Three Preparation Steps For Part Design

So, you have a part you want made out of plastic (or rubber). You have a drawing, maybe a CAD file. You know what the part needs to do.

What now?

This is the stage where you need to make the leap from idea to practical. To get the part finalized, material specified, and actually get the part into production. What information do you need to have to finalize everything?

1.) Know Your Operational Environment

This is absolutely critical and something we often need to work through with customers before we make a recommendation. You need to know the complete operational environment for your part. This includes:

  • Min/Max operating temperature
  • Chemical exposure (and how much exposure to each chemical – it matters!)
  • UV-exposure
  • Pressure applied on the part (in PSI)

Depending on the part there may be other critical factors but you should know at least those four.

2.) Know Your Required Tolerances

This is perhaps the most important thing that keeps getting overlooked in part design. Often we’re handed a drawing with metal tolerances (+/- 0.001″) and told to make it (hint: not possible to hold those tolerances). Or, in many cases, customers simply tell us to hold “best” tolerances. Did you know there’s a premium to that? When we work out a quote internally, required tolerances are part of that because of the time and risk involved in hitting our tightest (+/- 0.005″) tolerance. Often a (+/-) 0.03″ is suitable for many applications and since it will save you money, it’s worth it to know the demands of your application.

3.) Know Your Quantities – Buy In Bulk

Quantity usually means price break when it comes to parts. Customers will often send us a drawing and ask that we quote a couple pieces, ostensibly as samples. The issue is that the cost for prototypes will be inflated compared to the prototypes…And sometimes customers just think the price would remain constant. So know an accurate number of how many parts you will need once in production and get both prototypes and production runs quoted at once for a clear picture of your costs.

For more information on how to buy your parts in the most economical way possible, please contact us today.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Not Sure What Rubber You Need? Start Here

Ordering rubber products is easy enough when you know exactly what you need and a defined spec is available. However, what if that information has been lost? The answer is to start at “square one” and work your way up to an optimal solution. To that end you need to know five pieces of information:

  • Application – What are you doing with it?
  • Contact with – What aggregates or other materials will contact the rubber?
  • Exposed to – which chemicals?
  • Operating Temp – Lowest and highest?
  • Durometer – What is the hardness (example, 60A)?

The first four pieces of information on the list must be supplied by the customer and should be easy to put together. “Durometer” is a little trickier if not known as that requires a specialized piece of equipment. In that case, a sample of material can be mailed to us and we can test it here. Having this information will help us, help you maximize success in your application.

For assistance with your rubber needs please contact us today.

New Product: Foamlite P Polypropylene

We have a new product available in our mix: Foamlite P Polypropylene. This is a lightweight plastic that offers 30% weight savings over other materials commonly used in similar applications which include everything from tank cladding, washdown areas, cargo crates among many others. Additional benefits to the product include excellent chemical resistance, UV and moisture resistance. The product is weldable and adhesives can be used (this is not the case for all plastics). One of the better rules of thumb for Foamlite is to use it as a replacement for wood, where wood’s deficiencies (rot, moisture absorption, cracking) are unacceptable.

Important to know as well is this is a European manufactured product meaning it is manufactured under metric system measurements not the imperial system like most North American made plastics. The sheet is available in thicknesses from 6mm (approximately 1/4″) to 21mm (approximately 7/8″) and in one size only that is 2000mm x 3048mm. We are not stocking this product at our locations but bringing it in from our supplier as necessary, therefore a 1-2 week delivery is typical. Lastly, Foamlite is available in three colors: black, grey, and white only.

If you’re interested in Foamlite P Polypropylene please contact us today.

 

Product Spotlight: King ColorCore

King ColorCore is a HDPE plastic sheet with laminated layers of different colors of plastic and is incredibly attractive and versatile in its uses. Need a sign that will not have the logo or lettering wash out? Then this product may be ideal for you.

King ColorCore is primarily routered or engraved by the customer, which will allow words, designs, or logos to appear. The color is either a two or three color “sandwich” such as red/white/red. All the colors are the same price (a commonly asked question about this product). The lamination consists of a few thin “cap” about 0.05″ thick which is typically CNC engraved 3/8″ thick. A machining “quick guide” is available for customer’s use. The sheets are available in a standard 48″ x 96″ size in thickness of 1/4″, 1/2″ and 3/4″ with the latter being considered the “standard”. These products are not stocked by Redwood Plastics and Rubber; however, most sizes are stocked by the supplier and most orders will ship in 1-1.5 weeks. Due to varying freight costs to “land” an order at each of our RSOs (Regional Sales Offices) it is not possible to provide a price list: each request must be quoted as it comes in.

King ColorCore meets ASTM D4976. The raw material used to make King ColorCore does not contain BPA’s or Phthalates. Tolerances on the sheet are (+-) 5% at room temperatures. The product can be supplied on special order with either antibiological/fungal additives (for protection against stains or odor) or flame-retardant additives to meet ASTM E-84 Class A or B. Please realize that this is a premium plastic product that will be imported to the customer’s local branch for distribution and prices will vary.
For questions about King ColorCore’s suitability for your application, please contact us today.
King_Colors

Budgetary Expectations And Lifecycle Cost

One of the most important topics that comes up in a plastic application are issues of cost, budget, and expectations. Most commonly the request we get is to provide a better better performing plastic at less cost. In the vast majority of situations, frankly, this is unreasonable. Plastics, like any quality product, generally follow the old cliche “you get what you pay for” and a better performing, longer-lasting, plastic will almost always cost more money. There are rare exceptions, for example everything being equal, reprocessed (“repro”) UHMW will actually outperform the slightly more expensive natural grade in wear applications specifically. However, these are very rare exceptions to the rule.

It is important to know your budget up front. If there is no ability to fund a higher priced solution you may simply need to make due. However, if you have room in your budget then we have some room to work. Most commonly, a premium grade of the same material would be suggested. For example, switching from reprocessed UHMW to Redco Titanium or Tivar 88. This is generally the first step to take as the premium product provides all of the properties of the lower grade, just much improved. For example, slicker, better wear properties, and UV resistance or weathering.

At times, the application may require a jump to a new plastic. For example, if a nylon part is failing due to being brittle in cold temperatures or moisture swell, then a switch to Redco Tuffkast may be in order. Similarly, most plastics cannot hold tight tolerances; however, acetal is perhaps the best at doing so and bears a similar load to nylon. Were a nylon part to fall out or be unable to retain tolerances, acetal would be an excellent substitute in most applications.

However, the most important point of all is this: selection of the optimal material for an application will almost always result in a lower lifecycle cost and therefore cost-savings. Reduced maintenance costs, replacement, and downtime, will all save the customer money in the long run. It is this critical factor which is often overlooked in the decision to switch to a premium grade of plastic or a more expensive, but ideal, plastic for an application!

For assistance in choosing the best grade or plastic for your application please contact us.

New Product: Woodgrain HDPE

Redwood Plastics is happy to announce a new product offering* under our HDPE line: Redco Woodgrain HDPE. This attractive product is durable, UV-stable, tough, and easy to work with saws, drills, lathes, and other tools that would regularly be used for wood products. This product is optimized for outdoor use and will never require repainting. Highly weather-resistant, with fade resistant colorant (impregnated throughout the entire sheet), this product can take the impact of everyday life and will outlast wood.

Redco Woodgrain is currently available in a single sheet size and a single thickness: 4′ x 8′ x 3/4″ thick. Available colors are espresso brown, tan, and black. Custom thicknesses are available but only with a 5,000 lbs or greater minimum order. The attractive faux wood surface makes the product excellent for applications such as outdoor kitchens, tables, marine furniture, playground equipment, decking, or anything else you feel would be suited to a strong, weather-resistant, attractive replacement to wood.

This is a premium product and it will not be competitive on price alone when compared to the cost of wood. However, for the individual or organization that is looking for a product with a low life-cycle cost requiring very little maintenance, repainting, cleaning, or other labor, and wants a premium product then Redco Woodgrain HDPE offers an excellent solution.

To inquire about pricing or if you have questions on this product please contact us. 

*Please note the product is not currently stocked at our locations and will need to be brought in as required for orders. Typical lead time to land the product is 2 weeks. The minimum order is a single full sheet, it is not sold in smaller sizes or partials.

Coffee, Baseball, And Polycarbonate

Today we’re highlighting a recent application by our Spokane branch. Recently we were contacted by Dutch Bros. Coffee who has a location at Avista Stadium: home of the Spokane Indians baseball team. Dutch was looking for a clear plastic to protect their storefront signs and graphics. General-purpose polycarbonate was chosen for its excellent impact strength which will prevent breakage from anything from vandalism to accidental bumps. In addition, the polycarbonate is much more forgiving with drilling than acrylic – and several screws were tapped into the sheet. The polycarbonate was 3/16″ thick for this application. The picture below shows the completed application.

For help with your polycarbonate needs please get in touch with us.