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Plastic has the image of a “cheap” and simple material, but in fact it is an excellent material in terms of the possibilities it provides for production. It is possible to develop plastic products with a very wide composition of properties. And yes – it is a cheap material, at least in terms of production, and this is actually an advantage. So where do you start in the development of a plastic-based product? And what are the options you will face in this process? In this article we will answer these questions and more. starting
Plastic is an artificial material that has developed over the years in the world of industry, so it is very suitable for the development of new products. The development, which is sometimes referred to as “engineering design”, will go through these stages, among others:
1. Characterization – First, the requirements for the product must be characterized at the business level – what do you actually want it to do.
2. Consultation – consultation with professionals in the field of plastics in everything related to the final characterization of the product.
3. Choosing between the appropriate alternatives – including the type of plastic that will be used or what combination of types of plastic there should be. It will also be necessary to take into account various constraints such as compliance with standards. Also, it is possible to realize the production with the help of different methods or their combination, for example plastic injection and machining .
4. Prototype production – between the idea and the mass production there must be a stage of testing the actual product and improving the design. For this, a prototype is made, tested, conclusions drawn and improved accordingly.
5. Optimization of the production process – when there is already a final design of the plastic product, it is important to plan the production process in the most efficient and economical way. So that the mass production will not become a “mass” waste of money for you.
6. Mass production – starting mass production, receiving feedback from the field on the product, and if necessary, repairs and improvements will be made. It is also possible to develop a plastic product that is intended to be produced in small quantities or even as a single item. But today plastic products can be produced in large quantities in a way that is also very fast and cheap.
These are some alternatives from which you can choose in the development of a plastic-based product:
Basic properties of the material – the plastic used must first of all be suitable for the task, in terms of basic properties such as structural strength. Depending on the nature of the product’s intended use, resistance to heat and fire, for example, may also be important.
· Safety for humans – the different types of plastic have different levels of risk, which make them suitable for specific types of uses. Some of them, for example, are toxic and prohibited for use next to food products. So this is also a consideration that should be taken into account at the beginning of the characterization and selection processes.
· Durability in different materials – this feature is significant, for example, in the production of bottles. A plastic bottle for a particularly strong detergent, for example, must be durable. Such resistance may also be required in terms of exposing the product externally to various materials.
Finishing – colors, shades and surface texture that allow the product to compete with quite a few products based on other raw materials. It is also possible to print on plastic, including on uneven surfaces. There is even “conductive painting” as a substitute for shielding from radio frequency interference.
Complementary services – production may require various complementary services, such as machining or assembly and soldering.
Environmental friendliness – plastic does not necessarily pollute the environment. It is possible to recycle some of the types of plastic and also from this aspect you can see different grades and combinations of properties. For example, the decomposition time of the material over the years and the degree of danger it creates in its decomposition.
In principle, developing a plastic product is similar to developing products in general. But in view of the special characteristics of this useful material, it is important to work with expert and experienced professionals.