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4 Simple Steps to Choose the Best Design Partner for Your Product


Do you have the next great idea for a brand-new product or an improvement for your existing product?  Naturally you will want to find the best design partner to help you bring your product to market! Here are four simple steps to help you choose the best design partner for your product:

1. Product Design Process from Start to Finish

A great design partner will have a full understanding of the specific manufacturing process your product requires. The design process kicks off everything and ensures that there are no issues once your product moves into production.  Your partner should be able to provide you with the peace of mind that risks are minimized, testing requirements are adhered to and that are able to design a product likely to receive regulatory approval.

2. Market Awareness

Don’t settle for a partner who only cares about designing your product without them providing you support and honestly about the product being successful and viable in the marketplace.   You will know immediately what intentions a firm has in your product.  If they are genuinely interested in understanding more about your product and how their design expertise will add value in the process you know you have the beginning of a successful partnership.  Here are 4 questions an invested partner should ask you:  

  1. How does your brand-new product idea or product improvement compare to current products already in the market?
  2. What is unique about your product vs similar products?
  3. How will your product meet the customer’s needs?
  4. Are there any elements required to deliver the full scope of benefits to the customer?
  5. Are there specific enclosures or custom packaging that make your product more attractive to the customer?

3. Straightforwardness

The cornerstone of any partnership is honestly and trust. You need to be able to work with a partner you know will tell you “not what you want to hear”, but what you need to hear.  Here are 3 things you should expect a partner to be open and accommodating to:

  1. A partner should, without hesitation, sign a NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement)
    1. It is very telling if they offer to sign one before you suggesting it to them.
  2. Intellectual Property
    1. Do they require that the design files stay their property or will they give them to you?
      • They should give them to you!  This is critical when it comes to future product enhancements.
    2. Personal Connection
      1. Is this a good fit for all parties involved? 
      2. Do you respect their opinion and have total confidence in them?
      3. Do you trust they will keep you up to date with latest developments?
      4. Do you trust them to be a supplier and benefit to you as your company grows?

4. Skill, Judgement and Prowess

Don’t think of a partnership as a short-term relationship.  All partnerships, especially the design component should be able to guide and support you whether you are producing short production runs or aiming for mass production. 7 Questions to ask a potential partner are:

  1. What experience do you have helping companies/individuals/start-ups move from prototype into production?
  2. Have you worked with companies/individuals/start-ups throughout the product lifecycle from original production to improvements?
  3. How do you manage obsolescence?

At PM Plastics, we offer free consultations and can provide upfront honest costings and suggestions to support a business case. Many clients have found this initial discussion very helpful as an impartial review of their product.  Our goal is to ensure both parties can deliver a product which functions well and is designed with the manufacturing process in mind.

Call us on 262-691-1700 or email to learn more.

What Does An Injection Molded Part or Product Look Like?


Precision and strength are just two reasons why injection-molded products are one of the fastest growing segments of the plastics industry. They come in countless shapes, sizes and colors!

But what does an Injection Molded Part or Product look like?



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How Are Lotion Pumps Made?


Plastic lotion pumps, one of the most popular dispensing methods for viscous (thick liquid) products in the personal care and beauty industry, come in all shapes and sizes. Many of these parts are Plastic Injection Molded!  When used as designed, pumps dispense the right amount of product time after time. But have you ever wondered what goes in a lotion pump to makes it work? While there are hundreds of different designs in the market today, the basic principle is the same.  Here is an overview of these components, and how they contribute to the overall functionality of pumping the product from the bottle to your hand.

Generally speaking, a lotion pump consists of the following components :


ActuatorAn actuator, or the pump head, is what the consumer presses down to pump the product out of the container. The actuator is often made of Polypropylene plastic and can have many different designs – and often come with a up-lock or down-lock features to prevent accidental output,. This is one of the component designs that can set one pump apart from another when it comes to the exterior design, it is also the part where ergonomics play a role in consumer satisfaction.

The component that screws the entire assembly onto the neck finish of the bottle. It is identified with the common neck finish destination such as 28-410, 33-400. Often made of Polypropylene plastic, it is often designed with a rib side or smooth side surface. In certain cases a shiny metal over-shell can be installed to give the lotion pump a high-end, elegant look.

Outer GasketThe gasket is often friction fitted to the inside of the closure and it acts as a gasket barrier on the bottle land area to prevent product leakage. This outer gasket can be made from a wide variety of materials depending on the manufacturer’s design : Rubber, LDPE are just two of the many possible options.

HousingSometimes referred to the pump assembly housing, this component holds all the pump components in place as well as acting as a transfer chamber that sends the product from the dip tube to the actuator, and ultimately to the user’s hand. This component is often made of Polypropylene plastic. Depending on the lotion pump output and design, the size of this housing can differ greatly. 

Stem / Piston / Spring / Ball (Interior components inside the housing)These are the parts that can vary based on the design of the lotion pump. Some may even have additional components that aid the product flow, and some designs may even have additional housing components that isolate the metal spring from the product pathway, these pumps are generally referred to have a “metal free pathway” feature, where the product will not come in contact with the metal spring – eliminating the potential compatibility problems with the metal spring.

Dip TubeA long plastic tube made of Polypropylene plastic that extends the reach of the lotion pump to the bottom of the bottle. Depending on the bottle the pump is paired with, the dip tube length will differ.  A properly cut dip tube will maximize product usage and prevent clogging.

How Does it Actually Work?

A lotion pump acts much like a air suction device that draws the product from the bottle to the consumer’s hand despite the law of gravity telling it do the opposite. When the consumer presses down on the actuator, the piston moves to compress the spring and the upward air pressure draws the ball upwards, along with the product inside, into the dip tube and subsequently the chamber.

As the user releases the actuator, the spring returns the piston and actuator into it’s up position, and the ball is returned to it’s resting position, sealing the chamber and preventing the liquid product from flowing back down into the bottle. This initial cycle is called “priming”. When the user presses down on the actuator again, the product that is already in the chamber will be drawn from the chamber, through the stem and actuator, and dispense out of the pump and onto the consumer’s hand. If the pump has a bigger chamber (common for high output pumps), it may require additional priming before the product will be dispensed through the actuator.

Lotion Pump Output

The output of a plastic lotion pump is often measured in cc (or ml). Commonly in the range of 0.5 to 4cc, with some larger pumps with bigger chambers and longer piston / spring components having output up to 8cc. Many manufacturers have multiple output options for each of their lotion pump offerings, giving the product marketer full control of dosage.

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