Metal Replacement

Posted on: 8th Aug 2018

Metal Replacement

As a market leading international solutions provider, PolyGlobal work closely with their raw material suppliers to offer a range of materials designed for metal replacement.

The use of metals within industry has accompanied technological development for many years. The resistance, stiffness and hardness of metals and their alloys allow the manufacture of elements that can bear heavy loads and weights.

However, due to the ever changing requirements of modern design, the demand for synthetic materials manufactured from thermoplastic or thermosetting polymers is increasing. Metal replacement is often key to reducing weight, cost and production times.

Compounds and composites are currently successfully used in metal replacement applications across a number of sectors supplied by PolyGlobal, where the mechanical performance required is the same as that of a metal.

Engineering Plastic Compound

 

Advantages of Engineering Plastics as Metal Replacements

Across many industries the need for metal replacement and part weight reduction is becoming increasingly imperative in order to maintain competitiveness. High performance polymers hold some key advantages over metals due to their high mechanical, thermal and chemical performance.

Engineering thermoplastic materials provide consistent strength and stiffness, and outstanding impact performance for metal replacement. They also offer excellent creep resistance, can maintain structural performance at high temperatures and resist corrosion, qualities metal can’t always match.

Engineering thermoplastic polymers are lighter and stronger than aluminum, magnesium alloy, aluminum alloy and other metals, so they offer great potential to replace traditional metal parts.

Their performance reduces total cost and weight of parts. In automotive applications, lighter weight helps translate into greater fuel efficiency. Proven performance polymers can contribute to other product and process advantages including:

• Functional benefits through part integration.
• Design innovation possibilities.
• Higher corrosion resistance
• Better surface finish, with integral colours.
• Easier handling and lower shipping costs

Another advantage of engineering thermoplastics for metal replacement is their shorter processing cycle. Where die-casting and sheet metal construction is typically a six-step process, thermoplastics go from granules to the finished part in just three steps, which can help users get their completed product in the market sooner.

Key Polymer Material Options

POM (Acetal)

Acetal material options combine low friction and high wear resistance with the stiffness and strength needed in parts designed to replace metal. They are particularly useful for replacement applications where strength is critical.

Nylons

Nylon is frequently used to replace metal bearings and bushes often eliminating the need for external lubrication (due to the option of incorporating self-lubricating additives). Other benefits include a reduction in part weight, less operating noise and decreased wear on mating parts.

PP

A cost effective and very lightweight alternative. They offer opportunities for substantial weight saving with a specific gravity of only 0.9. Although lifespan and operating temperature range are limited, they are still rigid and strong.

For more information on the metal replacement options offered by PolyGlobal, or to discuss your specific requirements, please contact us on marketing@polyglobal.co.uk

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