The DuPont Plastic Design Guide: 10 Top Tips
The DuPont Plastic Design Guide focuses on helping users with technically effective design, properties that support material specification, and effective manufacturing techniques.
Here are ten tips for accomplishing behind-the-scenes tasks that help make successful, innovations through collaboration possible.
Maximize Metal Replacement
Replacing metal parts with plastic is rarely a one-to-one process. Embracing design modification is not just a fact of life, it’s a potentially a huge advantage. Designing to plastic’s strengths opens opportunities for possible integration of functions, simplification, cost-efficiency and innovative design.
There’s no such thing as a bad material. But there are plenty of wrong materials for a particular application, and making one wrong choice can be costly and time-consuming. To choose the right materials, it’s imperative to know different material options inside and out, from properties to performance testing.
Make Walls Measure Up
Finding the right wall thickness is a key design challenge in many components. It involves balancing lighter weight against functional strength and molding performance. There are multiple factors which are critical to design walls that will perform in use, including mold flow behavior, fiber orientation and correct functional thicknesses.
Use Ribs for Rigidity
One way to overcome the problems that can arise with thick walls is by the addition of ribbing, which increases rigidity while allowing wall thickness to be reduced. Getting ribs right can improve strength and reduce weight, but it can be a process of trial-and-error to find the right rib dimensions, positioning and materials.
Get Gates Right
Choosing the right type of gating system and gate location can avoid processing problems. But gate location can also be an overlooked way to improve the quality of molded parts.
Follow the Money
There are many production, mold-making and assembly options that can affect costs. It’s important to choose carefully, to take full advantage of the specific properties of the plastic materials you’re utilizing to design manufacturing cost-efficiency in from the start.
Find the Best Fit
Simple, rapid assembly of components can lead to significant production savings. Snap-fit, press-fit, threaded assemblies – each has its best practices, advantages and limits. Choosing the right one is a matter of knowing materials and function, and designing an assembly process to match.
Weld to Last
There are a number of welding choices for joining plastic parts. Finding the optimum choice that addresses cost, strength and efficiency requires factoring in welding technologies, materials and the joint geometry for each application.
Match Tolerances With Budgets
Injection-molded parts can’t be produced to the same tolerances as machined ones, so it’s important to design accordingly. A key consideration is setting tolerances that will perform in the application, without disrupting cost-effectiveness in production.
Test Your Assumptions
Every application or improvement is unique. Your design checklist should cover everything from material performance parameters to prototyping, testing and finding new ways to innovate.