Blue transparent plastic fluidic manifold

Why Choose Plastic Machined Parts Over Metal Components

When your manifold or precision component project is in its early stages, material selection is just as critical to success as the design itself. 

Unfortunately, narrowing down your options to the ideal choice can be challenging. It might be tempting to simply choose a material that has worked fine in the past. However, a fine choice is often not the best choice. 

Instead of defaulting to metal, take the time to compare plastic versus metal components. After all, you have taken the time to make sure that every single detail of your design is exactly and precisely what you need. Your design will be best served by choosing a material that is also exactly and precisely what you need.

When you learn more about plastic polymers – a group made up of modern, varied, and cost-effective materials – you can learn how they might be the best solution for your precision machining needs. Plastic components may be the best fit, and we can all agree that best is better than fine

Plastic components are a modern solution to modern problems.

Metal has many benefits, including strength, durability, and heat resistance, that has made it an obvious choice for components across all industries in the past.

However, the last fifty years have seen the plastics industry rapidly develop and expand. Thanks to innovation, experimentation, and industry growth, plastic components have proven to be an excellent option for many previously unproven applications. 

Instead of just offering a handful of materials with set properties, industry experts draw upon their deep understanding of polymers to create new materials with customized properties well suited for individual industries. In many cases, metal material choices would not perform as their plastic components counterparts have performed. 

For example, engineered plastic components used in aerospace projects may require high heat resistance while also demanding extremely low weights. While metal can meet the first requirement, it will fall short on the second. A plastic component made from a polymer, however, will check both boxes.

Plastics expert quality assessing PEEK plastic component for a medical device

A plastic part’s best advantage over metal is variety.

When shopping for metal component options for your project, you’ll notice that you have a short list of contenders. On the other hand, if you consider plastics, chances are good that you’ll find a polymer that matches exactly the properties you need for your project. 

As a whole, plastics are more lightweight, offer greater resistance to corrosion, and are more cost-effective than their metal counterparts. These are clear benefits in terms of use, budget, and longevity. 

Any industry stands to benefit from the unique properties of plastic machined components. A component destined for the medical industry, for example, can take advantage of a material that is lightweight, easily sterilized, and radiolucent, while a component headed to the defense industry can be machined from a material that is durable and weather/UV resistant. 

Other applications and industries that enjoy the benefits of machined plastic components:

  • Electrical industry and electrical insulation applications
  • Water management industry and applications such as filtration, valved, and components inside water meters
  • Automobile industry including exterior parts, interior parts, and components of electric vehicle batteries, instrument panels, sound system speakers, and more
  • Food services and agriculture, specifically any application requiring FDA food contact compliance

Plastic polymers are cost-effective and easy to machine.

As a group, plastic polymers represent a cost-effective alternative to metal. Unlike many metal components, plastic polymers don’t require any secondary processes or treatments, cutting down on both time and expense in the machining process. 

Plastic polymers are naturally corrosion resistant and provide natural insulation. In addition, unlike metal, which requires painting after machining is completed, plastic polymers can be compounded with color during the machining process itself. Every secondary process or treatment you avoid by using plastic polymers represents savings in both cost and time.

At Controlled Fluidics, our expert engineers are confident that a plastic polymer represents the right solution for projects in any industry. Whether you need to manufacture a single prototype or produce a high volume run in the thousands, Controlled Fluidics can help.

If you have any questions about how selecting plastic components over metal will improve your final product, contact us today. Our engineers are ready to provide advice and can recommend the right polymer for your project’s specific precision plastic components.