One key moving forward for micro-injection and insert molders will be to bring a "complementary set of vertical competencies to the table," the experts said.
"Such that for the customer base, it becomes a simplified supply chain," Kyle said.
Accumold runs more than 175 micromolding injection presses, with 50 percent of them built by the company itself.
And experience in the industry tends to be the calling card for most competent micromolders.
"There are a lot of people buying a micromold press and claiming to be a micromolder," Runyan said. "But you really have to have the experience and have your own tool shop.
"We have about 60 tool makers, and they are the heart of the company. You need experience to make high-tolerance tools."
The injection press matters, as does quality ancillary equipment, he said.
"We've had well over 8,000 projects in production," Runyan said. "Having the confidence and experience is very important to show the customer that, hey, we have done this before and yes, we can handle a specific application.
"Everything is important in micromolding: the micro-features, micro-tolerances, micro-size, micro-everything."
Begert agreed that the quality of machinery is vital in micromolding.
"You need a high degree of precision in small shot sizes," Begert said. "Plastics in micromolding have quite high-shear rates.
"It all comes down to the size of the injection screw or plunger. With small sizes, only a handful of machines can do that."
Manufacturers should take care when switching between LSR and TPEs, as TPE is relatively warm when it enters a cooler mold. Silicone is the opposite, as it is a thermoset that is relatively cool when it enters a hot mold.
"In a different molding aspect, there are challenges going from plastic to silicone as there is a thermal difference between the material and mold," Begert said.
He added that working with a larger firm like Trelleborg can bring in critical networking solutions for customers.
"We want to work with our customers as early as possible in the process. Customers can be very innovative," Begert said. "And if we find that we cannot manufacture it, we need to have suppliers involved. We are specialists in materials and process. And we can bring these supplier relationships to the customer."