Replacing metals with plastic has finally become a viable and cost-effective option for many businesses. Engineered thermoplastics have made great in roads in offering businesses with many of the strengths that metals possess, without any of the draw backs that metals can be famous for.
Misconceptions About Plastic
One of the biggest misconceptions of plastic is that it tends to have a lower melt temperature as compared to metals, restricting its use in high temperature applications. This may be true in the broadest of terms, however, there are several flame-retardant properties that can be introduced to composite materials to help raise their melt temp and allow them to meet stringent flame-smoke-toxicity requirements. In fact, a number of these engineered thermoplastics such as Teflon have a melting point over575°F.
Why Choose Plastics Over Metals?
There are a number of reasons why plastics offer a better alternative to using metals.
• First and foremost, engineered thermoplastics have 1/7th the weight of most non-ferrous metals. This means that they act as a boon for industries such as the automobile sector where weight is an incredibly crucial aspect. Reducing weight is critically important for the automotive industry as they strive for ever better mileage with increasingly strict MPG targets put forth by regulators. These types of engineered plastics are hence vital for the automotive mileage quest as they can achieve the strengths of metals without the weight. Moreover, the size and volumes involved means that handling lighter materials makes it easier for the industry. A lighter material also means cheaper transportation costs.
• Plastics help bring about lower production costs and lower actual material costs. It is also often cheaper to produce injection moulded plastic parts when compared to their metal equivalents.
• Finally, thermoplastics don’t corrode or oxidise. This means less maintenance, a superior appearance and a longer life.
How Can I Replace Metal with Plastics?
There are two ways by which you can replace a metal with engineered thermoplastics –
1.Using a light-weight plastic which has the same physical properties and strength: Light-weight plastics are particularly needed by the automotive sector where these high-gravity compounds have become indispensable thanks to their various characteristics.
2.Using a plastic that has equal mass and density to a metal: Composite materials can achieve the same density that is required by your application while using plastic so as to offer direct cost savings in the manufacturing process by allowing you to switch from metallurgy to injection moulding. This becomes incredibly beneficial for those involved in complex part geometries or high-volume jobs.
How Can Ecomass Compounds Help?
Our composite materials offer a number of distinct advantages when compared to their metal equivalents in the form of low overall costs, reduced vibration, low maintenance, simplified designs, less weight, better resistance to chemicals and simplified designs. Our engineered thermoplastics can be customized to perfectly match your application requirements and offer you the most cost-effective materials. For applications which require electrical, physical or mechanical properties that go beyond off-the-shelf products, Ecomass Compounds also offers custom materials that can be tailor-made to meet your exact requirements.
There might be some cases where the use of metals is indispensable, but in most cases, one can easily switch to composite materials and high-gravity compounds. It ultimately depends on the end-use of the application.