Numerous industries including healthcare, electronics, industrial, and automotive have relied on metal for many years to produce the parts and components that go into their finished products. While that is still true, many manufacturers are turning to thermoplastic resins as their continued evolution makes them practical for many metal to plastic conversion opportunities.
Why are a growing number of OEMs and product designers converting metal parts to plastic? Here’s a helpful overview:
Enhanced design freedom and production benefits
Part functionality: Due to its low melting point and high moldability, plastic can be easily formed into basic and complex shapes with ease. It’s also lighter than metal, which makes it ideal for applications where weight savings is a key requirement.
Cost/time reduction: Unlike metal parts which require casting, machining, and other complex processes, thermoplastic parts require fewer processing steps. More parts can be produced in a shorter amount of time, often at a lower cost than metal parts.
Production efficiency: When converting metal parts to plastic, consolidating multiple components into less complex assemblies can streamline the manufacturing process. Thermoplastic parts can also be molded with inserts that contribute additional properties to the parts or make them easier to assemble into finished products.
Aesthetics: Thermoplastics can enhance a part’s aesthetic qualities, provide excellent structural strength, and give manufacturers a creative edge in their design process. This is especially important for applications where consumers have high expectations for the finish and appearance of products.
Tailored to your production requirements
Today, thermoplastic resins are available that meet a wide variety of production and application needs, which makes a stronger case for converting metal parts to plastic:
Chemical/weather resistance: They offer a variety of characteristics including: moisture and water resistance, protection against solvents and other chemicals, impact resistance, and electrical insulating properties. There’s a resin for nearly every application.
Flame retardant: Plastics offer reliable performance across a wide range of temperatures. High-heat thermoplastics can withstand temperatures up to 450° F without degradation, while also offering mechanical properties that are equal to metals.
Strength reinforcement: Fillers can be added to thermoplastic resins to enhance their characteristics. Common options include glass and ceramic fibers, antioxidants, flame retardants, and UV stabilizers.
Plastics allow for broader program performance criteria:
- Operational and ambient temperature range
- Impact or load
- Maximum load or deflection
- Creep and fatigue constraints
- Friction or wear
Contact New Berlin Plastics today to discuss how we can help you with your metal to plastic part conversions.