Internal plastic mechanical parts can be defined as any component that is incorporated into a mechanical mechanism within a product in order for it to operate or function as outlined in the product specification. This can include gears, bearings, shafts, structural elements, and hinges.
Each mechanical part will require specific properties in order to meet its design criteria, which could be high wear resistance, high sliding characteristics, flexibility with repeatable bending over its lifespan or other very specific attributes.
In general, internal plastic mechanical parts will be produced from one of the engineering plastics. Engineering plastics can be classified as plastics that have better mechanical and/or thermal properties than the more commonly used plastics. These engineering plastics each offer a unique property that will be best suited for specific applications.
In this series of articles, we will examine some popular internal plastic mechanical parts and some appropriate engineering plastics that would be suitable for each component type to help you get started with sourcing them.
With the engineering plastics available today, plastic gears are becoming ever more popular and the advantages of replacing metal gears with them are increasing.
Some industries are now able to use plastic gears and benefit from maintenance-free operations even in corrosive environments and harsh conditions that would simply not have been possible with metal gears.
Some of the obvious advantages of using plastic gears are weight savings, reduced cost, and better performance.
In this article, we look at which plastic is ideal for machined gears and which is best for injection molded gears.
Plastic bearings are being used in more applications as the number of specific engineering polymers increases.
Plastic bearings have many advantages over conventional metal bearings such as their resistance to corrosive environments where metal bearings cannot be used. The fact that most of these plastics are self-lubricating eliminates the need for oils and other lubricants. There are even more benefits to be enjoyed over metal bearings, too, which we’ll get into.
Multiple plastics have the characteristics that make them candidates for use in bearings, however, in reality, only a few types are predominantly used, and we’ll take a look at them in this guide to plastic bearings.
There are multiple reasons why you would look for an alternative shaft material over steel or any other metal for that fact, cost reduction, weight reduction, corrosive environment, and in some cases the design of integrated features that could be achieved with a metal shaft design.
Because of the torsional and flexural requirements a shaft has to withstand, the plastics generally used are reinforced and what is classed as composites. So let’s examine plastic composites as suitable plastics for shaft production in this guide.
Hinges that are made from plastic are also known as living hinges and differ from the conventional three-part metal hinge in that the hinge is created within the plastic component as a single part.
You will see these types of hinges in everyday items such as shampoo lids, squeezy sauce bottles, pill boxes, or the lids of toothpaste tubes, for example.
There is one predominant plastic used for living hinges and we discuss its properties in this article.
You can learn more about plastics by reading and watching this content:
- Thermoplastics VS Thermosets (Common Production Materials) video playlist
- Plastics Recycling Numbers
- The benefits of silicone as a production material and how it compares to common plastics white paper
- Oil Based Plastic Alternatives: Key Types of Bioplastics white paper
- Bioplastics’ Key Advantages & Disadvantages
- Plastic injection molding videos
- How to Measure the Flexibility of the Plastic You Buy in China?