more satisfied
  • Lead times are reduced significantly at almost no extra cost
  • Inventory turns increase, increasing cash flow and reducing costs
  • There is an increase in perfect order rates


One of the specific strengths of Source International is our tech pack/SIS cloud platform. For each product manufactured, Source International comes up with an exclusive Product Tech Pack (PTP). The PTP is a critical document with all relevant information about your product. Nothing is taken for granted.

Some of the information you might find in the PTP includes:

  • Bills of material (BOM)
  • Workmanship and appearance
  • Function and performance
  • Packaging, markings, labeling
  • Technical drawings
  • Sampling schedule
  • Quality plan


Our PTP eliminates guesswork by including every product detail in words, drawings, photos, diagrams, and any other format necessary to communicate the exact requirements.

Are You Looking to Create a Resilient Supply Chain?

When your company has an effective strategy for dealing with disruptions in the supply chain, you ensure your business can continue to operate effectively in the future while being flexible enough to adapt should disruptions last longer than expected.

With Source International’s Web Portal, you have access to product information like prices, specifications, order history, order status, inspections, product status, and more at your fingertips from anywhere in the world at any time. Contact us to learn more about how our web portal can help you with supply chain resilience.

Sunless M1000 Spray Tanning System Case Study


Following initial sales calls made in 2015 and subsequent discussions, the project to develop a new spray tanning product line was on track for 2020 development.  Then, of course, COVID hit!  However, thanks to Source International’s full Operations team on the ground in Asia, we were 100% ready to proceed as soon as we got the green light. case study

Action Plan

After several conference calls and sales visits, a team from Source including sales and senior leadership met with the customer’s management team on-site at their facility to dive into the project and develop the features, timelines, and expectations for their new spray tanning system.

A Source Customer Team was assembled in both the US and China office to review the customer’s existing products and to discuss how the ideas presented by the customer in preliminary meetings would be developed into the fully integrated spray tanning system with TUV certification. Budgets were created, timelines established, and the following list of desired features was developed:

  • HVLP Technology
  • Lightweight & Compact
  • Standard 100V Plug
  • Modern Appearance
  • Comfortable Hand Grip
  • Convenient Hanger on Sprayer
  • Adjustable Spray Pattern
  • Kink-free Hose
  • Ergonomic Carry Handle
  • Power Switch
  • Stable Foot Design
  • Stylish & Portable
  • Low Operating Noise
  • Removable Air Filter
  • Integrated Spray Gun Storage



After the initial product engineering was completed, Pre-Production Samples were made using various prototyping techniques and presented to the customer’s team where they were carefully reviewed by their senior management, sales, marketing, product management, engineering and supply chain teams to ensure they met the design and performance requirements.  Once the Pre-Production Prototypes had been fully tested, design changes were made, and several rounds of additional sample prototyping took place.  Following field testing of the final prototypes, customer approval of the M1000 Spray Tanning System was given, and the Source team began to build the tooling and set the final timing for production start-up.

After the multiple tooling was completed, Source engineers debugged them. It took several rounds of shots until the tooled Pre-Production sample was approved and the product was released into mass production for the first order.  These units were delivered to the customer’s warehouse in 2021.  After the second order, the company’s QA manager remarked, “Nice work! We inspected 10% of the second PO of 2000 ea. We found no leaks. Engineering is comfortable with the inspection and results.”

This project represented a true collaborative redesign effort involving the collective efforts of Source and the customer’s engineering, operations, factory, marketing, sales, operations, purchasing and executive teams all working together to accomplish this product development and offshore manufacturing success story.  This initial success led to the next series of sample units being sent to the Source China office for review and re-development to add the portfolio of products we will be producing for this customer.  See the product in action at this video link.

Source International’s dedicated professionals can achieve the same winning results for your OEM parts and products. For additional details regarding this success story, please contact our Midwest sales office at 440-546-0630 or our US Headquarters office at 502-589-7900.  Contact us today to arrange a no obligation assessment of how we can supply a partnership which adds value to your OEM products.

Plastic Injection Molding: The Manufacturing & Design Guide

Plastic injection molding is a highly repeatable manufacturing process used to mass-produce identical plastic parts. It is ultimately a cost-efficient method of producing the plastics we use daily, such as bottle caps, toys, and appliance parts.

To begin the process, thermoplastic polymer granules are melted. These polymers, which can be colored or filled with other additives, are then injected under pressure into the mold. The liquid plastic cools and solidifies. Once solid, the mold opens and pushes the part out. Next, the mold closes, and the process is repeated.

This process produces consistent results within tight tolerances and offers manufacturers high levels of design freedom. Though there is a high initial investment in mold creation, the cost is recuperated in high-volume production runs.


Types of Injection Molding

Injection molding can be used to produce tiny parts like model airplane pieces or larger items such as car body panels. The process is primarily used when there is a need to produce thousands, or millions, of identical parts.

Common types of injection molding include:

  • Blow Molding: Used in forming bottles and other plastic shapes, blow molding is accomplished by blowing compressed air into the mold.
  • Over Molding: Also known as co-molding or two times injection molding, over-molding involves forming a mold out of one material and then partially or fully covering that mold in another material.
  • Insert Molding: In insert molding, a non-plastic component is inserted into the mold where it is covered in plastic.
  • Cube Molding: A molding process for the manufacture of circular parts, cube molding is characterized by components that rotate vertically around the axis.


Materials Used in Injection Molding

A wide variety of materials are used in plastic injection molding. Materials are selected based on their weight, strength, and resistance to certain environments (heat, acid, or moisture). Plastics can also be combined to create different properties and effects.

  •       ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)
  •       ABS/PC (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene + Polycarbonate)
  •       Acetal
  •       Acetal Copolymer
  •       Acetal Homopolymer
  •       ETPU (Expanded Thermoplastic Polyurethane)
  •       HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene Resin)
  •       LCP (Liquid Crystal Polymer)
  •       E (Low-Density Polyethylene Resin)
  •       LLDPE (Linear Low-Density Polyethylene Resin)
  •       Nylon 6
  •       Nylon 5/12
  •       PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate)
  •       PC/PBT (Polycarbonate/Polybutylene Terephthalate)
  •       PEEK (Polyetheretherketone)
  •       PEI (Polyetherimide)
  •       PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
  •       PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol)
  •       PMMA (Polymethyl Methacrylate Acrylic)
  •       Polycarbonate
  •       Polypropylene
  •       PPA (Polyphthalamide)
  •       PPE/PS (Polyphenylene Ether + Polystyrene)
  •       PS (Polystyrene)


Injection Molding Design Process

To achieve optimal end results, there are several factors to consider when planning your injection molding design. Considering the following factors can reduce the risk of defective or substandard final components:

  • Materials: Each plastic material has different characteristics (elemental resistance, strength, cost) that must be considered. Resins also react differently when treated to heat during the molding process, and they have different features when cooled.
  • Tolerances: Plastics can warp and shrink in the mold, so this needs to be factored into the design. The chemistry of each plastic also lends itself to different tolerances. For example, acrylics have low shrink rates and can hold tighter tolerances, but LDPE cannot withstand very high temperatures and easily warps.
  • Mold Design: The mold itself needs to be carefully designed. Wall thickness should be uniform; elements like ribbing can help. Molds also require a certain amount of draft, so the part can be properly ejected. This is especially important in injection molding, as the high pressure allows one to inject plastic into all the small nooks and crannies of a mold, which can make the part hard to remove. Parts with intricate details will also need extra draft to keep the design intact.
  • Shrinkage Rate: Different plastics shrink at different rates, due to differences in resin structure, the mold itself, and how the plastic flows into the mold. Injection pressure can improve the shrinkage rate, but different resins require different tonnages per square inch.
  • Surface Finishing: There are 12 grades of plastic finishes according to the Society of Plastics, ranging from dull to shiny. Different finishing services are required for each type of shine – sandblasting produces a dull finish, and diamond polishing creates a mirror shine. One must also consider the plastic itself. For example, you cannot use powder coating on low-melt materials, but plastics like PVC can withstand high temperatures.


Benefits of Plastic Injection Molding

The main benefit of plastic injection molding is that it allows for the rapid manufacture of a large number of identical parts. After covering the initial mold-making cost, the production costs for injection-molded parts are low and continue to decrease as production runs increase.

A wide range of materials can be used in injection molding, and the process is highly repeatable. It produces finished parts with tolerances of ±0.500 down to ±0.125 that have excellent visual appearance and need little or no extra finishing.

Plastic injection molding produces minimal waste compared to other types of traditional manufacturing processes as no material is removed from the cured product.


Source International

The process-driven professionals at Source International can produce plastic molded injection products in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit many different industries. Our ISO 9001-certified facilities give us the capability to deliver a diverse set of parts using a variety of materials.

Providing plastic injection molded products for over 25 years, Source International offers reliable, accurate, and cost-effective plastic injection molding services. With cutting-edge capabilities, we can handle complex molds with core pins, multiple cavities, cams, and lifts for insert molding, over-molding, in-mold decoration, and in-mold assembly. Presses in the 50-ton to 3,300-ton range enable our professionals to create shot sizes as small as 5g to as large as 2,500g with tolerances of ±0.005. 

Contact us today for more information.

Asia Manufacturing Costs Rose Higher in the First Quarter of 2022


Photo By: Mech-Mind


Asia manufacturing costs rose in the first quarter of 2022


Asia Manufacturing Costs Rose in the First Quarter of 2022

Tracking The Trends Which Drive Costs in Asia Manufacturing As

Q1– 2022 (Jan, Feb, Mar)


Manufacturing costs trended sharply upward in the first quarter of 2022. Most grades of Plastics, Steel, Alum, Metals, Wood, Textiles, Ceramics increased along with costs for Fuel, and Currency. Only Rubber and Paper decreased in the quarter along with Freight costs which declined 4.8% from elevated levels in most of 2021. The cost of Labor was flat in most Asian countries but rose sharply in China by 4.4%. The major manufacturing Indexes indicated slowed growth and contracting economies with the China PMI index down slightly by 1.6%, while the US PMI was down 2.7% in Q1 vs Q4 of 2021. In China, the largest sector of Asia manufacturing, by far, Imports decreased 6.9% and Exports showed a 18.9% decline versus Q4 2021 levels, while the PPI was down by 1.8% and the CPI showed little change.

Continued COVD shutdowns and the war between Ukraine and Russia are expected to put continued pressures on supply and demand for the balance of 2022.

For all the details please see the entire report that follows:

Asia Manufacturing Costs Moderated in Q4-2021

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Asia Manufacturing Costs Moderated in Q4-2021


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Asia Manufacturing Costs Moderated in Q4-2021


Asia Manufacturing Costs Moderated in Q4-2021

After a promising first half of the year, the second half of 2021 proved lackluster for Asia manufacturing.  Costs in Q4, 2021 moderated on lower demand and work interruptions caused by COVID outbreaks. These factors coupled with shortages of key semiconductor chips and power restrictions in China led to a decline in production capacity utilization.

The commodity price trends in the fourth quarter showed downward movements in some key materials reversing increases seen in the past few quarters. Most grades of steel, aluminum, plastics, other metals, ceramic raw materials, and fuel all showed price decreases while only rubber, paper, textiles, and other metals all increased slightly. Textiles, and labor costs meanwhile were mostly flat in price. Shippers breathed a sigh of relief in Q4 as the World Container Index declined by 10.4% in Q4 reversing the nearly year-long trend of increasing freight rates. China exports remained strong showing 11.4% increase versus Q3 and economic data showed the world’s second largest economy grew faster than expected between October and December. Numbers from China’s National Bureau of Statistics showed the Chinese economy grew by 8.1% in 2021, slightly below the market’s expectation for around 8.4% growth for the year. China’s producer prices dropped 2.3% from November to December 2021.

Numbers from China’s National Bureau of Statistics showed the Chinese economy grew by 8.1% in 2021, slightly below the market’s expectation for around 8.4% growth for the year. In the fourth quarter, China’s GDP rose 4% from a year ago, topping a Reuters poll that predicted a 3.6% increase. Industrial production also rose and beat expectations, but retail sales had a more muted growth.

The outlook for Asia manufacturing production in the first half of 2022 looks promising with strong demand continuing but with some uncertainty over the direction of new Covid outbreaks, power availability, increased fuel costs, and overall inflationary pressures.

For all the details please see the entire report that follows:

Asia Manufacturing Costs Moderated in Q4-2021

Precision Aluminum Extrusions


Source International – Aluminum Extrusion Products

Omicron Covid variant poses very high global risk says WHO


Omicron Covid variant poses very high global risk says WHO

Protect yourself from the Omicron Covid variant with KN95 masks. With about one quarter of the American population still unvaccinated and the Omicron Covid variant threatening, all Americans, whether they are vaccinated or not, should wear masks indoors in public spaces and in places where the coronavirus is still spreading. New cases of the COVID delta variant are still rising in many states, especially those with low vaccination rates.  Wearing a KN95 mask regardless of vaccination status can protect everyone.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that the Omicron Covid variant poses very high global risk and is currently advising all people, vaccinated or not, to continue wearing masks when around others as long as there is community spread.  The facts are in and masks protect against COVID.

The CDC  is now advising all students and staff to wear masks during in-person learning, regardless of their vaccination status.  The guidance could serve to reassure educators nervous about coming back into the classroom and give comfort to working mothers looking to re-enter the workplace. Meanwhile, the debate over face masks rages on, divided largely along partisan lines, and has spurred more discussion about mandatory vaccinations in government, higher education, and workplaces.

Which Masks Protect Against COVID best?

Experts say that masking up again is essential and the quality of the mask does matter.  A KN95 or N95 mask is going to give a lot more protection since both masks are designed to filter 95% of particles. We know that masks are effective against every variant that this virus has produced when they are tight fitting and used properly to cover the nose and mouth.  Some health care experts are now questioning the effectiveness of cloth masks which are reusable after laundering and disposable surgical masks which are cheaper and recommend double masking. That could lead to renewed interest in N95 and KN95 masks that fit much tighter. A well-fitted N95 or KN95 mask is extremely effective in stopping the virus, more so than a cloth or disposable surgical masks.

Asia Manufacturing Stalled in Q3, 2021


Asia Manufacturing Stalled in Q3, 2021


Asia Manufacturing Stalled in Q3, 2021 Due to Energy Shortages, COVID Outbreaks, Material Supply Constraints, And Transportation Backlogs


Asia Manufacturing Stalled in Q3, 2021 Due to Energy Shortages, COVID Outbreaks, Material Supply Constraints, And Transportation Backlogs. Factory output in Asia slowed in the third quarter as manufacturers battled COVID spikes, worker shortages, material supply constraints, and energy shortages. Raw materials continued their upward trends for the most part and transportation backlogs compounded the global supply chain problems.

The commodity price trends in the third quarter all showed upward movements continuing the trend for all of 2021. Most grades of steel, aluminum, other metals, ceramic raw materials, and especially fuel all showed significant increases while only rubber and paper slowed their climb upwards. Wood, textiles, labor costs, and the exchange rate remain stable meanwhile were mostly flat but showing little decline. Freight costs continued their move upward with The World Container Index up 46.02% over Q2 reaching all-time highs.

Chinese imports were up 4% and exports were up over 8% versus Q2.  And, while the CPI declined slightly, the PPI has risen over 9% this year hitting a 13-year high. The China PMI index was at 49.6 in September versus 50.1 in August slipping into contraction for the first time since February 2020.

Unfortunately, the outlook for Q4 does not have many promising signs for quick relief and a continuation or worsening of prices is likely as we move into the holiday season. Demand remains strong from both North America and Europe, and it remains to be seen if rising prices will temper that demand into 2022.

For all the details please see the entire report that follows:

Ask The Experts at the ASD Show, August 2021





Las Vegas will be hopping August 22 through 25 at ASD Market Week with 3,500 booths featuring 1,500 vendors and an inspiring, live educational  program.  It’s your chance to learn, shop, network, and play all in the same week!

With the return of key vendors and the reimagined all-in-one shopping experience, you’ll see ASD Market Week in a whole new way. Get an up-close look at high-margin products that will pop off your shelves and boost your profits – it’s everything you’ve been waiting for. ASD Market Week is the most comprehensive tradeshow for consumer merchandise in the U.S. Retailers and distributors of all sizes will find that the show floor is filled with quality choices at every wholesale price points



SOURCE INTERNATIONAL will be participating in two thought-provoking, educational sessions held right on the show floor. The success of your product offerings, whether private label or open market goods, depends heavily on finding the right source for product development and manufacturing and on the quality of the final product that reaches your customers. Today’s savvy consumers demand high quality products at the most competitive price, and you only get one chance to make a good impression and to generate a positive customer review. Join our sessions below and network before and afterwards to discuss your specific projects and goals.

  • Ask the Experts Panel will be held on Monday, August 23 and will include an interactive session with global supply chain management and legal experts sharing their thoughts on sourcing strategies, best practices, intellectual property protection, industry trends and more with considerable time devoted to questions and answers between audience members and panelist experts.
  • Global Sourcing and Supply Management . This session will happen on Wednesday, August 25 where you’ll learn tips to engage in collaborative strategic sourcing and global supply management best practices that minimize your risk long with discussions on current trends in global supply management including digital supply networks, sustainability/green product design, speed to market, transparency/social accountability, automation/robotics/smart manufacturing, additive manufacturing, logistics challenges, the onshoring/reshoring movement and more. Time is also allotted for a question/answer period.
Reserve a time to meet with Jim before or after the sessions.



ASD Market Week is the most comprehensive B2B trade show for consumer merchandise in the USA bringing the world’s widest variety of retail merchandise together in one efficient shopping experience. Retailers of all sizes will find that the ASD Market Week show floor is filled with quality choices at every wholesale price point where they can find thousands of high-margin products which consistently achieve a 300% mark up. Whether you have an online store, a brick-and-mortar business, or both, ASD is truly the wholesale buying event that can’t be missed for any small to large sized retail, e-commerce, distribution, or importing business.  Lets get back to business with higher margins, wider selection – All in One Market.

What’s more, ASD is the only retail merchandise trade show that allows buyers to network with each other, attend educational seminars, and meet with retail industry experts in order to learn how to sell more products online, drive foot traffic in-store, and improve general business operations. At ASD Market Week, you can learn and stay ahead of the curve with our free retail seminars & educational sessions. 


  • Highest Margin Merchandise
  • On-Trend New Products
  • Educational Sessions
  • One Place at One Time
  • Exclusive Buyer Perks

t’s Las Vegas, baby! There are lots of great reasons to attend and the top five reasons are listed above.  And, did you know that ASD partners with the best hotels, popular shows, and clubs to bring buyers exclusive events to make the most of the buying trips after-hours where there’s plenty of networking opportunities.

Contact Jim to schedule an on-site meeting at ASD where we can give you helpful tips and discuss how our program can add value to your new product development efforts. And, join our Ask the Experts panel and Global Sourcing session to gain valuable knowledge about developing private label products.

Learn + Connect

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from retail industry experts at ASD. From how to build an online presence to how to diversify your merchandise mix and attract a wide range of customers, you will not want to miss our FREE educational sessions held on the ASD and IRC Stages. Check out the full seminar schedule.


Be sure to Contact us to set up a private meeting on-site where we can discuss how Source International can add value to your product supply chain.

Feel free to share with all of your friends!

Masks Protect Against the COVID Delta Variant


COVID Delta Variant Is Spreading Quickly In The United States

With more than ¼ of the American population still unvaccinated and the COVID delta variant causing surging infections in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reversed their previous guidance this week and is now recommending once more that all Americans, whether they are vaccinated or not, wear masks indoors in public spaces in places where the coronavirus is spreading. The fact show that cases are now rising in most every state with hospitalizations surging in states with low vaccination rates. Over 80% of the new cases are the COVID delta variant. While most of the outbreaks are happening among unvaccinated individuals, wearing a mask regardless of vaccination status can protect everyone.

In May when the CDC suggested that vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks, indoors or out, the US joined a few other western countries to move away from mask usage before the end of the pandemic. Now, less than three months later, the CDC announced it had again changed its guidance on masks based on data showing that vaccinated people infected with the highly infectious delta variant carry the same viral load as unvaccinated people who are infected. The World Health Organization (WHO) is also currently advising all people, vaccinated or not, to continue wearing masks when around others as long as there is community spread. The facts are in and masks protect against the COVID delta variant.

In addition, the CDC also provided new guidance on face masks in schools and is now advising all students and staff to wear masks during in-person learning, regardless of their vaccination status. The guidance could serve to reassure educators nervous about coming back into the classroom and give comfort to working mothers looking to re-enter the workplace. Meanwhile, the debate over face masks rages on, divided largely along partisan lines, and has spurred more discussion about mandatory vaccinations in government, higher education, and workplaces.

Which Masks Protect Against the COVID Delta Variant?

Experts say that masking up again is essential to combat the highly contagious delta variant. It’s reported to have similar levels of concentrations in the air and permeability as the original COVID strains, but the quality of the mask does matter. A KN95 or N95 mask is going to give a lot more protection since both masks are designed to filter 95% of particles. We know that masks are effective against every variant that this virus has produced when they are tight fitting and used properly to cover the nose and mouth. And, wearing masks can prevent us from shutting down our economy again. Because the delta variant is so contagious, some health care experts are now questioning the effectiveness of cloth masks which are reusable after laundering and disposable surgical masks which are cheaper. That could lead to renewed interest in N95 and KN95 masks that fit much tighter. A well-fitted N95 or KN95 mask is extremely effective in stopping the virus, more so than a cloth or disposable surgical masks.

The CDC warns that about 60% of KN95 masks in the U.S. are counterfeit, and do not meet US standards. VexStar Medical has FDA approved KN95 masks in stock and ready for immediate delivery. Contact us today at 502-589-7900 to protect yourself, your family, and your staff.

VexStar Medical PPE

What’s the difference between N95 and KN95 Masks?

Simply put, N95 masks are the US standard for respirator masks (United States NIOSH-42CFR84) while KN95 masks are the China standard (China GB2626-2006).  The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a division of the CDC, requires manufacturers to meet the NIOSH standards in order to label their masks as N95s but, despite differences, the two masks are nearly equivalent on many critical features. One advantage of KN95 over N95 mask is that to be certified, the China government requires the manufacturer to run mask fit tests on humans while the N95 mask standard does not require manufacturers to run fit tests. Check out all the details of the differences between N95 and KN95 in this comparison chart.

Asia Manufacturing Costs Higher in Q2 – 2021




Asia Manufacturing Costs Increased in Q2-2021 Driven by Supply Chain Disruptions, Raw Material Increases, and Higher Transportation Costs

Q2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY – Asia Manufacturing Costs saw sharp rises in raw material costs and strains in supply chains in Q2. Meanwhile, contrained output and the spread of new COVID variants (especially in India) fueled further negative impact on productivity and supply chains. These factors coupled with logistics issues at Asian and US ports and surges in transportation costs are further complicating the situation and driving higher prices.

The commodity price trends in the second quarter all showed significant upward movements continuing the trends of the past few quarters. Most grades of steel, aluminum, other metals, ceramic raw materials, and fuel all showed increases while only plastics and paper retreated slightly from significant increases earlier in the year.  Wood, textiles, and labor costs meanwhile were mostly flat in price. The World Container Index increased by 19.6% in Q2 continuing the uptick in logistics costs this year and was by far the highest in recent years. China exports surged 16.7% versus Q1 reflecting the strong demand in the marketplace with heavy order volume. China’s producer prices rose by 8.8% year-on-year in June 2021 after a 9.0% gain in May and was the sixth straight month of increases in factory prices.

The outlook for Asia manufacturing production in the second half of 2021 continues to be strong led by the rapid expansion forecast for world economic growth of around 5% year over year.

For all the details please see the entire report that follows:




US-China Trade continues to grow year by year in spite of political, cultural, and geographic differences. In July of each year, both the US and China celebrate the beginnings of their countries as we know them today.  On July 4, Americans celebrate Independence Day (1776) while for the Chinese, July 23rd marks the anniversary of the founding of the modern government of China (1921).  It’s a big deal for both counties and an important month to stop and see how far we’ve come with US-China trade relations.

The Office of the US Trade Representative Reports that U.S. goods and services trade with China totaled an estimated $634.8 billion in 2019 (latest data available). Exports were $163.0 billion; imports were $471.8 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with China was $308.8 billion in 2019 with trade in services only with China (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $76.7 billion in 2019. Services exports were $56.5 billion, while services imports were $20.1 billion giving the U.S. a services trade surplus with China was $36.4 billion in 2019. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of goods and services to China supported an estimated 911,000 jobs in 2015 (latest data available), with 601,000 jobs supported by goods exports and 309,000 jobs supported by services exports.

Currently, China is the 3rd largest goods export market for the US and it largest import partner.  But where did it all start from?

JOIN US for 3 Learning Sessions at the ASD SHOW in Las Vegas – July 28-31

Come join us at the ASD Show in Las Vegas July 28-31 for 3 exclusive learning sessions targeted to all private label buyers and importers.
And Learning Sessions
ASD Market Week is 9 Trade Shows in 1 Central Location that features 19 Retail Categories from 2,700 Vendors from around the world. You can Find New Suppliers and Vendors, Thousands Of High-Margin Products which Consistently Achieve a 300% Mark Up and Enjoy Exclusive Deals & Perks Designed For ASD Attendees.

ASD Market Week (previously ASD AMD) is the most comprehensive trade show for consumer merchandise in the U.S. As the leading B2B trade show in Las Vegas, ASD brings the world’s widest variety of retail merchandise together in one efficient shopping experience. Retailers of all sizes will find that the ASD Market Week show floor is filled with quality choices at every wholesale price point.

What’s more, ASD Market Week is also home to the SourceDirect trade show, a B2B show for importers, distributors, wholesalers, and large retailers to buy wholesale goods directly from overseas manufacturers. SourceDirect at ASD is the go-to destination for buyers looking to source new product categories and find new ways to directly profit from manufacturers coming from top sourcing countries.

Whether you have an online store, a brick-and-mortar business, or both, ASD is truly the wholesale buying event that can’t be missed for any small to large sized retail, e-commerce, distribution, or importing business.

Contact Jim to schedule an on-site meeting at ASD where we can give you helpful tips and discuss how our program can add value to your new product development efforts. And by joining our 3 learning sessions you’ll gain valuable knowledge about developing private label products.

Registration to ASD and Source Direct is free through the link below.

And Learning Sessions
Ask The Experts Panel

Sourcing 101 Panel

Sunday, July 28, 2019: 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM

This session will cover the fundamentals of sourcing your products overseas. The panel will share their varied expertise covering the process of finding new suppliers, supply chain strategies as well as the art of negotiation and legal issues for newcomers to the industry.

Ask the Experts

Monday, July 29, 2019: 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

This interactive Q&A allows attendees to ask the panelists questions pertaining to sourcing and importing. Experts will address questions from the audience as well as answer questions that arose in previous seminar discussions leading up to this Q&A. We encourage an interactive dialogue where no sourcing topics are off limits. Walk away from this session with the sourcing knowledge and confidence you need to further your business.

And Learning Sessions

Driving Product Success and Positive Product Reviews Through Effective Sourcing and Quality Assurance

Tuesday, July 30, 2019: 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

The success of your product offerings, whether you offer private label or open market goods, depends heavily on finding the right source for product development and manufacturing, and on the quality of the final product that reaches your customers. Today’s savvy consumers demand high quality products at the most competitive price and you only get one chance to make a good impression. You may have the latest innovative, on-trend product but if the quality is not on-spec, it doesn’t arrive on time, or the price is not competitive, your chance to generate a positive customer review is greatly reduced or, even worse, may generate a product-killing bad review. In this session you’ll learn tips to engage in collaborative strategic sourcing that minimizes your risk, quality assurance best practices, and how to incorporate green initiatives to reduce your carbon footprint to drive product success for your brand and those all-important positive customer reviews.

So don’t delay, contact us today!

Sheet Metal Stamping For Industry


Source International – Sheet Metal Stamping


Sheet Metal Stamping Is One Of Our Core Capabilities