Metal to Plastics Conversion

For years metal to plastic conversion was the norm rather than the exception . The reason for this is very simple. During the early years, we were a “copy-cat” industry. Also up until the 1950s there were fewer than 20 different raw materials to choose from. Then starting in the 60s new, more requirement specific materials started to evolve. Some were developed for high impact qualities, some were for chemical and solvent resistance, while still others were developed to be used in high heat situations. At the same time new products started to evolve that were no longer copies of other products but were use and application specific. The first sign of this were the reel to reels used in the earliest mainframe computers. As desktop computers, desktop printers and later on mobile phones became reality more and more application specific raw materials were developed.

Plastic parts designers were preoccupied with products that were designed only in plastic and new products that were designed in metal were pretty much slatted to always be metal, in spite of the fact that we now have at our disposal an arsenal of over 25000 plastic raw materials that will virtually fill the bill on any metal application.

Why Convert:

There are literally hundreds of reasons to consider “Metal to Plastic Conversion”.  Listed below are just a few:

  1. Aesthetics ;  Most plastic parts can be produced in an infinite variety of colors.  Colored plastic parts are colored all the way through and therefore paint peeling is no longer a factor.  Parts look new longer.
  2. Plastic parts will never corrode.
  1. The unit cost of plastic parts is generally far less than that of metal.
  1. With over 25000 materials available, it is probable that a part after conversion will be made from a much more application specific material.
  1. In injection molding, repeatability is a feature that is of great value.
  1. Weight ….Plastic parts are usually much lighter than their metal counter parts, which in the automotive industry equated to more MPG.
  1.  Plastic parts are relatively maintenance free..(No painting or surface repair)
  1. Adherence is an important feature in plastics. Parts can be put together via any number of methods, i.e., liquid welding, ultrasonics, spin welding or over molding.  Just to name a few.  All accomplished by production workers rather than skilled or certified welder
  1. Plastic parts greatly reduce or eliminate the need for secondary machining as on many metal parts.
  1. Plastics part can easily have a wide variety of surface finish, i.e., knurl, texturing (leather, geometrics, matte finish).

End-Use Benefits:

When equipment manufacturers complete metal to plastic conversion throughout their product lines the may effect serious reductions in freight costs as reflected in:

  • Reduction in shipping damage
  • Reductions in packaging costs
  • Added consumer confidence reflected through a more modern perception of the product.

Plastic products today are no longer regarded as second rate but are seen as items made of modern “space age” material superior to the metal products that they replace.


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