Tooling cost estimation in China, Korea, Taiwan

There is new product/new design I am looking tooling company for.

At this moment I am mostly interested in rough cost estimation of injection-molds and production of single units.

The question is how should I manage the collaboration at this level/moment to protect my design and obtain prelimenary costs without making final agreement or confirming the order with particular company form China or Korea?

thanks in advance

You are in Poland and want to have something
tooled up and injection molded in China? Why?

I’d bet you come out ahead, if you do it local.

Steel for tooling costs the same in China.
Plastics cost the same in China.
Hours of machine running cost the same in China.
Electricity is a little less in China.

Operator in China costs a lot less, but is only a tiny
fraction of the grand total.

Design engineering in China is roughly 1/2 price, I’d say
but once you factor in multiply flights and delays it just
wont cut it.

Than there are customs and taxes on top.

Even if you leave out the questions of trust, cultural gaps
and language issues I’d not see a reason to look so far east
from Poland.

There will be several local injection molding companies,
who could handle your request responsibly and might be
even better in saving on tooling than you possibly ever could
be, as this is part of their business.


I’d have to disagree with the assumptions below - Poland simply doesn’t have the network of education / experience in tooling and production runs that China has now amassed after 25 years of slowly building infrastructure toward a singular goal (to manufacture everything the world needs).

During the last 25 years, I’ve witnessed (first hand) injection molding in the US, Mexico, Canada, The former Czech republic, China, Taiwan and Vietnam - sadly, what used to be a very reliable network here in the States is now almost entirely ODM for equipment/appliance and automotive, Canada dabbled with injection molding as a forte in the 90’s but settled on a few specific types of machinery and product that best suited their surroundings, the Eastern Europeans constantly fight economic battles and so don’t have the infrastructure to compete against Asia’s massive financial backing. I have not found better cost-efficient solutions for injection molding that those in my network in China. Even Taiwan and Vietnam have become marginalized as suitable for specific industry (clothing, steel forging, enclosed product, etc) while China continues it’s big umbrella approach of trying to be the “makers of molded stuff and all that accompanies it”.

To the poster, proe-warsztat, you’re welcome to IM or email me if I can be of help.

thank you for all replies


you`re right: I can make tooling in Poland, and yes there are capabilities(tooling shops and experienced people) to handle it.

I launched tooling shop investigation both here(in Poland) and there(China, Korea, Taiwan). The point is the compare cost, taking every step in behind for final result. But I require this info how much the tooling would cost in China.


I cant discuss because I havent collaborate that much at both sides(east Europe vs China). I did a lot of stuff, but all legal issues was taken by extra office/buisnesspartner I did have in China. Now I am left on my own.

What about Germany or Austria? I know there are companies specialized in small batches and you’d be much closer to the manufacturer. They sure have the experience to deal with this kind of projects.

Why not just CAD up a similar shape with very basic tools, like all extrudes? Make sure the shape is same size, roughly the same volume, and would require similar tooling layout (amount of sliders, cavities etc)

Engio: Great Idea!

You can’t get a quote for a tool by guessing - every vendor will charge you different amounts and amounts are negotiable depending on quantities.

With that said, my feedback would match IDAL’s - Germany has many tooling vendors and they are some of the best in the world. Since travel is a big part of manufacturing, plan on what it would cost not only for travel to the vendor (trips which can cost thousands of dollars) but also shipping to the final destination.

I would disagree with that. In China and Taiwan all they do is guess, and you are likely to be charged the same ballpark figure as you would even if you changed the design. Tooling is also not affected by QTY if you are paying for it. Detail cost is another story of course.

Some guessing for 2 cavities in China
Pencil cap - 20-25K RMB
Stapler housing - 40-60K RMB
Power tool housing 2K rubber grip - 60-100K RMB

150% of that in Taiwan. 3-400% in Germany.

It should be said that you get what you pay for. You can come by cheap and good tooling, but will likely spend month revising tooling layout and tweaking. If you just want a smooth and easy process and know nothing about tooling - scramble the cash and stay in EU.


Also may sound reasonable to offset the cost by saving on travel (skipping 2 trips from EU to Shanghai can save the company maybe €5-6000), but travel budgets and R&D investment budgets are 2 separate spreadsheets. 1 of which is affecting your department, and the other one the whole company. Of course, company politics may not be applicable if you are developing your own thing.

From my experience we’ve had much different pricing in China for similar sized objects including 2 shot parts. And like I said even if you guess as soon as you find out you have to add a slide, lifter, whatever that can change.

We’ve had tons of issues with tooling vendors in Asia even though we continue to go there. Poor process control (parts at launch don’t look like parts 2 weeks later), vendors randomly changing tooling designs between release and cutting steel (hey why is that parting line in a different spot?), and all kinds of other yield and tolerance issues. Usually which require a team of engineers to fly over for 2 weeks to fix, but ultimately all of our manufacturing is there and the vendors we used are all based in Asia so it is what it is.

Since Germany is a train ride away, that would be my vote - those guys know what they are doing, and they’re in the same time zone so it’s easy to get on a phone call or visit a factory in short notice.

Thanks guys for the kind words. Perhaps I was a little shy flogging the German competence
in injection molding and tooling myself.
In fact we are tied into part of that business but sadly
I am not in a position to take on additional projects for ourselves via Core.

So I just hope the OP is getting competent and interesting quotes out of Asia as well as out
of FRG. It would be interesting to see a rough breakdown of the propositions (perhaps in
percentages of differences and broken down in project stages?.)

My estimation was that, tooling and engineering for tooling out of FRG would be 2x the chinese
offers after taxes. Engio says 3 to 4 times… So, there is a gap between the predictions of two guys
with (different) experience.

Would be interesting for all of us to see how and if that gap tightens.


once again, thank you all for your input

nevertheless, I would like to turn your focus on my question:

how should I manage the collaboration at this level/moment to protect my design and obtain prelimenary costs without making final agreement or confirming the order with particular company form China or Korea?

What legal procedure - if any - should I follow to make it(rough cost estimation based on my 3D model and 2D drawings) possible?


I though about rough model, however this would involve creation of new drawing with important to me dims and tolerances(part is big and tolerances will drive here primary role). At this moment I can not afford extra time for this.

I would just send the design out and ask for a quote for tooling with the material you want for the tool steel. You do not need to place an order, you are just asking to request a quote.

That quote should be valid for them to deliver on assuming the design does not change. If you have not sent it to any tooling vendors, then you may need tooling feedback to modify the design.

You should be able to request an NDA be signed by the tooling vendor before you send over information. With that said, China is China, and if your design is unique and easy enough to knock off or be copied then again keep that in mind. If you have any IP in place that would help.

I would not try and make a fake model just to get a quote, it will waste both your time and theirs which any business owner would not take kindly to.

thank you Mike

I find NDA request best way to follow for this moment

I’m from China , a mechnical engineer,some guys talk about the issue about china maybe is incorrect.
firstly if you can find an honestly vendor ,keep secret is not a big problem.Firstly you can demand a NDA from your supplier;secondly,you can contorl your CAD files format,for example ,you can give them a picture with demension,you can get a rough price,if you feel the price is ok,then make a next step;thirdly,if you want a accuracy price,you can give your vendor a shrink file(proe can do this.If you have any question, you can reach me,I will help you.

Companies I have worked for typically do multiple bid RFQs with vendors similar to what Mike is stating above. It helps if you have vendors you know and trust, or have friends who recommend them and build a relationship. Having a local representative can also help. The tooling costs can vary greatly and of course if you can guarantee a high quantity they can disappear.I would think it would also help to have some ballpark notions in mind to aid in negotiating. A great OEM/ODM will help by giving you feedback as well to make the production more cost effective.