Material Selection – Step #1 in Plastic CNC Machining

by | Jun 17, 2015 | Business

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The demand for high-tech and low-cost materials for specialized applications in the medical, semiconductor, electronic, automotive, aerospace and food industries, among others, is constantly expanding. The development of plastics that retain their integrity when exposed to harsh environmental conditions, corrosive chemicals, and temperature and pressure extremes, as well as those that can withstand friction and frequent sterilization without degradation, continues unabated, facilitating endless opportunities for product and process improvement.

An experienced specialist in plastic CNC machining can help guide you through the maze of plastics possibilities, from prototype development to high volume production of your part or component – starting with the first step: material selection. Suggested considerations for defining the application, which is critical to choosing the appropriate plastic, include:

Physical Considerations
* What are the part’s dimensions?
* Is a specific color required? Are transparent, translucent, opaque or clear finishes desired?
* Are there additional appearance requirements, i.e., smooth, textured or polished surfaces?
* Are insulation, conductivity or static dissipation properties needed?
* Are UV resistance or flame retardant properties required?

Thermal Considerations
* Is dimensional stability required, making thermal expansion or contraction an issue?
* What are the average, maximum and minimum temperatures at which the product will function?
* How long will the part be subjected to each of the temperature ranges?

Chemical Considerations
* Will the part be exposed to, cleaned with or submerged in chemicals or solvents – either liquids or vapors? Which one(s)?
* Will the part be exposed to moisture or steam?
* Will the part be submerged in water, and if so, at what temperature?
* Will the part be glued and/or painted? If so, specific paint and adhesive components must be considered.

Mechanical Considerations
* What load will the part carry? Will the load be intermittent or continuous? How long will the load be applied?
* What will be the maximum stress on the part? What type of stress will it be?
* Is wear or abrasion resistance critical?

After the application and the conditions of use have been thoroughly defined, allowing for appropriate material selection, experienced plastic CNC machining can produce a part with enhanced functionality, durability and cost effectiveness when compared to its metal, ceramic or glass predecessors.

For a plastics expert specializing in material compatibility and selection as well as high-precision, tight tolerance plastics machining, visit PEP Connecticut Plastics has over 25 years of experience in the industry and is a preferred supplier for many clients requiring plastic parts and tools with high levels of clarity.

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