Designing for Performance: Metal to Plastic Conversion

Posted on October 18th, 2018 by Dirk Arends

This blog is the first in a series on converting metal parts to thermoplastic. The focus will be design simplification, cost reduction, part weight, project management and enhancing performance through a metal-to-plastic conversion process. IVP’s engineers will share expertise and experience in designing with plastics to eliminate some of the issues that are associated with metal and its fabrication such as corrosion, environmental impact, forming, stamping and machining costs, painting, welding, assembly of multiple components, part weight and high shipping costs.

IVP’s standard metal-to-plastic conversion process includes eight steps, from the initial collaboration with all vested parties to final production. They are:

  1. Setting Targets with ALL Constituents
  2. Developing Concepts and Designs
  3. Running Simulation Models and Analysis
  4. Optimizing Design and Material for Manufacturability
  5. Validate Decisions with Prototypes
  6. Consider Global Sourcing
  7. Launch the Customer Advocacy Group and Field Testing
  8. Launch Tooling and Final Production Plans

Setting targets with all constituents is a very critical step that is often overlooked. When a metal-to-plastic conversion is being considered, first identify all constituents that will be affected by a redesign. Typically this would include the end user, marketing, engineering, production, quality and shipping/transportation. IVP’s engineers will work with the group identified to determine what is key to each group. Following the identification of the key characteristics of the part(s) under review, there will be an initial collaboration meeting to set conversion goals. Once the goals have been identified, then a priority must be put on each goal and agreed to by the group. The key, prioritized goals will be documented and shared with the group. The group will then determine when they would like to meet again to review the conversion project goals for any final thoughts and input. Once the targets have been agreed to and set, we will summarize in a written document and distribute to all key stakeholders. In our next blog, we will discuss in detail how to develop concepts and designs with plastics.

The engineering team at IVP Plastics has the ability to work with you to re-design your part and help you to reduce weight, reduce thermal and electrical conductivity, eliminate metal content in corrosive environments, reduce additional components, and significantly reduce overall cost and time to market per part. Contact us today to convert your metal part to plastic.

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