Choosing the proper material for any type of product is important to maximize the functionality and profitability of the product. Don’t just consider what the end function of you product is. Make sure you know the ins and outs of how the component will be used and what it will come in contact with.
Here are a few things you need to measure and determine while selecting a resin.
Does your product require FDA compliance or cleanroom molding? Maybe your product is designed to come in contact with blood and you need lube free resins that do not leach, causing contamination.
Structural and Durability Properties:
Know the strength requirements. How much load will be applied to product? What is the rate at which the load will be applied? Know the possible misuses your product could endure. Producing a product with unsuitable resin can lead to durability problems. Other properties to measure are elasticity, fatigue limits, friction, hardness and wear.
Average climate settings that the product will be used in are important to know, but extreme highs and lows should be accounted for as well. Know the heat distortion temps and thermal conductivity to determine resins that will perform adequately under those circumstances.
Addressing environmental properties will aid the proper selection of materials. Does your product need to be resistant to chemicals? Flame retardant? Or protected from UV rays? Certain resins also have higher water shielding performance when molded to other resins that can affect usability.
Know your cost limitations and end function to help determine the right resin for your component. Choosing standard resins like ABS that meets or exceeds your performance requirements is a cost effective way to manufacturer your plastic components rather than using high performance resins.
Specific colors, opacity or finishes will help in narrowing down worthy resins for your component as well. As we’ve seen, colors are important in many consumer products. If your product requires specific colors be sure to discuss with your plastic engineer the perfect combination of resin properties and color choices that will aid the success of your product.
If you application requires two materials, colors, or components, two-shot molding should be considered while designing and selecting resins. Due to different material properties, adhesion is not compatible for all resins. Knowing each components usability requirements will support your selection in compatible resins.