When we speak about plastic with people coming from the mechanical industry, very often it is considered as poor quality and low importance material. Nevertheless, in every field of activity more and more complex parts are replaced or complemented by plastic. Frontiers between metal and plastic are not that clear and the rise of new material and techniques open a wide new spectrum to designers from every field of activity.
A changing world
If the world of metal seems quite static in term of technology or material to machine, on the side of plastic, it’s a high speed changing pace. Every day new materials come to life. This wide variety allows plastic to come close to metal, replace or complement it perfectly. I visited a company called André Gueissaz Ltd – Plastic technology and that was stunning!
Why using plastic
Mainly there are three reasons, first to simply replace metal, typically a support that was previously done in aluminum. In this case, choice is purely economical, functionality is the same but the cost per part is far lower. Second, the case where the main function of the part is assured the same way, but plastic offers other benefits in term of design or ergonomics. For instance that device to cut tête de moine cheese where even the blade is in plastic. Third category of products, those for whom the characteristics of plastic bring more to the part. This can be a better touch, a better weight or even a better shape.
Single or bi-material
Plastic can be loaded with a large number of particles like glass, metal or fiber according to the characteristics of the final product. Once this material injected, it is possible to add a layer of another material with other proprieties in term of “touch and feel”.
Assembling for a global solution
Today, André Gueissaz SA can be proud of its 50-year know-how in plastic technology. The company offers a global solution, from the first study, prototyping, molding, injection, conditioning or even more, realization of assembly. For instance this medical device that perfectly combines plastic and metallic frame. This product is realized for the final customer and also includes marking by laser or printing and even the final packaging with customers branded boxes.
For sure the borderline is moving. Some parts in any field of activity are slowly replaced by plastic and far from being a danger, it is a huge opportunity for any field of activity to brings more value in some products. That will never replace completely metal and that’s not the aim, but in some situation it’s worth looking for such a solution. If you face some design issue… don’t hesitate to see the plastic solution.
Gueissaz Plastic Components
André Gueissaz SA