At the Engineering Resource Center, we are often called upon to help customers convert parts from machined, forged, or cast metal to highly engineered plastic. Converting parts from metal to plastic can be a great way for a manufacturer to cut costs, have more product design freedom, and speed up production. However, the newly designed and engineered plastic product must first pass the testing required to make the switch. Here's what you shouldn't compromise on when trying to keep costs low.
Material selection matters
Using the right material is important with metal-to-plastic conversions is key, particularly for parts that need to withstand strenuous testing. Working with a prototype service that is experienced in material selection can ease you through the process and ensure that you are selecting the best material for your part. The ERC has built strong relationships with material suppliers to help our customers choose a material that will withstand the rigorous testing required to change a critical part in an assembly from brass, aluminum, or steel. Our sampling area is set up in a way that allows multiple materials to be sampled in a quick and economical fashion. Sampling of highly engineered materials is something our engineers do on a daily basis so you can be assured that the parts you will receive are processed for peak performance in your assembly.
Don't compromise your design
Having all of the designed features in your prototype mold is also crucial when making a conversion from metal to plastic. Eliminating a feature to ease manufacturing and save money on a prototype may result in the design not passing testing and therefore not being approved within an assembly. We are always working to accommodate geometry requests by designers and engineers.
We designed our own proprietary steel mold bases to house inserts to prevent delay in the case that the customer requires design changes. If the initial prototype parts molded at the ERC show promise but there is just a small change to be made to the design, we can quickly make a change to the tool steel to minimize the delay in the testing process. We mean it when we say "your design, no compromise." Our goal is to produce high quality prototypes and low volume parts, exactly as you designed, for a competitive price and lead time.
Your key to a successful conversion: The ERC
At the Engineering Resource Center, we want your parts to be successful. Our engineers are here to help every step of the way, whether you need engineering guidance or a new prototype. Contact us or check out our metal to plastic info page.
Is your company making the switch from metal to plastic? Let us know in the comments.