Metal parts and components have their place for sure, but they also have their pitfalls… Metal parts are heavy, require coating, plating, or painting to protect from corrosion, often difficult to replace and expensive as well.
Many industrial and commercial parts originally and traditionally formed in metal are now being formed in plastic. Consider the potential benefits;
- The part can be formed in colored plastic, completely removing the requirement for expensive plating or powder coating or high maintenance cost of painting and preserving.
- Plastic parts can very often be lighter and can be formed to fit in areas that require advanced metal fabrication or additional support.
- Plastic parts can be stored indefinitely without fear of damage from corrosion or handling.
- Plastic parts are easily (and cheaply) customized to include formed in logos, molded in hardware, or combining what would be several parts in metal into one part in plastic.
- Plastic parts will withstand localized impact without damage whereas significant damage would occur to metal.
- Part changes can be made easily, without expensive metal forming dies.
- Plastic parts can be formed quickly, removing the long lead time for metal fabrication.
Belt guards, construction equipment covers and dash panels, electrical box covers, vending machine and appliance panels and components, trailer fenders, pole covers, manhole inserts, all good examples of expensive metal parts now made almost exclusively from formed plastic.