Choosing the right material or resin for plastic part production is one of the most critical decisions that a company can make during the introductory and planning stages of product development. The material used must be able to withstand the conditions that the part will be exposed to and be able to fulfill its intended function, whether it is a toy, mechanical part in a vehicle, or a high performance part for the aerospace industry.
Each type of resin is suitable for a particular purpose, and in modern plastics production there are a wide range of choices available, some of which are commonly used and inexpensive, while others may require special ordering. Narrowing down the best particular material requires planning, research, and expertise of industry veterans.
Ask Questions Regarding the Purpose of the Part
Is the part going to be load bearing or does it need to withstand a certain temperature? Is it a prototype or finalized part? Is clarity important? Does it need to be recyclable? These are just a few of the questions that you will need to ask in order to find the most suitable resins. If your part needs to withstand a certain temperature you may need to pick an engineering resin which will have a higher tolerance to environmental exposure than a commodity resin. If you are creating a prototype part, you will need to think about the feasibility of the material for final manufacturing, as different resins are more suitable to 3D printing while others are better for injection molding.
Thermoset Plastics Versus Thermoplastics
If your part needs to be recyclable you will need to choose a thermoplastic instead of a thermoset plastic. Thermoset plastics are “set” into a permanent form when they are heated and the reaction is not reversible. This makes recycling these plastics difficult, while thermoplastics can be re-melted, and are easier to recycle. Thermoplastics are heavily used in injection molding and fall into three main categories: commodity, engineering, and high performance resins.
Categorical Interpretations of Thermoplastic Resin
Commodity resins are the least expensive to produce and are often found in common high volume plastic products that are cheap like bags or packaging. Engineering resins cost more and are more suitable for applications that require a higher tolerance to environmental factors or chemicals. High performance resins which may require a combination of unique characteristics like heat resistance, load tolerance, and chemical resistance are normally the highest priced options.
Researching Resins and Meeting with Experts
You can start pinpointing the best resin for your needs by choosing the category of materials (commodity, engineering or high performance) that has most of the properties you are looking for. You can use databases like UL Prospector and MatWeb to further assist you with finding the appropriate material. However, it’s also crucial to work with a plastic productions expert who has experience selecting the correct material for specific applications, and who is very familiar with the 7 most common types of plastic resin needed for plastic part production.
Paxon Plastic has many years of experience with plastics production in many industries and can help you with choosing the right material for your specific needs. You can contact us today at (888)-958-4212 to ask any questions that you may have or for a free consultation.