Making the Move to Machined Plastic Parts
Machined plastic parts are to be found literally just about everywhere. They are in hundreds of the products we see and use every day, and in many of the machines we rely on to make our lives easier and more efficient. They are even becoming more and more common in heavy-duty applications like the automobile and aerospace industries.
There is an ever increasing number of applications in which plastic offers a really viable alternative to more traditional materials such as steel, stainless steel and aluminum. Machined plastic is a particularly good option for:
* Large or thick parts that are unsuitable for injection molding
* Very detailed or intricate parts, or parts requiring close tolerances
* Low volume orders
* Prototype parts for testing applications
* Parts requiring a short lead time
Machined plastic parts are lightweight, flexible and corrosion resistant. They are perfect for use in any application where resistance to chemicals or electricity is required, or where extreme durability or quiet operation is required.
More and More Industries are Using Plastic Components
Many industries are already making extensive use of plastic in many of their applications. These industries include mining and transport – where plastic is used as a direct metal replacement for thrust washers, bearings, pulleys, wear strips, crane sheaves and conveyor curves – as well the food and beverage industry.
Plastic parts are ideal for use in the food industry as volumes are traditionally fairly low. But because machined plastic parts don’t need expensive manufacturing tools, the cost per part of the machined components is comparatively inexpensive, even if only a few pieces are ordered.
Other industries making more and more use of plastic components include:
* Aerospace – components such a grease lubrication inserts are commonly now made of plastic as it offers extended life, improved resistance to corrosion and a saving on weight
* Medical – items include surgical scissors, forceps, grips, clamps, temporary implants, respirators and parts for X-ray and dialysis machines
* Oil and Offshore drilling – parts are absolutely reliable, even under extreme weather and underwater conditions. Plastic offers stability and good chemical resistance. It is also highly impact resistant and robust
* Renewable Energy – used in components of wind and wave turbines, as well as for precision parts for other alternative energy systems such as fuel cell technology.