Over-engineered parts offer plastics opportunity

Many metal parts are still over-engineered – giving an opportunity to re-design them using plastics.

This was a key message from Eureka’s ‘Designing in Plastics’ Design Day, held on 29 April at the Kaetsu Centre in Cambridge.

Delegates, who numbered more than 70, were warned that the rules of plastics design were quite different to those for metals.

“Recognise that plastic is not metal,” said plastics consultant John Hockey, who presented the keynote paper. “Use published data appropriately.”

Craig Norrey of polymer supplier DuPont, urged delegates to recognise the limitations of plastics.

“Plastics and metals are different, and we must recognise this,” he said.

While plastics have “generally inferior mechanical properties” to metals, are more expensive per unit weight and are sensitive to temperature and moisture, he said their greater design flexibility and low density could lead to cheaper, lighter components with increased functionality.

To learn more about future events, click on the Design Days website.

Lou Reade

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