Metal to Plastic Conversion
Viking Plastics provides unique solutions for converting a metal component to plastic. The demand for conversions is constantly increasing as more and more companies seek ways to reduce weight, improve efficiency, and save on cost. Viking offers a variety of plastics, including ABS, PC, PC/ABS, PPS, PEI, and various grades of Nylon and Glass Filled Nylons.
Plastic offers several benefits that can be considered:
- Lower weight versus machined or cast metal
- Lower cost for complex metal to plastic conversions (reduction of several machining operations into a single molding process)
- Corrosion not a factor
- Design freedom (can add radii and soft edge areas versus extra machining in metal)
- Opportunity to integrate two materials into the same component to obtain a sealing edge or soft touch edge
The process of metal to plastic conversion starts with an assessment of the moldability of the component, followed by feedback on design changes for manufacturability (DFM) via injection molding. Once the design is updated, a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is performed to understand loading, stresses, and base material strength requirements. Armed with this information, the Viking Plastics team works with material suppliers to locate suitable resins with the proper characteristics for the application. This includes an analysis of material strength, environmental exposure needs, chemical resistance needs, etc.
With a base design and material selected, the FEA is re-ran to determine confidence and safety factors. Once these are established, flow analysis software is utilized to optimize gate location and size. A warpage analysis provides feedback on projected results from the molding process and offers guidance on the location of water lines and potential for part model tweaks to compensate for shrink and warp. Typically, customers then order a prototype mold/parts for confirmation and testing, followed by production tooling and quantities, to meet demand.