Parker Chomerics Webinars > Metal-to-Plastic Conversions for Automotive Applications

Webinar: Metal-to-Plastic Conversions for Automotive Applications

Discover the benefits of metal-to-plastic replacement technology for automotive applications in this recent technical webinar.

Watch on demand now!
Metal-to-plastic conversion for automotive light weighting is quickly becoming an important characteristic as vehicles, especially EVs, try to improve emissions and range performance.

This webinar discusses the benefits of using plastics your automotive application, focusing on:

  • Metal-to-plastic replacement conversion technology
  • Light-weighting, hardware elimination, and elimination of machine operation
  • Design for manufacturability (DFM)
  • Examples of successful automotive metal-to-plastic conversion
  • Key considerations and highlights
  • And much more!
This webinar is approximately 30 minutes of presentation followed by a Q&A session.

Parker Chomerics Metal-to-Plastic Conversion Webinar - powered by Happy Scribe

This is metal-to-plastic conversions for automotive applications from Parker Chomerics. Thank you all for joining us today. And before we get begin, we're just going to go over a few little housekeeping details. So, please set yourself in listen only mode, if you are not already. We will be taking questions and answers at the end of the session, so please, if you see that little Q&A button, go ahead and submit your questions.

As we're going through, you have a question, think of something either now or during the webinar or even at the end of the webinar, go ahead and submit that Q&A, that question to that Q&A button, and we will get to it at the end. And then finally, this webinar will be recorded. So if you'd like to view it after the call or you are unable to join today, you will automatically be sent this webinar within about a day or so. So please look out for that.

All right, let's introduce our speakers, Chris, Peter, are you there?

Hi, everybody. My name is Chris Johns. I'm the automotive market sales specialist and I've been with Chomerics for nearly two years now. My responsibilities are focused on technical sales for Plastics Business Unit.

Hello, my name is Peter Torok. I'm the plastics product manager at Chomerics. I've been with Parker Chomerics for 16 years. My job is helping new and existing customers implement their product ideas into prototype and production solutions.

Awesome. Thanks, guys. So going over today's agenda, we'll be discussing the key benefits of metal-to-plastic conversion. We'll talk about the steps that you might want to take in order to evaluate if your application is a good candidate for plastic conversion. We'll talk about like a high level overview or review the design considerations that are unique to injection plastic molding. And one of the most important things we want to get into here are to talk about some customer case studies, some of the successes that our customers have had in converting metal-to-plastic.

And we want to share those with you. And then finally at the end, we'll be talking, doing a question and answer. So like I said in the beginning, go ahead, submit those questions during the webinar and we will get to them at the end. So a little bit on who Parker Chomerics is. We are a division of Parker-Hannifin Corporation and Chomerics is the global leader in the development and application of EMI shielding, thermal interface materials and engineered plastic solutions.

And that's what we're going to be talking about today. Our core competencies are in material science and process technology, and Chomerics really offers a unique sort of market driven product development cycle where we feature integrated electronics housings and we take, you know, our custom engineered solutions and help our customers with an integrated global supply chain management. So one of the unique things about Chomerics is that we sort of help in all those facets. So with that said, Chris, let's take it away.

Thanks, Jarrod. Ever since the introduction of advanced polymers, engineers have been converting metal parts into plastic. The parts shown here are all parts that we've been involved with successfully converting over the years. Now, okay, a couple of these parts here might be upwards of 20 years old, but that's also kind of the point. You see, at the time, converting these types of parts was a big deal and met with a lot of scrutiny. Nowadays, these types of parts are almost exclusively made from plastic.

There's no greater example of how plastic has influenced an industry than the automotive industry. To illustrate, let's think of this in terms of volume or the amount of space something takes up. In the 60s, the average volume of plastic in a car was about 20 percent while today's vehicles are about 50 percent. That's half of the car made of plastic, which, by the way, makes up less than 20 percent of the weight. And still, we continue to find ways to adapt and find creative ways to implement plastic on vehicles.

Yeah, I want to emphasize a subtle but important point here. This webinar, it's really about disruptive technology and how you might want to use it to improve your products and your processes. Let me share a couple of quick examples from early in my career. You might say I had a front row seat, and I didn't even see it coming. The first one's from the 1980s. I'm working my first real job as an apprentice at a local tool shop that specialized in metal stamping dies.

One day a new machine showed up. It was a Wire Electrical Discharge Machine or Wire EDM. After 30 years of using the same standard tool building technology, this new machine showed up and almost overnight became the main way of designing and building stamping dies. The companies that nailed it were making dies for half the price and half the lead time at record profits. The companies that ignored it were probably going out of business. You might say disruptive tooling technology turned this niche industry upside down.

The second example is around seven years later. I'm now working at an injection molding business. This place used the same Wire EDM technology to build low cost, simple molds for plastic gears because that method provided an easy way of cutting accurate gear profiles into a metal cavity plate. These light duty plastic years were quick to market and could be made for a small fraction of what metal gears cost. These gears took over the copier and printer industry, and soon they were used all over paper drive assemblies. This time, disruptive tooling technology met disruptive material technology, and it changed light duty drive systems forever.

So the point here is not to tell old stories, but to illustrate disruptive technology was and is going on all the time. Sometimes it can change an industry overnight, and when that happens, the early adapters and the creative implementers often get huge rewards and the ones that ignore it are left in the dust. The next slide, we're going to identify some key opportunities that have surfaced over the years with the advancement of disruptive metal-to-plastic technology.

So here's a handy diagram that outlines some of the main benefits when using plastic over metal. Chris, pick us up at the top with weight considerations.

Well, it doesn't matter who you're talking to, light weighting is a universal demand, especially in the age of vehicle electrification. A lot of engineers are turning to plastic to solve this problem. To put it in perspective, converted plastic parts typically weigh half of their aluminum counterparts and 18 percent of their steel versions. That's a huge potential weight savings and one of the more obvious benefits. So on to some that are not so obvious. Pete, what's next?

All right, so the next opportunity here is the potential to eliminate hardware. Many plastic housings are now being enclosed without using any fasteners at all. Technologies like laser welding or vibration welding can give you a permanent seal or assembly without screws, rivets or clips. Sometimes you don't need a great seal and a simple snap together design does it all. This could mean a simpler bill of materials and a more efficient build, which leads us to machining advantages.

Right, many of the metal parts out there require secondary machining for things like threaded holes and seal surfaces. Injection molded parts can usually eliminate these steps. The plastic versions can use thread forming screws in place of threaded holes and high polished mold surfaces that can get you a good seal without the added cost of the machining. Now, how can we start to affect part geometry in other ways?

A lot of times there's a hidden benefit to combine multiple parts into one single molded piece. This can happen almost unexpectedly because injection molds are typically a lot more flexible to create complex geometries. It's done with the use of side action features like slides and lifters, collapsible cores and core pulls that can be added in almost any direction, not just right angles. Mold tooling provides a level of design freedom that's often unparalleled to other types of tooling, which takes us to complex geometry.

Good point. You know, having that kind of design freedom will allow you to mold complex 3D shapes that can't be done in a metal stamping, for example, which has limitations on the forming process. With plastic, it's easy to create features like individual cells or pockets within the parts, snap fittings, living hinges, alignment holes, almost the sky's the limit. Of course, a more complex geometry has more features, which means more dimensions that need to be accurate.

So are we compromising tolerance control by using plastic?

Surprisingly, not. Tolerance control is typically on par with the tightest machine parts and more accurate than die casting and sheet metal parts. Additionally, injection molding process controls can be added and tightly set to minimize part-to-part variation. This is what makes zero defects possible when using a highly engineered plastic process with the right process controls.

So let's talk about tooling next. The kind of high volume tooling used in these applications can last the entire program life without replacement and certainly last a lot longer than die cast tools, for example. Now, even if the cost of the mold looks expensive in the beginning, keep in mind that these tools can produce millions of parts over years and years. When you divide the cost of the tool by the total number of parts it can make, you might be surprised to see that that fifty thousand dollar mold is only costing a fraction of a penny per piece. By approaching it in this way, the tooling cost becomes much more manageable.

OK, the last thing we want to touch on here is color, and I'm specifically referring to color as a visual aid, not so much color for cosmetics. The classic example is when people used to apply color to a metal handle on a dipstick so that it would stand out or break text. Nobody does that anymore. This time, they mold the handle in a bright yellow plastic. That just saved a post-assembly coloring operation. Your application might also benefit from having color implementation as a visual aid, like the right hand parts are in black and the left hand parts are in a whitish natural color of the same material.

So, Chris, what's our big takeaway here?

Well, I would think about these benefits like this: they could be individual or they could be cumulative. One thing for sure, when these benefits come together in a final product, the end results can lead to reductions in your supply chain, shorter lead times, less parts to manage, less weight, improved part quality, and let's not forget innovation. And last but not least, something we all can relate to, saving money. Now let's talk about how to get started with the evaluation process.

So now we've touched on the main benefits of conversion. It goes without saying that not every project is going to have the same overall benefits. Obviously, some will have greater advantages than others, but there's huge potential here and you're ready to move ahead. This is the time to evaluate. Is your candidate a good one? Where would you start and how would you go about doing that?

OK, so here's some things you want to look for. Parts that involve a complex supply chain, especially ones that get a transportation penalty, like you're doing one operation in one place, packing up those parts and then moving them on to the next operation. You want to look for parts with challenging geometries, multiple subcomponents or secondary operations that might be eliminated. You also want to have your eyes open for high volume production, because that's something you can easily improve efficiency by just going to a mold with a greater number of cavities.

And of course, you always want to be looking for parts in a weight sensitive application. These are all good indicators that plastic conversion could make sense. It's also a good starting point because it tells you directionally if your part is in fact a decent candidate.

Yeah, and keep in mind that even if your project doesn't check all of these boxes, maybe it's only just one or two, don't give up. Those might just be the critical benefits that will deliver phenomenal rewards. So you've now flagged some key opportunities. What's next? Let's continue the evaluation process. First off, make sure you cover the mechanical requirements like strength, impact and wear, the environmental conditions your part will be exposed to, things like temperature extremes, UV and chemicals, just to name a few.

And then the other special needs, for instance, color, flammability or electrical conductivity resistance. A natural outgrowth of this step will be a lot of thought about material selection. This might be new territory for some of you and with literally thousands of choices, this can seem overwhelming. Don't panic. Most material companies and molders will have specialists that can help here. You might be surprised to find that having this many choices is actually an advantage. Chances are there's a polymer already out there that's well suited for your needs.

Right, so it's always a good idea to bring in partner vendors like somebody who understands material selection into your conversation. Ideally, you want someone that has experience with the type of parts you're considering. This may include somebody like a molder that's currently making similar parts to yours. The ultimate goal is to find partners that can identify where changes need to be made that will greatly benefit the manufacturing process, something referred to as DFM or design for manufacturability. You always want to start the DFM process as early as possible.

This is where you can optimize your design that'll give you the best efficiency and the least amount of defects. If you're using a design for manufacturability process like a standard process, this is where you would build your "house of quality," for instance. This is where you identify which attributes are "must-have," which ones are "nice-to-have" and which ones are "nobody cares." Break down the function of your part and identify which attributes are more or less critical. We've broken down some of the obvious ones here, but of course some are not so obvious.

As you engage suppliers, it's always helpful to have CAD models and drawings available, even if they don't reflect the ultimate version or process. Even the original models are sometimes really helpful because they'll probably save you some time and you're not building a completely new model from scratch.

So it all boils down to cost as you work through this process, you want to consider all the elements you need to get through your project, like tooling and material, program milestones and how they line up with your lead times, any special resources (this could be internal or external). Make sure you consider validation testing and prototypes. You'll need to consider all of these to put a budget together. And without a budget, there's usually no project. A quick word of advice here.

Try not to rush straight to the cost analysis. By following these steps in this order, the end result will be a more accurate budget that paints the complete picture with less potential for unwanted and costly surprises later on. Finally, we get to the place where you need to really take a deep dove into the plastic part design considerations.

All right, this is something that's near and dear to my heart. As we've said previously, material selection is super critical. It provides the foundation for your part. This is where a similar example of a part just like yours that's already been converted can be extremely valuable. So do some research and see what's out there. If you don't have an existing part to work with, that's OK, too. Now is a good time to review your critical attributes with a major resin manufacturer if you haven't already.

From there, the rest is easy. All right, maybe not so easy, but you've taken the first big step. What's next is kind of the secret sauce to plastic conversion. In the world of injection molding, few things are as important to design as uniform wall thickness. A consistent wall thickness allows your part to cool at an even rate, which is the key to reducing part warpage. Keep in mind, this is a balancing act. Your walls need to be thick enough so your injection mold can fill it easily, but not too thick to penalize your cooling time.

You know, one of the most common things I get asked as I talk to people about this topic is, "Isn't metal stronger?" OK, yes, but how strong does it need to be? Strength enhancing features such as stiffening ribs, gussets and bosses can be added to increase the part's structural integrity. Sometimes a minor design change that adds just a few ribs is exactly what you need.

All right, so let's talk about draft angles. The best laid plans will fail miserably if you can't get a part out of the mold, so that's all I'll say about that.

Well, you need adequate runners and gating to supply the required material to each part cavity while being careful not to go too large, too small. The optimum gate size and location will allow the part to fill properly and cool in the mold efficiently. This will help ensure a high quality part is produced consistently within targeted cycle times.

All right, so you want to remember that you need to design your mold to not only achieve efficient cycle time goals, but you want to minimize tool maintenance and refurbishment. This is where you want to make sure you use the right mold materials and the right tooling strategy, which is based ultimately on your program life volume requirements. The goal is always to provide maximum tool life for your project.

So what we covered here are the basics. There specific design guidelines behind much of what we talked about from rib dimensions, draft, radii, transitional features and other things that affect mold flow that ultimately you might need to consider. We could spend a whole webinar on this subject and who knows, in the future we might just do that. But for now, these are meant to get you thinking about how easily your design will transfer and what design tweaks you might need to include.

Now on to my favorite part of the presentation: case studies. Here, we'll go through some examples of parts that are proven to be good candidates for conversions, the benefits realized, and how we helped our customers solve some of their fundamental issues.

OK, so the cylinder head cover shown here, it's a classic example of plastic's ability to accommodate complex geometries. As we followed through the metal-to-plastic conversion process, we're able to integrate a lot of features. We added cable mounts, we added a make up air port, we eliminated the spark plug tube mount. We also incorporated captive screws for ease of assembly during installation at the engine plant, and the OEMs always love that. A surprising extra bonus is that the plastic cover greatly improves the N.V.H qualities of this engine.

Interesting. Pete, can you explain a little bit more about why this helps with noise, vibration and harmonics?

The die cast metal versions of a part like this often act like a bell and the metal tends to reflect noise energy where glass fiber and mineral-filled plastics, the ones like we used in this assembly, have a natural ability to absorb and dampen sound waves. The result is a significant noise reduction with the plastic version.

Well, there's no doubt that car makers have put a heavy emphasis on improving sound quality in and around the vehicle, so in this case, the customer realized the hidden benefit that wasn't even on their radar initially just by using plastic. OK, this case study is really cool. This EV drive unit pump cover assembly is a simple yet effective example of how value added components can be added easily by the injection molder. Pete, what can you tell us about it?

All right, the major takeaway from this example is that the original metal die casting, or even if it were a metal stamping, they don't robustly integrate an oil tight seal without secondary machining. The surface finish needs to be very flat and very smooth in order to achieve a good oil seal. The groove design needs to be deep enough to retain a gasket during transportation and assembly. This can be done with injection molding, but it really can't be done with a die cast part.

Another feature you want to take note of is that we're using compression limiters at each bolt hole location and that helps the bolts stay tightly fastened. This is how a plastic cover can maintain a seal without the risk of leaking oil over time due to "plastic creep."

So this is where it really helps to work with a supplier that can provide expertise in gasket solutions. You'll want to make sure that the gasket material and overall design considers everything about the environment and mechanical forces this cover will see throughout its use. Incidentally, all the seals we use, including this one, are produced by our sister division Parker's O-ring and Engineered Seals.

All right, one last point on this one. This type of molding really needs automation in order to get that many compression limiters loaded in one shot. With the right robotics, you can do this efficiently and quickly and incorporate verification checks that give you the zero defects.

I want to note here that this part is not a particularly high volume part by most automotive standards, but it still made sense to convert for all the reasons that we mentioned. Covers in general are almost always a slam dunk for conversion, so keep an eye out for these kind of applications. Now that we've shown you a couple of examples of that, let's show you something a little different. We're starting to see a lot more of these kinds of parts as we become more entrenched in the world of eMobility.

Typically called connector fittings or coolant connectors, in the case of this case study, these parts are rapidly converting from die cast to plastic. This one happens to be a 90 degree elbow, but they come in a variety of shapes. Pete, take us through the challenges and what we did to help.

All right. So first of all, we got to weight savings of over 75 percent as compared to the die cast version. We also eliminated the machining for the O-ring groove, which remember, you can't do that on a die cast part. And in this work cell, we're able to integrate the O-ring and the compression limiter so that it's a one stop shop without having any extra steps along the way. You know, we provide that transportation efficiency. And finally, after everything's all said and done, this assembly goes before our vision system and that guarantees us that every component is present, everything is properly placed, and there's no parts that are damp that have any damage on them.

This is how you can get to a zero defect process and successfully implement it.

You know, depending on the part and its application, we could get even more creative by adding a flange gasket perhaps, or a pre-started fastener where that compression limiter is. This particular application didn't need it, but opportunities like this are always worth exploring. All right. Time to wrap up with a few key takeaways. First off, design is always crucial. I've said it before, if the part doesn't work, nothing else matters. Make sure you consider all critical requirements in order of their priority.

Look out for opportunities to reduce components and assembly complexity. Streamline your bill of material, streamline your supply chain. Simplicity is sophistication. Light weighting, it's a universal need, especially for anything EV-related. Also be looking for opportunities to integrate anything your customer has traditionally assembled later on, like gaskets, fasteners, clips, cable management features, etc. If you take your customer an idea that makes their lives easier, well, trust me when I say that kind of thing will pay back in dividends.

Plus you could get that value add in your part. And always take advantage of manufacturing technologies like vision systems, process monitoring and mechanical sensors with the end goal of achieving zero defects.

All right, so let's get into our question and answer. I've seen some questions start to come in, so if you have questions, please go ahead. This is a great time to submit them in that Q&A box and we will start to get to them. So, Chris, the first question, how can I easily tell what type of plastic my part might be made out of?

Yeah, so if you're if you have a part in hand, like you're benchmarking a part and you don't know what material it's made out of, there are some simple, somewhat crude tests you could do by using heat and water. You know, if you put the part in water and it floats or sinks, that'll take you down one path. And looking at how the part reacts when it's exposed to a flame, you know, does it burn, does it self-extinguish, what color is the flame, things like that.

There are flowcharts out there that, you know, you can follow. These kind of tests are considered rather subjective and they're only going to get you into the right polymer family. Word of advice here. Burning plastic is dangerous, so make sure you take the necessary safety precautions if you decide to do something like this. And I should say, if you're looking for a more detailed analysis on what the composition is, you'll probably need to send that out for more detailed laboratory analysis.

All right, next question coming in, so how long does a typical sort of metal-to-plastic design take from material selection in through tool design, Pete or Chris?

Yeah, so obviously it depends on how much redesign is necessary. So sometimes you only have to tweak a few features here and there and, you know, add like a couple of small details like draft angles and then you're off and running into your tool build. Ultimately, you want to make sure that you understand all of the lead times involved. For how long is it going to take to build a mold? What's the design development time going to take, which is usually not terrible.

And and then you got to take some consideration for debug and like pepap qualification. So it's not uncommon. Some things I've seen that were pepap ready in like eight to 10 weeks even, an then other things are like take a half a year or so. It's it all depends, obviously, on the complexity of your part and what's in front of you as far as the tooling.

So kind of that goes into this next question that we have is, you know, who do I talk to? If I have some applications that could possibly benefit from a metal-to-plastic conversion, where do I get started?

Well, you could talk to either of us, you know, call me. My number is on the on the screen, my email. Of course, you could always talk to Pete. Pete and I work very closely together on this subject, that would be my suggestion.

This deck will be sent out with your contact information as well. So, you know, if you're thinking of you've got an application where metal-to-plastic conversion might benefit, Chris and Peter, are your sort of first line of communication.

Yeah. And keep in mind one quick thing that what we just showed you is really an outline. It's not an A-to-Z course on how to do metal-to-plastic conversion, it's giving you a framework, which is always a great starting point. But obviously, you want to partner up with people who've been through it before, who've worked with parts like the one you're looking at, if possible.

Yeah. All right, next question. "These days, there's a lot of attention to weight saving, but also to the recyclability of materials. So metals are 100 percent recyclable while most plastic materials are not. Do we have any comment on that?" So the recyclability of plastic materials.

Well, I'll let Pete answer it, but I'll just say this, we recycle almost all of our plastics, we either regrind it and reintroduce it into our system. Certain parts can't use regrind, but it's a separate loop within our material management system for handling that. Recyclers will use it, but I'm sure Pete can add to that.

One of the things that's challenging on the recycling front is the fact that most plastics are fairly specialized and have unique fillers in them, right.

A lot of the stuff we've talked about today, that's pretty typical. So you can't just take a part that's got like 30 percent glass fiber and grind it up and use it in another application where you don't have any glass fiber because obviously you're changing the material. So, it gets pretty specialized when you want to recycle. But the good news is, regardless of what type of material you have, if you have material scrap, there's always a plastic scrap handler who's dying to buy that plastic, whatever it is.

And they'l, even if they have to melt it down completely and harvest stuff, the polymer or whatever they do, they'll find a way to get maximum recyclability out of your material. So it's really not the best solution any time to just send it to a landfill. There's usually somebody who wants to buy your excess scrap plastic, regardless of what it is.

All right. We still have a few more minutes and I still see questions coming in. So if you do have any questions, please go ahead and submit them through that Q&A button. So the next question, Chris and Peter, do you see a market for the aftermarket parts or is it mainly for OEMs?

Yeah, mainly what we see are OEM applications just because of the higher volume. I'm sure there's an aftermarket potential out there, but it's not something that we've delved into.

You know, it all comes down to volume. If your aftermarket has really big volumes then your aftermarket could be even bigger than the OEM parts. It's you know, it just depends on the life cycle of a part. You know, some parts, you know, you have to throw them away after a couple of years and people are looking for new ones, so it's going to be very application specific. But, you know, by and large, most conversions are usually OEM centric.

But I wouldn't rule out an aftermarket application, you know, you should always take a deeper dive.

You know, just one point I wanted to make on that, we are starting to see more of this as we head into the eMobility market, and that's lower volumes. You know, there are a lot more one offs than there used to be. So we're finding creative ways to deal with these lower volume applications that are, say, you know, less than one hundred thousand pieces a year and doing it competitively and effectively.

All right, next question, Pete you might want to take it, is, "Can plastic be used for shielding purposes?"

Oh, yeah. That's something I'm very familiar with because I'm quite involved in conductive plastics here at our facility. So yeah, there are special fillers that get added to engineering resins and that can provide EMI shielding and surprisingly, quite a bit of EMI shielding. So if a metal cover gave you like, say, 100 DB of attenuation, it's not unusual to see the conductive plastic version of that give you 80 DP. So, never quite gets you to the point that you get with metal, but it can get you pretty close and then there's some little side benefits you can get with the plastic, you know, the kind that we just talked about.

Plus the conductive plastics have better absorption properties as well. So there's some subtle benefits that can really be a game changer depending on what you're doing.

Right. All right, next question is, "What should I look for when choosing a supplier? I'm a little confused. There's a lot of options."

So, that's a tough one. Me personally, I would look for a supplier that has a lot of quality awards from their cut from their customer. You know, these awards are very difficult to achieve and often are good indicators that all of the, you know, state of the art processes and controls are in place, that company has a track record of Zero Defect and On-Time Delivery, and usually companies are very proud of these types of awards and they'll publish them on their website or in other forums.

That's one of the things I'd look for. If you're on a particularly sensitive application where you need to be at the shop where the parts are running then, you know, you might want to look for someone that's closer to home, so to speak, but maybe not necessarily needed in many cases.

The big thing is experience. You want to, you always want to ask the question, you know, when you're reaching out to suppliers, it's like, "Hey, have you guys ever done anything like this before? This is what I'm thinking up."

And, you know, you'll find out pretty quickly if they've already been through this with a similar part or they haven't been through it. And even if they haven't been through with your exact part, if they've been through something that kind of, sort of looks like what you're doing, that's always a good sign as well. So you want to...It's really, really beneficial to try to gather as much of that DFM experience as you can possibly gather.

And sometimes you might have two totally different projects, but there's benefits that are overlapping on both of them. So look for that as well.

It looks like we've got time for one more question. This question has to do with fluid and fuels. So, "Can plastics withstand the fluids and fuels for, say, military transportation or military automotive applications, for instance, and BCR chemicals or super tropical bleach and that type of thing?"

So, there are a few plastics which are pretty specialized, which, let's talk about fuels for a minute, that can handle fuel resistance and some of the parts we showed in the very first slide actually live in transmission fluid for their entire life. Now, 30 years ago, they didn't have a plastic that could do that. So keep in mind, there's new materials being developed all the time with special characteristics like resistance to break down in like hydrocarbons and like hydraulic fluids and things like that, which have always been kind of problematic for a lot of different plastic types.

As far as the like the tropical bleach washdown that you see on military parts, sometimes that's as simple as putting a little bit of a coating on the part like a painting process. I mean, you know, obviously that's a little extra money, but you'll always want to look for opportunities to, you know, know what it is you're exposed to, and sometimes it's just a simple paint that can handle everything you need. Like UV for instance, you might have a material that's not a particularly good UV material.

Soon as you put a coat of paint on it, it changes everything. So keep in mind, there's other ways to get around that.

All right, so any final comments, Chris?

Yeah, I have just one. You might have noticed we're not exactly professional webinar hosts. We are professional injection molders with a lot of experience and really good at what we do. So please reach out to us if you have a project that you feel we can help you with. And the other thing, I know that there are people on this call that have questions that you want to ask, but you're holding back because you're concerned about disclosing sensitive information about the project that you're working on.

Call me. I'll get that NDA in place if we don't already have it and schedule a private consultation for you and your team.

Yeah, and kind of what I said earlier, remember, this whole webinar is more or less an outline, so keep that in mind. You know, use it as sort of the foundation for evaluating your part and the type of process that you're going to have to go through from beginning to end. And then from there, just partner up with the right people and you're off and running.

All right. With that, if there is nothing else. Thank you, everyone, for joining us. We appreciate your time.

Thank you, everyone.

Thank you.

Metal-to-Plastic Conversion for Automotive Applications

Metal-to-Plastic Conversion for Automotive Applications
For automotive engineers looking to reduce vehicle weight, metal-to-plastic conversion is a win-win. At the highest level, injection plastic molds are capable of producing multiples of millions of parts required for automotive programs with ease. Typically, a single tool can support a program for its entire life-cycle, meaning you only must go through the cost and design of tooling just once.

In traditional metal fabrication, you have stamping and die casting, both of which require tool refurbishment, at what can amount to a very significant cost. Although injection mold tooling can be relatively expensive, it is not more expensive than die cast tools and/or stamping tools.

Typically, injection molds will last many times longer than metal tooling. Injection mold tooling are also more flexible than other types of tools, allowing you to incorporate many types of features into a part so that no secondary machining, coating and/or forming is required after the molding operation. And depending on the type of plastic material you select; you can realize excellent strength to weight properties.

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