Plastics have proven to be a reliable alternative to metals in a variety of industries, and consumer appliances are no different. With modern technology and expert material combinations, the perfect resin can be created for simple, complex, and customized parts that meet your requirements.

Here are five ways switching your metal parts to plastic can benefit your business.

1. Cost Reduction

Let’s not mince words: cost reduction is important. The less you need to spend, the healthier your bottom line becomes, and the more savings you can pass on to customers. Using plastics for component parts in consumer appliances is one way to keep costs down while maintaining outstanding quality and performance. There are a few reasons why plastics are usually a more cost-efficient option than other materials.

First, plastic resins themselves are (usually) just naturally less expensive than metal options. In fact, you might save between 35 and 50% just by switching materials. Some sources put the savings even higher, at 60-90%.

The manufacturing process with plastic is also less costly than the process for metals and other materials. Plastic manufacturing processes, especially plastic injection molding, are streamlined to reduce secondary operations. They can also be optimized to produce high volumes in short timespans, saving money on ongoing operations. Often, molds can be printed, tested, and run within a matter of days or weeks, saving months in the long run.

It’s also easier to use materials efficiently with the customizable manufacturing processes offered by plastic injection molding. Design flexibility allows you to use less resin to achieve the same, or better, results as metal options. Plastic injection molded parts can have thinner walls, complex geometries, and precise specifications without the need for material waste or unnecessary surface area.

2. Lightweight

More and more OEMs have their eye on lightweighting consumer products. Lighter weight products improve customer experience (remember how heavy laptops used to be, with thick metal casing?) as well as performance. Not to mention, lighter weight often equates to more economical shipping charges.

You can achieve significant weight reduction by switching out metal parts for customized plastic resins, which often weigh less but perform as well or better. Even a simple switch of composition material can translate to a significant reduction in weight.

However, the weight of raw materials isn’t the only way that plastics can help lightweight products. Because plastic parts offer more design flexibility and increased performance, the parts themselves can be designed without unnecessary material, which adds both bulk and weight.

3. Design Flexibility

Machining metal parts has its limitations. Precision features on metal parts become unreliable and difficult to maintain. Workholding for complex shapes is also a challenge, cool time eats into production, and secondary operations can add time and opportunities for error.

Plastic injection molding, on the other hand, allows for easy customization of design to meet any needs. Experts can help you devise the perfect combination of resins and additives to suit any operating conditions, with features adapted to the desired shape and function of your product.

Secondary operations can also be built right into the tooling process, limiting the number of steps a part has to go through before it’s complete. Tooling for plastic injection molding is less expensive than for metal operations, allowing for prototyping and product testing to ensure quality performance.

4. Aesthetics

The look of a part can be as important to customer satisfaction as its function. However, when aesthetics are treated as an afterthought, it’s easy to damage a part or affect its specifications when making modifications to improve the look.

With plastic injection molding, aesthetics can be built right into the part design, from color to pad printing to plating.

5. Noise

Plastics have an inherent quality that metals do not, they insulate and absorb noise. Sound propagates from air into absorbing or reflecting materials. Since plastics are lighter, their characteristic impedance is similar to air and are regarded as the best soundproofing materials.

Amorphous plastics have higher sound absorption properties compared to semicrystalline or crystalline materials. This along with the color and additive flexibility compared to metals provide a leg up for appliances.

In fact, plastic resins are heavily customizable, and can be modified to suit any operating conditions or performance requirements. You can select the resin by itself or include additives to customize performance for certain conditions. The best part is, these durable resins come with all the benefits listed above, and none of the drawbacks of working with clunky metal parts.

Contact the experts at Thogus to see how we can help build the benefits of plastic into your consumer appliance parts!

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