Plastics are better for the environment

Plastics once had the reputation of being harmful to the environment. This is no longer true. Engineers today are making a commitment to specify the right material for the planet, which usually is plastics. The manufacturing and transporting of other materials such as metals require a large amount of energy. Using metal parts can negatively affect air and water quality. Plastics require less energy to produce and most thermoplastics can be recycled. Their light weight composition also makes products and equipment lighter and more efficient. Improved part longevity also means the creation of fewer parts which also has a positive environmental impact. In addition, equipment using lighter weight parts can also require less energy to operate.

Plastics weigh less than metals

The lightweight manufacturing of plastics causes a ripple effect. The lower weight of plastics results in saving both in money and energy. The difference in weight between metals and plastics is significant. For example, nylon is 1/6th the weight of steel and cast nylon is 1/3rd the weight of aluminum. Lower weight means lower shipping cost and less energy used for shipping.

Plastics protect mating parts and products

Producing a quality product is a goal every engineer should commit to. This means protection of the quality products is vital in the assembling and transporting stages. Plastics, such as UHMW, Nylon, Acetal, Urethane, PET, and PTFE, have a low coefficient of friction. Their excellent wear and soft touch make engineering plastics the designers’ choice for equipment with a requirement for longer life. Contact such as metal-to-metal, metal-to-glass, and metal-to-cardboard will result in high-wear and marred surfaces.

Plastics endure minimal friction

Plastics possess low coefficients of friction. This minimizes the need for sealed bearings and lubrication and increases part life, ultimately saving time and money. Metals possess higher coefficient of friction, meaning more time and money is spent on lubrication and sealed bearings, and replacing components.

 

Plastics resist abrasion

Plastics track record of durability continues with abrasion resistance. The materials are excellent in abrasion resistance and can outwear steel in sliding applications. Metals endure higher abrasion and in result, the material wears and loses its quality much quicker. Low abrasion means longer life span for the product and machine.

 

Plastics are resistant to chemicals and corrosion

Corrosion is no match for plastics. Plastics can completely withstand aquatic corrosive effects and resist most chemicals. You can also pick your plastic based on their specific chemical resistance and operating temperature. The same cannot be said for metals. Metals are unstable, meaning they cannot withstand water and chemicals, and will eventually corrode into their stable mineral form.

 

Plastics provide the designer with more flexibility

Perhaps one of the best qualities of plastics is their flexibility. Whatever you manufacture or industry needs may be, a comprehensive fabrication process with a variety of polymers can create what you desire. Metals are typically more difficult and restrictive to manufacture.

 

Plastics production takes less time and energy

The process of manufacturing plastic is significantly quicker and more efficient than manufacturing metal. The process for metal requires additional steps, such as painting and preparation, cutting, cleaning, and fixture construction; whereas prepping plastics does not involve these additional steps:  Reference https://www.productiveplastics.com/metal-vs-plastic-5-key-comparisons/ .

Plastics are durable

Despite plastics being light weight, they are still able to be just as durable as metals. Calculated by the “strength-to-weight ratio” plastics can exceed metals for their strength, regardless of their size and weight. This means plastics not only weigh less than metals, they can also be more durable.

 

Plastics are more affordable

With plastics weighing significantly less than metal alternatives, the cost of shipment is far more economical. As stated before, the time it takes to manufacture plastics is also significantly quicker than metals. Shorter production time means less labor time and expenses. With the ability to utilize a variety of processes including: Fabrication, Injection Molding, Machining, Urethane Casting, and Thermoforming, each process can save money.