Traditionally, plastics were chosen, preferred even, simply because of the fact that they were lighter than most metals, thereby making them cheaper, lighter and easier to work with. That may have been true for the better half of a century, but not anymore. The entire idea of deliberately manufacturing heavy plastics sounds crazy, but it does have some amazing advantages.
Let’s take the example of a lipstick tube. When you come across a tube that feels heavy and compact, you are instantly reminded of quality and a sense of dependability. After all, fragile cases don’t exactly inspire confidence, considering that these items spend most parts of the day in those 1000-dollar Fendi or Loeffler Randallhandbags. The case with high-density materialsis quite similar. While metals could also offer that sense of quality and dependability, they are costly especially when it is required that they be formed or machined into complicated shapes. The increased competition and the need to reduce production costs drove companies to search for better and easier alternatives. And what could be better than engineered thermoplastics that not only offer design flexibilities, but also present cost benefits and ease of manufacturing. For the right application, these high density engineered thermoplastics are the best of both worlds indeed, offering cost savings and production efficiency.
Is It Really in Demand?
There are a number of industries and applications, particularly in the personal care market, where materials that are a bit heavier and stimulate the feel of using a metal are high in demand. This is where heavy plastics can also compete. Heavy plastics, also known as doped plastics, or high gravity compounds are characterized by having a high specific gravity ranging between 2 to 11 g/cc in density, depending on the choice of high-density filler or weighting agent, and offer practical solutions for all kinds of applications.
One of the main reasons why the world is going ga-ga over heavy plastics is that designers often tend to run into problems when they need the material to do the opposite of the commonly accepted rule, in this case that is, to add more weight. At the same time, there are other applications which need ‘dead’ materials that are soft enough to offer vibration dampening qualities. And we really don’t need to mention that these materials should also be able to free up space, something that is always a premium for component parts. In other words, if the purpose of the part is to add mass, there are two ways to achieve that: volume or density. The higher the density, the less volume required thus giving designers a wealth of freedom when designing parts and components. Irrespective of which of these situations sums up your issue the best, and regardless of whether it’s about dampening vibration, enhancing contact experience, shielding radiation, adding weight or balancing assemblies, you can find a material solution with these high density materials.
How Does Ecomass Come Into the Picture?
Here at Ecomass, we have been focused on heavy plastics for 15 years and have developed over 200 compounds to meet the exact requirements of a wide plethora of applications. The right density is our main focus when producing composite materials in order to ensure that each compound is able to deliver the exact mass per the requirements. Our processes enable us to offer tailor-made solutions when it comes to material density, thereby allowing for equal part volumes with variable mass. Beyond density we can address a number of other physical property requirements as well.
In fact, one such solution turned out to be perfect for PING, a renowned golf club manufacturer that faced major challenges in terms of balancing club head-weights. The solution to this problem turned out to be constant part geometry with variable final part weights. Ensuring that the compound was soft enough to offer vibration dampening transmitted from the shaft was equally important. And guess what saved the day? Replacing metallic club head-weights with heavy plastics!
It’s not just about mass and weight however. Ecomass Compounds serve three other specific application areas as well – vibration dampening, radiation shielding and balancing. We choose the optimal base resin that is appropriate for your exact requirement and can also control the filler and other additives so that the end material meets your density and other physical requirements at the best price-point available.