PLASTIC MOLDING BLOG

How to prepare CAD Drawings for Your New Manufacturer

Posted by Mike Fil on February 13, 2018

As we’ve previously mentioned, when you’re considering moving manufacturer or reshoring your product to the USA it’s important to have design files (CAD drawings) of your product on hand. Using these files, your manufacturer can develop a deeper understanding of your product...

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Choosing the Right Color for Your Silicone or Plastic Product

Posted by Corie Yodis on March 2, 2018

The color of your plastic or silicone product can make all the difference, especially for your consumers. It’s the first thing any customer will see of a product and can make a real impact on sales. The right color choice can set you apart from competitors and other brands,...

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Choosing the Right Plastic Material for Your Product

Posted by Lynn Momrow-Zielinski on February 7, 2018

Product designers, entrepreneurs, and inventors often ask Extreme Molding for material recommendations when manufacturing their products. With thermoplastic materials (plastics, resins, or polymers that are moldable above a specific temperature and then solidify when cool)...

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What Is First Article Approval?

Posted by Mike Fil on February 13, 2019


When you’re working with a silicone injection molding manufacturer, their processes can sometimes seem complex and meandering. Because silicone manufacturing is a precision process, the stages involved in creating your silicone product are not accidental.

Each step is essential for the production of quality silicone parts. One of the steps in production we often get asked about by new clients is First Article Approval. Let’s take a closer look at what First Article approval is in silicone manufacturing and what it means for your bottom line.

Silicone Manufacturing Processes

With most silicone manufacturers, the process of creating your project follows several universal steps — there’s initial contact, during with your manufacturer needs to see your pre-prepared design files, and then there’s an estimation of cost, followed by material and color selection and sourcing your mold.

After your mold is ready, there’s also something called first article approval. You might think you are ready to create your product in large volumes after your mold has been created. In reality, you have a few more key steps to complete.

Any good manufacturer is dedicated to efficiency and quality when it comes to their products — maintaining the high standards of silicone manufacturing means being precise and exacting when it comes to quality assurance.

What Is First Article Approval?

First Article Approval is the process of approving the first products created from your new mold — sometimes this process will need repeating if your engineers find flaws with the design, mold dimensions, or you are not happy with the color or final material feel. Essentially, this step in the production process means you get the highest possible quality product that matches your requirements.

During First Article Approval engineers from your manufacturer will issue a report comparing your dimensional requirements and other such specifications with the results of the molded product. Any arising issues are generally addressed immediately, with the manufacturer working to get your product to the exact specifications you require.

Once you approve this first article, and are happy with the results, real production begins. Injection molding is an incredibly fast process, so once manufacturing begins in earnest you could see as many as 1 million parts delivered within 12 weeks.

What Makes First Article Approval So Important?

Manufacturers who don’t offer First Article Approval run the risk of producing sub-standard and inconsistent parts in the millions for their partners — something that is especially high risk in the consumer, healthcare, aerospace, and pet industries. Without this step in the process, you have no way of checking whether your mold — a piece that is quite capable of producing millions of products — produces components that are up to the precise standards of your industry. This is especially true of the medical and food industries — both of which have strict regulatory bodies and requirements.

For Extreme Molding, this step is essential in our production process. It’s what means we can ensure we produce some of the highest-quality silicone parts and products in the USA. With a reject rate of less than 0.01% in the last 5 years, we know that our First Article Approval coupled with the exacting standards of our expert engineers is responsible for the outstanding quality we offer our partners.

Once this stage in the production process is complete, you can confidently commit to manufacturing large volumes of product knowing that your bottom line is going to thank you for the improved efficiencies your manufacturer has come up with.

Next Steps: Call in The Experts

If you value quality, transparency, and expertise that you can trust get in touch with us today for a free consultation. We have over 60 years of combined experience in business and industry within our management team and we’re dedicated to quality assurance.

Our commitment to producing the highest possible quality product for our partners makes us one of the most attractive silicone manufacturers in the US, and our location is a draw for companies seeking reduced shipping fees, a manufacturer you can trust, and increased sustainability.

Tags: Injection Molding, Product Design, 2019