Category Archive: Plastics

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 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.

Precision Casting Parts


Source Delivers Precision Castings


Casting was one of the first industrial manufacturing processes dating back at least 7,000 years to China, India, and Pakistan. Throughout history, the casting process has been used to make tools, weapons, works of art, and other parts.

The modern casting process uses many different techniques and in all of them, liquid material is poured (or injected) into a hollow cavity of a desired geometrical shape and allowed to cool down to form a solidified part. The solidified part after it is extracted from the mold is known as a casting blank.

Betting on China Manufacturing-Tesla’s journey


Tesla is doubling down on China Manfacturing

Opposite of what the market is doing, Elon Musk, true to his contrarian nature, is heading in the opposite direction and doubling down by heavily betting on China manufacturing.  His Shanghai Gigafactory 3 went online in record time last year and currently Tesla stock is said to be more valuable than the market capitalizations of all China’s listed carmakers combined.  Tesla is the sole owner of its Gigafactory 3 car plant in Shanghai and this is the first time that this has been allowed in China, previously requiring joint ventures with local partners. Combined with low cost land and government incentives including low-interest loans and subsidies, Tesla was able to drop prices and increase sales and manufacturing volumes.

Betting on China manufacturing

In a recent article in Week In China published by HSBC, the authors discuss the Tesla strategy betting on China manufacturing and its approach to sales and manufacturing. Tesla recently selected China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) and South Korea’s LG Chem as new battery suppliers in an effort to diversify its sourcing chain beyond Panasonic and allowing it to retain all three of the leading EV battery makers in its supply chain.  They discuss a possible “cultural clash” emerging and Musk’s vision for upending 100 years of automotive tradition. And, as the EV companies battle over charging standards, a confrontation is likely to develop.  Further, the emergence of cobalt free batteries has the potential to lower the battery costs significantly.

All of this is intertwined with Tesla’s sales strategy in China and its Chinese competitors.  BYD, a Chinese battery-maker that morphed into a car firm (backed by Warren Buffett and South Korean giant Samsung), is one of China’s closer competitors to Tesla.  Similar to Tesla’s business model, BYD has branched out into solar panels and energy storage and an ambition to accelerate the world’s generation and storage of clean energy. Tesla is seen as a trendy pacesetter in China this year, despite the virus, accounting for nearly 1/3 of all electric vehicle sales in China in 2020 so far.

So, what about your company? Are you betting on China manufacturing? Could your Asia supply chain need a tune-up to compete in the “new world”?

Let our team of professionals show you how we can add value to your supply chain in these volatile times. Now, more than ever, you need someone on your team, looking out for your interests and controlling the hard to control offshore manufacturing situations.

Contact us today to get started on your “buy global – act local” supply chain strategy.

To learn more about Source International, visit our About Source page.