Frequently Asked Questions

All General Tooling Molding
Can PTI decorate my part, e.g. pad-printing, laser marking, shielding and painting?
PTI offers a variety of part decorating options that include single or multiple hit pad-printing, high quality laser marking, shielding and painting. Shielding and first surface painting are offered as a managed service.
Can PTI do sub-assemblies?
PTI does assembly and sub assembly operations. We are set up for low volume, labor-oriented and product assembly. Also accommodate moderate to higher volume assemblies. Whether your product needs are contract manufacturing or custom packaging.
Does PTI do EMI and RFI shielding?
Yes, it’s a managed service. PTI has aligned itself with vacuum metalizers and painting sources, allowing us to offer surface shielding on plastic components.
How do you manage a project?
We assign a program manager to all customer projects. The program manager reports to the senior management of PTI and manages all day-to-day activities and correspondence to the appropriate customer. Project management reporting follows various customer specific formats, including Microsoft Project reports that are updated on a weekly basis. The program manager is assigned to the project from the onset, through successful production launch, and remains the point person for all post production questions, dialogue or changes, should they occur. Weekly conference call updates are also a common approach with communication.
How does PTI remain competitive in the global market?
PTI focuses on aggressive lead times and high-quality manufacturing services, while maintaining international standard compliances. All services, from design through manufacturing are completed in house and contribute to competitive advantages in cost, quality and delivery.
How long has PTI Engineered Plastics been in business?
PTI is a privately held company, founded in 1984, which operated under the name of Proto-Tech Industries until 1987. Proto-Tech Industries produced functional prototype molds and injection molded samples before changing our name to PTI Engineered Plastics. The name change was driven to better reflect the turnkey, mind to manufacturing operations that PTI is today.
What are PTI's core competencies?
PTI’s in house tooling and up front design for manufacturing support market-entry low-volume plastic injection molding and production from tooling that can be validated. We address each customer’s unique requirements, while remaining competitive in cost and delivery. Our assembly and value add secondary operations provide a one-stop solution for customers.
How small or large of a part will PTI produce?
Our machine capabilities cover a range from 35-ton to 300-ton clamping forces and shot sizes from .09 to 25.56 ounces.
What is PTI's minimum order quantity?
PTI typically does not have a minimum order policy. PTI has a re-occurring setup charge that applies to all part numbers. There are cases when minimum orders do apply for the customers. In cases where the raw materials have minimum orders for resin or components, this may equate to a minimum order for the customer.
Why are low-volume part prices more expensive than high-volume part prices?
There are a variety of reasons why the low-volume part price is more expensive than the high-volume component. It is always important to look at the total cost when evaluating part price. Typically, the tooling cost and part price is over a 12-month period or set number of pieces. This would give you your total spend for this component inclusive of tooling and parts. If a material is selected that is custom in nature, the price per pound for the material is dependent on the buying quantity. For example, if your product requires 500 lbs. of material per year, the price per pound would be more expensive than the product requiring 500,000 lbs. of material. If your material selection is one that PTI is currently using for other components, you will be given our current buy-posture for that resin.

Other reasons for a higher part price on low-volume is the tool construction. If your part requirements have undercuts or die lock conditions, they can be approached in two ways. The most economical approach, that offers the lowest tool cost, is a hand-removable insert (typically known as a hand load) that would be ejected out each time with the part and be replaced for the next part cycle. This requires a molding technician or a press operator to be present at the machine performing this manual task. The second approach for undercut conditions would be an automatic slide, or lifter, which allows the tool to run in a semi or fully automatic process which lowers the part price, but increases the tool price. The cost difference from a tool with hand loads versus automatic slides or lifters would vary based on the geometry and size of part.

When PTI quotes, we typically will look at both avenues and offer a tool build process that yields the most economic value for the customer, which is why it is important to look at the total cost for a given component.

Will PTI allow our engineers or management team to be present during the build and manufacturing of our short-run project?
PTI encourages any customer that has a project under the management team of PTI to be present if they desire. However, it is not necessary to be present to assure your project meets its most aggressive plans on introducing your product to market rapidly. Whether your needs are low, moderate, or high volume, PTI welcomes all customers to our facility during the entire build phase or any segment through the project. To accommodate your visit, PTI provides engaging collaboration areas where you can meet with our team when needed, or use this creative space as a private office.
Will PTI build functional machine-cut prototypes without being awarded the production?
PTI will assist you in your designs and material selections for a single part or a multi-part program for your functional prototype needs, whether or not being the production source of trust. If the production is placed elsewhere, PTI will offer and recommend transferring all lessons learned from the prototype phase to the selected production-manufacturing supplier without any additional cost.
Will PTI do our assembly?
PTI’s assembly and contract manufacturing statement allows you a single source approach for your project. Our assembly offers:

  • Spin Welding
  • Sonic Welding
  • Heat Insertion
  • Heat Staking
  • Hot Air Cold Staking
  • Multi-Component Mechanical Assemblies
  • Purchase Component and Assembly Management
  • Custom Packaging
  • Third Party Distribution

Will PTI do short-run or low-volume injection mold tool building and manufacturing?
Yes, fast turn-around tooling in QC-10 aluminum or hybrid aluminum/steel for short-run injection molding has been the hallmark of PTI’s business, now and in the future.
How many parts will an aluminum tool produce?
The tool life for aluminum tooling varies. The tool life typically for a non-abrasive material such as polypropylene, ABS, or polycarbonate, can be in excess of 150,000 pieces. Tool life for more abrasive materials, such as glass-filled nylons or other glass-filled resins will be less than 150,000 pieces. The tool life stated is for tools producing components that either have automatic slides or no moving parts on the tool that would develop wear.
How much greater is the estimated tool life of P-20 steel vs. aluminum?
In a non-abrasive material, such as polycarbonate, ABS, polypropylene or nylon, the tool life for steel vs. aluminum could be three to five times greater.
How much more costly is P-20 steel tooling vs. aluminum tooling?
Steel tooling, over aluminum tooling in most cases, will cost more. The reason for the cost difference varies from part shape to part shape. The primary reason for the cost increase is due to the machining process. Machining aluminum is much faster than machining steel. In general, the cost difference from aluminum to steel can vary from 25%-35%, depending on the part shape geometry.
Once my low-volume tool has reached its stated tool life, do I need to make a new mold?
Every part geometry varies. When a tool reaches its stated tool life, in most cases it can be refurbished. The refurbishing cost will be less than the original tool cost, and in most cases, will allow you to re-state the same tool life set originally.
What tooling options can PTI suggest if my initial quantity is small, but will be much larger in the future?
There are several ways to approach this need. Many customers enter the market with unclear volume potential; interest and orders may start off slow and progress as the product gains popularity. PTI has several tooling options to offer for these scenarios. PTI can offer an aluminum hybrid tool that would meet your initial part requirements at the lowest cost for tooling and the fastest track to market. This tool may cost you a little more in part price, but would be a lower tooling investment.. As the products begin to ramp-up, the tool could be modified in areas where it may have hand-loaded converted into automatic slides. As the product requirements continue to ramp-up, PTI could support your current product need with our low volume tool as a steel tool, or a multiple cavity tool could be fabricated to support your new market requirements. This allows you to have a constant flow of product, maintaining your market share, and minimizing your cash flow and tooling appropriation funds.
Why does PTI offer aluminum and hybrid, as well as mild and hardened steel tools as opposed to just one tooling standard?
PTI’s business statement, and services that we offer to our customers, span a range from functional prototypes to low-volume and high-volume injection molding. The different tool media that are used offer our customers the most economical approach for their programs. Aluminum tools can be machined at a much faster rate than steel, typically by 25% to 30%. Less time is used on aluminum tooling versus steel. This time savings equates to dollars saved under total tool cost. PTI makes the selection that offers the customer the maximum savings, which makes it very important when we are quoting your project, to understand your yearly and total tool life requirements in terms of pieces molded.
Will PTI's estimated tool life appear on my quotation?
PTI always presents the customer with an estimated tool life, which only means tool restoration may be required after reaching this estimated number of parts.
Are PTI's molds built in-house?
98% of all molds are built in PTI’s state-of-the-art tool room, which has over 45 highly skilled tool makers on staff.
Can PTI provide custom color molded parts for small quantities?
PTI has a variety of custom compounders that will custom-blend small quantities of material, from 10 lbs. up to 10,000 lbs. Custom-color materials in small quantities, for the obvious reasons, will be more costly than higher volume custom-color purchases. PTI can also offer a group of standard colors for customers who have some flexibility in color choices and could pick from a color spectrum of over 200 standard colors available.
How can PTI prevent degradation in highly detailed part areas where using aluminum molds?
When PTI quotes an aluminum tool, PTI always uses its best judgment by using steel in areas where the part geometry is very small or delicate and would not withstand the molding pressures in aluminum. In almost all mold designs for low volume tooling, we use a hybrid method of steel/aluminum mix throughout the tool construction to assure the maximum longevity for each mold design.
How large a part footprint can PTI's standard MUD-type mold base accommodate?
PTI has a variety of standard unit bases, more typically known as master unit dies (MUD). The largest part, that will fit into PTI’s largest standard MUD frame is 5″ x 7″. Part geometry’s that require more real estate than our largest MUD frame of 5 x 7 will then be put into a freestanding mold set.