Blue transparent plastic fluidic manifold

Plastic vs Metal: Why You Should 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, it can be challenging to narrow down your options to the one ideal choice. It might be tempting to simply choose a material that has worked fine in the past, frequently metal. However, a fine choice is often not the best choice. Instead of defaulting to metal, take the time to learn more about plastic polymers – a group made up of modern, varied, and cost-effective materials – and how they might be the best solution for your precision machining needs.

Plastics are a modern solution for modern problems.

Metal has many obvious benefits (strength, durability, heat resistance) that 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. 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. For example, 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 polymer, however, will check both boxes.

Plastic’s best advantage over metal is variety.

When shopping metal component options for your project, you’ll notice that you have a short list of options. 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. Any industry stands to benefit from the unique properties of plastic machined components. A component destined for the medical industry 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.

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. If you have more 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 specific project.