Small plastic parts are driving innovation across industries thanks to their ease of production, relatively low cost, and reduced weight. In the rush to adopt today’s new and stronger polymers, however, their design is trusted too often to either engineer who works predominantly with other materials or automation systems operated by designers with a low experience level. This can lead to a lack of quality, soaring production costs, or costly recalls and the reputation damage they bring. That’s why the support from professional plastics engineers is vital to the success of your project.
Plastics In Manufacturing Considerations
In order to create a small plastic part that will perform up to the needed specifications, there are several key considerations. First, the proper material needs to be selected. Different plastic polymers will have different properties, making them better suited for some tasks over others. The polymer used for a firearm component, for example, may react to heat or pressure far differently than a small plastic part used in a water pump. A perfect shape made from the incorrect material can easily lead to failure.
Secondly, you have to watch the bottom line. While plastic parts can represent a great way to save costs, unnecessary mistakes can easily leave your bookkeeper seeing far too much red. To optimize your returns, you’ll want to make sure you have a streamlined process that gives you the least amount of time-to-market that is safely possible. This means fewer design errors, watching your tool expenses, and minimizing engineering changes on both the remainder of your product and the production floor.
Finally, You’ll need to ensure a rigorous quality assurance process exists. This helps control costs on the back-end and can dramatically bolster your company’s reputation. That means you will need to set accurate benchmarks for every part and adopt a proactive system to test for uniformity of materials, wall thickness, or other factors that contribute to the part’s effectiveness.
Professional Engineering Services
The easiest way to ensure success your transition to plastic parts is to make sure you have professional engineering support. A competent engineer can look at your initial draft or CAD file and help you better optimize it for the intended purpose. This includes small design changes to add structural support, cut weight, or reduce the impact on your existing production process.
A better initial plan leads to fewer wasted prototypes. The traditional trial-and-error process is inefficient and costs you both time and money. With plastic parts that have been professionally designed, you’ll get better prototypes faster, significantly decreasing the time it takes to get your part into production.
Professional plastics engineers are well versed in more than the process needed to get your plastic part from concept to completion. They understand the materials that will make your component as well as the properties that the materials offer. An experienced plastics engineer can help you find the correct mix for your material and suggest alternatives if your initial choice does not meet your part’s needs. Real-world experience can help save a tremendous amount of research time should a material change be necessary.
Choosing The Right Plastics Partner
When you are selecting the right company to help make your plastic parts, experience should factor heavily into your decision. You will want to make sure they have a proven track record in both design and manufacture of plastic components. They should have a wide knowledge base that covers tooling, materials, and the production processes that are involved with both the production of the contracted part and with how that part relates to your product as a whole.
You should also look for a company that has developed connections across industries. This not only points to their standing in plastic manufacturing itself but also gives you access to expanded resources should related services, such as custom machining or finite element analysis, be needed. When they partner with the best, you partner with the best.
Revolutionize Your Manufacturing
Proto Plastics has been a leading innovator in plastics manufacturing for almost 50 years, earning us the experience to help you revolutionize your product. Our professional plastics engineers will work with you from the drafting board through production to make sure you reap the full benefits that plastic parts can give you. Contact us today for the plastics design, engineering, and manufacturing you need for success.