Since the early years of plastics manufacturing, there has been an ongoing debate as to which materials are better – metals or plastics. This debate ended in 1847 when Jacob Berzelius successfully manufactured the first ever polymer plastic.
Plastic is very handy and adaptable material which makes it usable for almost every industry. A plastic part is lightweight, durable, and has a vast number of applications.
The key benefit of manufacturing plastic parts is that is an economical process. More parts can be made per hour. The efficient cycle time of injection molding results in less cost for producing stamping and casting die-cast parts.
When comparing the time it takes to manufacture a plastic part against manufacturing parts from metals such as steel, plastic always wins. The difference is truly made in the end. Parts made up of steel, aluminum or other metals require finishing touches in the last part of the process, while plastic parts require no final finishing. Additionally, dye is added to plastic material before the molding process, saving a great deal of time and energy, and essentially an entire step in the process.
Plastic is flexible, lightweight, strong, durable, and easier to use than most metals. The extensive structural strength of plastics helps to sustain high pressures and harsh environments. The makeup of plastic material allows for a smoother production process when putting together bosses, gussets. On the other hand, the process metals undergo includes welding and glueing or fastening to get the desired component, resulting in reduced durability. Finally, plastics boast high-chemical resistance, making them prone to rusting or oxidizing – an area in which metals suffer.
It is no question that plastic is a versatile material that can be reused and recycled in several ways. Once the product is no longer useful in its original form, plastic can be recycled and repurposed. This inadvertently protects our environment from futile plastic waste and simultaneously reduces greenhouse gas emissions to save energy in our homes, workplaces, and even on our roads.
Plastic insulations, sealants, and other building materials are making our homes much more energy efficient by reducing costs of heating or cooling. While reducing costs, these lightweight plastics, often used in our cars, are also increasing the miles-to-gallon ratio for drivers.
Today, nearly every food we consume has been preserved in a plastic bag or container, in an effort to augment the shelf life. Plastic packaging has also enhanced the process for shipping food items.
At the end of the day, there are many benefits to utilizing plastic parts in our everyday lives. These lightweight, durable, strong, flexible materials hold a vital position in performance of several applications, and the adaptability and wide-ranging functionality enhances our lives in ways we may not even realize.