Work Thought

Fusing Magnetics and Plastics: Building a Moat for Innovation in the Manufacturing Industry

In many applications, neodymium magnets are commonly utilized alongside plastics, where they are integrated to form a single unit. Last year, I successfully redesigned a system that combined magnets and plastic, resulting in reduced costs and enhanced magnetic strength.

There exists a fundamental difference between magnets and plastics in terms of commercial manufacturing. Neodymium magnets are machined parts, while plastics are typically produced through injection molding, requiring specialized molds. When a customer invests in a plastic injection mold from a supplier, they often become tied to that specific company for purchasing parts. The mold creates a “moat” for the supplier, leaving the customer with limited choices for sourcing their plastic components.

Conversely, customers can easily switch between different suppliers when ordering neodymium magnets, allowing them to seek the lowest prices. This dynamic fosters unhealthy competition and makes it challenging for magnet suppliers to conduct business.

Recognizing this reality, I have been diligently studying both plastics and the various ways in which magnets and plastics can be effectively integrated—such as insert-molding, press fitting, ultrasonic welding, laser welding, and more. The ultimate goal is to become an expert in both magnetics and plastics, enabling us to serve a niche market that demands a supplier with technical expertise in both fields. Additionally, this expertise would offer the advantage of building a “moat” for our magnet business, should customers choose to invest in their injection molds with us.

By developing proficiency in both disciplines, we aim to provide our customers with unmatched solutions that combine magnets and plastics, while also positioning ourselves as a reliable and knowledgeable partner in the industry.

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