Despite being around for 20 years ago, high gravity compounds haven’t been able to shed off their ‘niche’ image. The world has always seen plastic as a cheaper and lighter alternative, but heavy plastics may finally be changing the way we look at plastics.
Building a Brand
Despite being the perfect solution, densified materials are often overlooked by original equipment manufacturers and processors because many are still unaware of these materials or are inexperienced to deal with them. Some might not even be aware of the use of such materials by their competitors. This is where branding comes into play. Once a manufacturer is made aware of these materials and sees them being used as material solutions, it is easy to make the connection with one’s own applications.
Lead Replacements Run the Show
Lead replacements continue to win hearts with safer and more durable solutions as the world tries to get rid of the dangers posed by lead. The regulatory pressure against the disposal of lead continues to increase and the growing awareness of alternate solutions allows manufacturers to transition to heavy plastics. The medical and nuclear industries have already seen this switch, but everyday consumer products and electronics are also waking up to the benefits of using high-gravity compounds.
Weight Might Just Be a Good Thing
Customers are constantly searching for innovations when it comes to things like plumbing fixtures, razor handles and cosmetic packaging. Products using densified materials are often seen as quality products with a sense of luxury being portrayed through higher weight. Many of these products use thermoplastics as they are cost-effective as well as efficient, and are then plated to replicate the look and feel of metals.
Selecting the Right High-Density Compound
High-gravity compoundsoffer an excellent alternative to metals, but there are a few things to consider while choosing a compound for your application requirements. The compound density is essential to getting it right. Ecomass Compounds offer a density 1-11 g/cm3 to allow for a wide range of applications. Choosing the right base resin is equally essential and this depends on several requirements such as rigidity, operating temperature, tensile strength and exposure to chemicals. Other factors to consider include UV stabilization, color and bonding with different materials.
How Can Ecomass Compounds Help?
Ecomass Compounds can offer densified material solutions across four application areas – weighting, balancing, vibration dampening and radiation shielding. Weighting solutions include dishware, casino chips and plumbing fixtures. In all such cases, the material is designed to offer mass in places it is needed the most. Vibration dampening plays an essential role in audio headphones, golf shaft weights and acoustic probes. In fact, EcomassTechnologies is already supplying materials to renowned golf club manufacturer PING.
Balancing applications include counterweights and inertia discs. In these cases, the high-density material can easily compete with traditional metals and offer solutions which can be customized to suit injection moulding production. Radiation shielding is a must for x-ray devices, collimators and backscatter shields. When it comes to radiation shielding, the biggest competition comes in the form of lead, and due to regulatory pressures against the use and disposal of the material, the world is slowly opening up to using lead replacements.
A Peek into the Future
High-gravity compoundsare finally making the switch from representing niche products to offering solutions for every-day applications. And as the world wakes up to 3D printing, the future looks quite bright for these metal replacements. The biggest hurdle the industry faces today is the inability to prototype using thermoplastics and 3D printing could help solve this problem by the end of 2016, without having to depend on expensive tooling.