Metal replacement. It is not just about light weighting

Irrespective of the market into which you supply there is a growing focus on metal replacement. The drive towards this is led by the automotive industry however many other markets can employ the same ideas to benefit their own components.

Why should you consider manufacturing in plastic over metal? There are lots of potential benefits which include but are not limited to:

  • Light weighting
  • Improved product performance
  • Design freedom
  • Part integration
  • Complex designs
  • Streamlining production
  • Shorter and more simple assembly
  • Reduction in scrap rates
  • Reduction in secondary processing
  • Cost savings

Be it a high performance sports cars where every gram saved benefits performance to industrial goods where weight reduction could make the process of installation easier. Switching from metal to plastic isn’t as simple as just copying a metal component and making it in plastic.

in an extensive range of applications and markets there is one constant, design. To get the most out of your metal replacement program you need to discuss the key requirements very early in the design process. Typically, a plastic part designed optimally is similar to that of a well-designed metal component. To maximise performance it can be necessary to reduce wall sections and add ribs help to reinforce the strength of a component. Gate locations are key especially as a lot of metal replacement grades contain fibrous fillers. These fillers (such as aramid fibres, glass fibres and carbon fibres) need to be studied and simulated to ensure that you compensate for shrinkage, deflection as well as fibre orientation to maximise the strength of any weld lines. New polymer compounds which offer additional functionality such as electrical and thermal conductivity further broaden the potential applications where metal can be replaced with innovative plastic solutions.

Utilising tools such as Moldflow analysis as well as our experience with design for manufacture Ultrapolymers can help advise you on material selection and how best to maximise the potential of your component. In addition to analyses such as Moldflow you can also run structural analysis (FEA) to simulate how a component will perform in the field.

If the replacement of metal with plastic is an area you would like to discuss further please #ASKULTRA and we’ll work with you in all stages of the project from Design to Manufacture.

Tel – 0044 1925 750320

Email – sales@ultrapolymers.co.uk

Author
Ultrapolymers Ltd

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