Designing for Performance: Chapter 4 – Metal to Plastic Conversion

Posted on May 8th, 2019 by Dirk Arends

This is the fourth chapter on Designing for Performance: Optimize for Manufacturability.  Our previous blog covered Simulation Models & Analysis.

There are many things to consider when designing a part, including manufacturability. This is something that is completed prior to producing prototype parts. For instance, any unnecessary fasteners will add both cost in parts and assembly labor. Here are a few points to consider to maximize value:

  • Use snap fits where possible to lower cost.
  • If not possible, use metallic inserts and compression limiters to improve service life and provide use of standard bolt torque methods.
  • Several low-cost design options are available for a hole, slot or edge attachment.
  • Add hinges into the design to take advantage of plastic’s unique properties.
  • Use molded in plastic color if possible.  Be aware many polymers will not hold paint.
  • Plastic will shrink when cooling in the mold, so uniform wall thickness will help avoid warp and shrink.

Once the final manufacturing issues have been addressed, the design can move forward to the prototype production phase. We’ll talk more about that in our next blog. 

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