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Which Metal Replacement materials to choose from in engineering plastics

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Allplastics Engineering offers a diverse range of engineering plastics to replace materials such as bronze, stainless steel, ceramics and cast iron in various applications that have traditionally used metals.

Some of these thermoplastics include acetal, cast nylon, HDPE, PTFE, PEEK and UHMWPE, and are ideal for reducing weight, avoiding metal to metal contact, electrical insulation or almost eliminating the need for lubrication in various applications.

Compared to wood or metal, engineering plastics deliver benefits such as corrosion resistance, wear resistance, weight reduction, noise dampening, isolation from metal contact, electrical insulation, chemical resistance, increased part life, recyclability, thermal conductivity reduction, high impact resistance, cost saving from elimination of lubrication downtime, and flexibility in design and choice. 

However, selecting the right thermoplastic for any specific application can be a challenging task due to the expanding range of engineering plastics. 

Points to be considered while selecting thermoplastics include determining whether it is a bearing/wear application or static/dynamic application, environmental factors such as temperature, moisture and chemicals, exposure to UV, use as a mating part or surface, importance of impact and load resistance, cost and budget, volume, and machineability. 

Some examples of metal replacement materials include shute liners made from steel replaced with wear resistant UHMWPE with superior sliding properties; high density polyethylene slide panels replacing timber panels that rot and crack in removalist trucks; PETP replacing metal manifolds in printing equipment; cast nylon gears machined to replace steel gears in harvesters eliminating lubrication and reducing downtime; acetal bushes replacing steel bushes in car washing equipment; polypropylene separators in a canning factory where metal or timber were previously used; and Nylatron GSM sheaves increasing the wire rope life normally limited by metal sheaves.

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