Plastic or Metal? The Right Choice for Parts

The success or failure of a new product can depend on the material you choose.

Factors such as manufacturing feasibility, design requirements, product function, and overall budget will guide your material decision. Plastic and metal each have their advantages. However, you may be surprised that plastic parts can enhance your vision and bottom line. Here are some tangible benefits of making plastic your material of choice.

Plastic or Metal - The Right Choice for PartsPlastic allows for more flexibility in design.

Metal offers a limited range of manufacturing possibilities, and the very nature of this material increases the cost of more complex designs. Plastic molds provide a broad range of design choices. Complex components can be designed into the mold with outstanding reproducibility. Plastic molds also make redesigns or updates more feasible. The result is a quicker production run for both simple and more complicated parts.

Plastic allows for more flexibility in finish.

Hundreds of plastics are used in injection molding, and endless combinations are available for color and texture. Metal does not allow customization for aesthetics or branding without added steps of painting or finishing. With plastic, you can utilize different resins with various hues. Finishes can be matte or shiny. Texture and color options are not only what set plastic apart, however. Plastic offers even more.

Plastic is strong and resistant.

Metal is strong, too. This makes metal the right choice to fill specific needs such as milling or drilling. Modern plastics are also strong and rigid, even more so with the addition of carbon or glass fibers. Because plastic is naturally flexible, the resiliency of plastic parts also makes it a better choice than metal. Plastic withstands exposure to chemicals, electric current, and moisture. Your plastic part can even be heat-resistant.

Plastic weighs less.

Weight affects more than the part itself. Plastic parts are lighter and can help your part meet strict regulatory and safety standards. One of plastic’s significant advantages is that you can get the same strength and rigidity as metal at a much lower weight. In industrial applications, this means easier maneuverability. In the automotive industry, lighter parts mean better fuel efficiency without sacrificing safety. Overall, lighter weight means lower costs in manufacturing and shipping, too.

Plastic is economical.

To stay competitive, companies must be acutely aware of costs. This is where plastic beats metal, hands down. Plastic isn’t subject to metal shortages or the unpredictable price of metal over time. These fluctuations can significantly increase the cost of each part and make long-term planning difficult. On the other hand, plastic is widely available and widely affordable.

The flexibility of plastic we discussed earlier also means you save time and money on assembly and finishing. Most plastic parts can be utilized right out of the mold with no finishing required, while metal parts often require other treatments such as welding, painting, or plating. Plastic injection molding allows for streamlining and efficiency. Because it is easier to make changes with plastic, even mid-production, plastic won’t greatly increase your investment if a change is desired or required. Plastic injection molding also means you can create numerous pieces at once. These efficiencies mean more for your bottom line.

Successfully manufacturing of your plastic parts results from expert engineering, design, and technology. Talk to the plastic injection molding professionals at The Toolroom and see how our decades of experience make us the right choice. We will answer your questions about the advantages of plastic injection molding. We work diligently to understand your unique needs and exceed your expectations. Start your project with The Toolroom, the ultimate source for top-quality precision plastic injection molding. Call 573-437-4154 today.

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