Top 10 Reasons to Convert to Plastics
With plastic weighing less, requiring less manufacturing time and energy, and being corrosion and abrasion resistant, it’s no wonder more and more companies and industries are trusting plastics engineering versus metal for their components and parts. We detail the top 10 reasons why you should be converting to plastic!
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Plastics endure minimal friction
Plastics possess low coefficients of friction. This minimizes the need for sealed bearings and lubrication and increases plastic component life, ultimately saving time and money. Metals possess higher coefficient of friction, meaning more time and money is spent on lubrication and sealed bearings, as well as replacing components.
5. Plastics resist abrasion
Plastics track record of durability continues with abrasion resistance. The materials, such as UHMW polyethylene, 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, and those in the mining industry value plastic components for their ability to outlast and outperform metal.
6. Plastics are resistant to chemicals and corrosion
Corrosion is no match for plastics. Plastics can completely withstand aquatic corrosive effects and resist most chemicals, thus they are excellent solutions for the water and wastewater treatment industries. 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.
7. Plastics provide the designer with more flexibility
Perhaps one of the best qualities of plastics is their flexibility. Whatever you manufacture or your industry needs may be, a custom plastic fabrication process with a variety of polymers can create a superior plastic solution. Metals are typically more difficult and restrictive to manufacture.
8. 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: Metal vs Plastic 5 Key Comparisons.
9. 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.
10. 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.