Metal to Plastic
Across the automotive industry, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are consistently seeking new ways to optimise product performance and production efficiency, whilst also minimising costs.
An effective way to achieve these favourable outcomes within the automotive market is to replace metal components with expertly engineered plastic parts.
This switching of metal to plastic is not a new concept, but the possibilities available to designers and manufacturers within this area are rapidly increasing. These developments mean that new opportunities continue to arise.
Advancements in Polymer Production
Thanks to major advancements in the development of polymer materials over recent years, plastic components can now be produced which rival that of their metal counterparts. As such, these developments in advanced plastics have opened up a world of new opportunities for the effective and efficient application of precisely engineered polymers across a whole host of challenging functions.
For example, plastic parts:
- Can be engineered to withstand high temperatures (such as those associated with the use of components throughout the automotive industry).
- Offer weight reduction benefits when contrasted with metal components.
- Are far cheaper to produce than metal parts.
- Allow for more complex designs to be utilised within a single solution/individual component.
Plastic Components Within the Automotive Industry
These advancements – and the benefits bundled with them – have resulted in many automotive companies replacing metal components with polymer parts.
With their advanced chemical resistance and capacity for prolonged exposure to extreme environmental conditions, plastic parts are an increasingly popular solution across the breadth of the automotive market. Automotive designers now understand that they can reduce the cost and weight burden generated by a reliance on metal components, whilst improving design flexibility, through the application of injection moulded (plastic) solutions.
Thus, injection moulded solutions are now incredibly popular with automotive designers as they constitute a more practical option when compared with traditional metal components. Intuitively, plastic is a superior material in terms of malleability and is therefore much easier and faster to shape for complex functions and applications.
Full-Scale Metal to Plastic: A Cameron-Price Project
In keeping with these recent advancements in plastic engineering, Cameron-Price was contacted by an undisclosed UK/EU automotive customer seeking a full-scale replacement of their metal components with highly engineered, technical polymer solutions.
This wide-ranging, comprehensive project of transformation was comprised of several key stages, including:
- Initial design consultation with tier one and OEM engineering teams.
- Feasibility concepts.
- Material analysis and suggested technical polymers.
- Prototype development for initial testing and feasibility.
- Production tooling and assembly cells.
- Production of components with a quantity of approximately 200,000 per annum.
By conducting this transformative project in conjunction with Cameron-Price, the undisclosed customer was able to:
- Reduce costs (thereby increasing profitability).
- Increase production speed/efficiency (thus reducing lead times).
Moreover, because Cameron-Price offers full project management – from initial designs and prototyping, material recommendations and procurement, through to tooling, production, and logistical support – the customer in question was able to sit back and relax whilst Cameron-Price specialist staff delivered on their requirements.
The fully integrated, fully managed project delivered by Cameron-Price resulted in cost savings, increased productivity, and less stress for the customer – not to mention superior polymer products ready to replace their metal predecessors.
End-to-End Product Design, Production, and Delivery With Cameron-Price
At Cameron-Price, we offer full-scope manufacturing ranging from initial design, development and prototyping, through to precision injection moulding, value-added operations (including assembly, welding, and packaging), as well as quality and performance.
Get in touch with us today to discover how we can apply our expertise to help your business save time and money.