Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Plastic Machining Company

plastic machining company

During your next project, imagine getting a phone call that changes everything.

The plastic machinery order you placed is late, and that critical path on your project? It’s heading in one direction and not the direction you’d hoped.

That’s why supplier choice is so critical. But there are many things you can do to make it run smoothly.

For a start, you can take some time to check supplier credentials before picking your preferred option. This guide will help you do that. Here are ten questions to ask before choosing a plastic machining company.

1. What’s Your Experience With Plastic Machining Projects?

You’ll already know what you need for your plastic machining project. You should find a company with experience in a similar project. That must be one of the first questions on your list.

Experience is crucial. Every project will have differences in plastic types and machine techniques. Some suppliers will have more specialist skills than others. That could be important for your project.

Ask the potential supplier to discuss their approach when on a similar project. Explores some of the problems they faced and how they overcame them.

2. What Types of Plastic Machinery Techniques Do You Offer?

Understanding the types of plastic machinery techniques on offer is vital. It will vary by company, depending on the equipment.

Some plastic machinery companies will be able to handle more diverse plastic types. That might include precision cutting and milling, for example. Some will have injection molding machines.

Another specialism to note is whether the company has thermoforming machines. These are helpful for larger and more complex plastic designs. Finally, look for 3D printing capabilities if that’s something you need.

3. Can You Provide Customer References?

Asking for customer references is essential. It will tell you whether the company can deliver your project satisfactorily.

References will also provide insight into their customer service support and reliability. Ensure you always follow up on references once a company offers a reference’s contact details.

Draft a set of questions you can send to the reference to make things easier. When reviewing references, you want evidence of skills like problem-solving abilities.

That will tell you a company can think of solutions when faced with complex plastic requirements.

4. What Types of Plastic Material Do You Machine?

The types of plastic materials a company can machine will tell you their breadth of expertise. You must choose a company that can work with the plastic you need.

Some plastics have distinct properties, like PVC or polypropylene. These plastics need specialist machinery.

You may also find that a company with lots of experience can recommend the best plastic material for you. They can advise based on the strength and flexibility you need.

5. How Do You Monitor Quality Control?

You want a company that will consistently deliver high-quality work. The best way to get that assurance is by checking their quality control processes.

The quality controls should include regular inspections. And you’ll need to check this happens at each stage of the production, not just at the end.

Some companies may offer advanced technology for more precise inspections, plus regular equipment maintenance.

Another quality feature to look for is a company with the ISO 9001 standard. Ask the company to discuss how they handle quality issues and what corrections they implement.

6. What Certifications and Standards Do You Have?

Evidence from third parties, via certifications and standards, demonstrates a company’s credibility. It will show you that they are committed to following best practices.

That might be about sustainability, safety, quality, or many other aspects of machining.

Depending on your industry, you may need to see more specific standards. For example, the defense industry has specific security requirements.

Check these certifications before you sign and ensure they are up to date.

7. Can You Work With Custom Designs and Prototypes?

You may need a highly custom design for your project. Or perhaps you have a small prototype you want to build as part of a proof of concept. You’ll need to check that’s something a supplier can offer.

You’ll want to ensure the company already has an established process for unique projects. Discuss the approach they will take to ensure the project runs smoothly.

For example, it might mean extra time during the design process before any machining starts.

8. What Are Your Lead Times for New Projects?

You will have a deadline to work to, and you may even have a project plan. It’s tempting to ask a company if they can deliver within your timescales. But a better question to ask is about their turnaround time.

They may be able to do the machining work quickly, but if the company has a three-month lead time for starting new projects, that will impact you.

Ask about other factors that affect lead time, such as specialist contractors, third parties, and suppliers. Any supply chain disruption could impact your dates, so you must have a complete picture from the start.

9. Can You Explain Your Pricing Model?

It’s helpful to get transparency about the prices you’ll pay. Each company will have a unique pricing structure, so understand how it works. It will help you avoid unexpected costs.

For example, check whether the prices are based on material, design complexity, or volume. Some pricing models may be more cost effective for your project than others.

Check any extra fees you’ll need to pay, like delivery charges or project changes.

10. Where Are Your Facilities?

Knowing the location of the facilities is helpful. It will tell you if your project has logistical, timescale, or communication risks. For example, a company may do some of its work overseas.

If so, you’ll need to examine the impact on your project. For example, how will that affect a resolution if you have a problem with your end product?

Local facilities also make it easier to meet and communicate. If some of the work is subcontracted to another state or country, it’s essential to know how this will affect you.

Choosing the Right Plastic Machining Company

Don’t shortcut your hiring process for your plastic needs. The right plastic machining company will help you achieve the exact specifications for your project, avoiding repeat work or delays. Use these questions to help you make your choice.

For more information about what we offer for your plastic machining needs, contact us here.


David Taylor Digital | Digital Marketing Agency