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Switching From Metal To Plastic Manufacturing
Switching from metal to plastic manufacturing can reap huge benefits, cutting costs while improving the overall performance of the product. The metal to plastic conversion process isn’t simply swapping out materials, it’s using those new materials to simplify the entire production process.
Cary Products specializes in manufacturing plastic parts and accessories for HVAC and MVAC systems and can apply that experience to help you update your product line. We have an in-house staff that can help you modify metal parts for plastic manufacturing and a complete tool transfer room that can build and repair the molds needed for your parts.
Metal to Plastic Conversion Process
The metal to plastic conversion process starts with the design. Plastic manufacturing allows for more complex shapes from a single casting. In some cases, two or more metal parts can be replaced by a single plastic part. For example, a metal blower wheel is made up of fins that are welded to a hub and a pair of outer rings. A plastic wheel can be cast as a single piece, replacing a dozen or more parts with a single unit.
Whether making something for wide release consumer goods or in specialized systems, design benefits can be reaped from making the switch to plastic. Tooling for plastic and metal parts is similar, but plastic tooling lasts far longer than metal leading to lower overall production costs for large runs.
Secondary operations that are eliminated through plastic molding:
- Plastics come in almost any color, and formulations can be specified with performance qualities like UV and abrasion resistance, removing the need for paint.
- Logos and other information can be cast into the part, which means stickers don’t need to be printed and added to the product.
- Plastic injection molding has higher precision than metal casting, cutting out the need for machining. Less machining also means less waste, reducing disposal costs.
Manufacturing costs aside, plastics have a lot of major benefits over metal. Plastic parts can survive drop tests without bending or flexing, a crucial quality for HVAC parts, especially blower wheels and fans. Replacing metal MVAC parts and accessories with plastics reduces weight, which in turn cuts power demands and increases fuel economy.
Mixing Metal and Plastic Components
Want the advantages of plastic, but need some of the characteristics of metal? Metal plastic moldings, also called insert injection moldings, can combine both materials. For example, if a cage fan needs to run at high speeds, a metal bearing can be mounted inside the mold and the plastic of the fan cast around it. The amount of metal used with this casting can range from small parts like fasteners and threaded inserts to full systems needing a plastic case.
For more information on metal to plastic conversion, contact our experts.