Custom Molding Process
Every custom mold presents a challenge: it must meet a creative team’s standards for art and aesthetics while also adhering to the science and engineering required for successful blow molding. The right partnership is key for a successful outcome and a final product that meets everyone’s standards for appearance, performance, cost and availability.
At Alpha Packaging, our custom mold development process begins by working with a brand’s creative team to learn more about their vision for their custom bottle. We ask questions that help guide us in the manufacturing process: What is the bottle going to look like? What will it contain? Should it be rigid or squeezable? How will the bottle be decorated? Is sustainability important to your brand? Each of these questions leads our team down a path to identifying the right processes, materials and other aspects of your custom mold project. Getting the right questions answered upfront can mean the difference between having a prototype approved in weeks or going back to the drawing board to address issues that weren’t identified in the early stages of design.
After our team has defined these parameters for the molding process, we can move into manufacturing considerations. For PET bottles, we often start with our existing library of preforms, to evaluate whether or not an existing preform can be used to blow the bottle. If we can use an existing preform, we can save the brand owner over $100,000 in mold costs and significantly shorten the development process. With nearly 100 preforms in our PET library, Alpha often has an existing preform from which to make a custom bottle or jar. If an appropriate preform does not exist – for example, if the customer needs a special neck on the bottle, or a heavier or lighter bottle than normal – we work closely with the customer to create a custom preform that is optimized for their new bottle.
For HDPE bottles, the blow molding process we use (extrusion or injection) impacts the cost of the mold, so we take all factors into consideration while determining which process to use.