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How do you choose a material for a plastic product?

A hand holds flakes of plastic raw material
plastic material

Hello friends,As we know, the plastic world offers us a wide choice that allows us to create almost any shape with a variety of features, in mass production and at an effective cost. With the power and flexibility comes quite a bit of responsibility that requires us to make quality decisions.Designing the shape of a product is a very important step in the product development process. In addition, the choice of raw material also has great significance. This is true mainly for technical products. This is because the demands on them are high and we don't always have an unequivocal answer on the matter. Sometimes it's a matter of trial and error.In this situation, you should try and make the product from different materials, until you find the most suitable one. In this review I will focus on the relevant questions that must be raised in the search process for the perfect material for the task.

Coefficient of friction There are products like gears that need to move or rub against other parts easily. On the other hand, there are cases where we prefer to have high friction between parts in order to create a stopping effect. An appropriate raw material can be adapted to each of the cases.

Target price of the product Each product has a market price that corresponds to it and if we sell at a different price, we may encounter a problem. It is quite clear that the price is critical to the success of the project and every decision in production is derived from this. Therefore, it is important to adjust in advance the cost of producing the product in relation to its selling price, while maintaining an adequate profit. An effective way to reduce the cost of production is the use of suitable but cheaper raw materials.

Painting or coating? Some materials are more suitable for painting than others. Therefore, if you want to paint a product, you must take into account the cost of painting for each raw material. For example, ABS is easier and cheaper to paint, while polypropylene requires significantly more investment, etc.

Transparent versus opaque For products that require a transparent appearance, you must of course choose a transparent raw material. This situation reduces the choices of the plastic raw materials that we can use. However, there is still a sufficient variety of transparent plastic materials in a variety of properties such as strength, chemical resistance, flexibility, resistance to combustion and UV, etc.

Compliance with the standard The raw material should also conform to the relevant standards in Israel and around the world. That is, for products that come into contact with food, it is necessary to use materials that have a standard for contact with food. For substances that come into contact with tissues in the body, a standard is required that corresponds to the level of contact required for the specific medical use. Also, there are products that need to be manufactured from materials that have approval for suitability for drinking water, etc.

combustion You need to check if the product should turn off by itself, and if so, at what level. Regarding combustion, there is a standard called UL94, which precisely specifies the possible combustion levels

UV protection If the requested product needs to be exposed to the sun or fluorescent lights - UV protection is required. In this situation, the number of years of exposure must be defined, and preferably also in accordance with the geographical area where the product will be used.

Dimensional stability There are materials that have a tendency to warp after leaving the mold, and there are some that are less so. Therefore, for precise products we will prefer materials with good dimensional stability

Flexibility depending on the use and requirements of the product. For example, for products with integral hinges, it is necessary to use flexible materials.

Softness An important feature mainly in rubber products, measured in SHORE units.

Electrical insulating capacity A feature that is mainly relevant for products in the field of electricity and electronics. For example, there are materials with a certain conductivity level that can create RFI-MFI masking. In addition, there are materials whose surface resistance is relatively low, and there are materials with a very high electrical insulation capacity.

In conclusion In this article I only touched on some of the criteria for choosing a material, and as you probably understood, the considerations in choosing raw materials are many and varied. That is why experience and expertise are needed to match a material to a product. Even if an apparently suitable material is chosen, the product must be tested and make sure that the material actually performs the task as desired. If you are debating which material to make your plastic product from.Call and we will help.

If you are about to develop a product that includes plastic parts, or if you have an idea for a product,I invite you to send an email with your contact information to the following Committed to the success of your next project

Boaz Zar!

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