Soft Tooling VS Hard Tooling

What is soft tooling?

Soft tooling, or prototype mold is preferred when we need injection molded parts quickly or at a lower cost.  It is also great choice for low volumes. We can use soft steel such as NAK80 or  aluminum to build the soft mold in house. Once

plastic injection mold

the mold has been completed,  we can make your parts in-house using our ton injection molding machine ranging from 50Ton to 650Ton.  The soft tooling is featured as below.

The tooling inserts are made using 718 HH or Nak 80, (preharden 33 to 38 HRC).
  • Inserts can be drilled, milledand grindedusing normal process of machining.
  • The tool life is guarantee up to 500 K shotwhile aluminium mold up to 10K shots.
  • The lead time is shorter compare to hard tool.
  • For Proto Tool or toolingwith low volume requirement.
plastic injection mold What is hard tooling? Hard tool is production tooling that requires high quality . The core and cavity is usually made of the best quality steel, such as  H13, S136 etc. Hard tooling is the best choice for engineered parts with tight tolerances, or parts with large production volume. And of coursue the upfront cost is the most expensive with longest manufacturing lead time. Hard tooling or hard moulds are featured as below.  
  • The tool’s inserts are made using 8407 or Stavax (harden 46 to 54 HRC).
  • Inserts can be drilled& milled, but after hardening special process will be required.
  • The tool life is guarantee up to 1 million shot.
  • The lead time is longer compare to soft tool due to the heat treatment process and extra
machining needed.
  • For tool requiring high precision and High Volume
  • For tool using PC with glass or fibre filled resin
    When it comes to a choice between prototyping and production , understanding what you need is important . If you have a tight-tolerance part that is critical to whole project, cutting corners and cost in the development stage may not always save the money over the long term. To learn more about the importance of qualifying a plastic injection tooling in the overall injection molding process,  contact us at  

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