Mating parts providing a fluid or gas seal are critical components in most mechanical systems. We commonly think of them in valves and connector assemblies, but they are also found in pressure vessels, compressors, pumps, motors, engines, transmissions, and almost all mechanical power trains. Seals, especially those that mate to moving parts, have a demanding set of quality requirements. Each application has its own specific needs, but all seals are characterized by tight dimensional tolerances and excellent surface finish.

Our customer wanted to improve the usable life and leakage profile of a valve without absorbing any increase in component cost.  The sealing surface specifications were tightened to 0.0005 inches (12.7 µ) which was key to accomplishing the performance improvements.

The previous supplier of this component was unable to meet the more stringent sealing surface dimensional tolerances “out of the mold” necessitating a finish machining operation to bring the part into tolerance.  However, machining the sealing surface removed the resin-rich surface of the part creating micro-cracks in the surface and exposing reinforcing fibers. Both of these unavoidable consequences of machining negatively impacted component performance, useful life and cost.

Solution

Performance Plastics knew eliminating the machining operation would improve strength, reduce trapped impurities, and lower manufacturing cost.  Our engineering team focused on producing a “true net shape” part directly out of the mold.   Key to accomplishing the customers goals involved leveraging our proprietary, iterative tool design process.  It required making a 3D CT scan of preliminary molded parts measuring, in this case, approximately 1 million critical part dimensions.  This analysis identified minute distortions.  Utilizing internally developed proprietary software, PPL integrated the CT scan data with CAD/CAM software to make exacting mold modifications eliminating the out of tolerance conditions.  This process contributed to producing a best in class “out-of-mold” conforming part.

The manufacturing process also had to be optimized to produce the desired performance results.  Although the material posed molding challenges, PPL decided to direct gate the part at the top to ensure symmetry of material flow throughout the cavity, critical in achieving roundness to the sealing surface.

The results of development program surprised everyone. Performance Plastics was able to achieve  “out of mold” net shape parts with a seal surface capable of meeting sealing ranges of 100 psi to 3,000 psi, with no porosity and consistently meeting dimensional tolerances of 0.0003 inches, or 7.62 µ. Eliminating the need for subsequent finish machining dropped the leakage rate for the valve by 50%, from 1.0 scfm to 0.5 scfm.

At Performance Plastics, we are experts in injection molding, specializing in high performance plastics.  Our proprietary tool design software, processes and equipment enable us to injection mold components having complex geometries made from challenging ultra, high-performance thermoplastic materials, and reinforced compounds. For more information on Performance Plastic’s capabilities, please contact Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at 513.321.8404 or email at rreed@performanceplastics.com

With the population aging and improving technology, medical device designers are being asked to increase performance and longevity of devices as well as decrease costs.  One of the most effective methods of achieving both these goals is a metal-to-plastic conversion.

Plastics can be used to replace even the most sophisticated medical device by incorporating simple design modifications.  High performance polymers offer the same strength and rigidity as some metals along with some additional advantages.

Advantages of the medical resins include:

  • Reduced Device Weight
  • Increased Design Freedom – Moldability of all Features
  • Improved Functional Aesthetics
  • Reduced Sterilization Burden
  • Improved MRI Compatibility

At Performance Plastics, we are experts in injection molding, specializing in high performance plastics.  Ultem® PEI and Peek are premium medical grade resins that are ideal for the manufacturing of medical parts and components.  Medical grade resins provide excellent mechanical properties and are highly resistant to chemicals and thermal degradation, making them highly desirable materials for plastic injection molded products within the medical industry.

At Performance Plastics, we utilize a unique combination of extensive material knowledge, mold flow analysis, a design system and process expertise to eliminate or minimize the need for secondary operations. Our expertise in process control allows us to effectively injection mold medical resins into parts with extremely tight tolerances. This gives us the ability to provide an injection molded part made from the highest strength and stiffness of any medical resin.

PEI is one of the many high performance polymers Performance Plastics specializes.  For more information on Performance Plastic’s capabilities, please contact Rich Reed, our Vice President of Sales and Marketing at 513.321.8404 or email at rreed@performanceplastics.com.

The ability to mold unique and complex parts is what we do at Performance Plastics. Our engineers are constantly pushing the limits of our machines and material in order to produce complex parts. We excel when using high performance plastics for challenging applications.

Air motors produce continuous rotary power from compressed air. The vanes in the rotor cause the rotor to spin by sliding in and out when air is pushed into the rotor. The force differential created by the unbalanced force of air on the vanes causes the rotor to spin in one direction. Vanes are extremely important when it comes to how the motor performs. The torque of the motor correlates to the vane surfaces and pressure of the air. Vanes undergo a lot of friction wear and pressure, making material choice for this project challenging.

Vanes need to be made from material that have high strength, low creep, resistance to high temperatures, low friction wear and resistant to water and organic compounds. Any deformity or wear in the vane will take away from the torque of the motor. Therefore, we had to choose a high-performance plastic that will be able to handle the pressure of the compression inside the rotor without wearing or hindering the movement of the vane. The only two high performance plastic materials that fit the criteria are PEEK and Torlon®, two materials that we are experts in using at Performance Plastics. The mechanical properties in these high-performance plastics will allow for the vane effectively slide in and out of the rotor without causing damage to the vane.

To learn more about how Performance Plastics can help you with your project, contact Rich Reed, our Vice President of Sales and Marketing, at (513) 321-8404 or RReed@performanceplastics.com.

The Lithium Ion Battery industry has begun using more and more plastic parts in their manufacturing processes. Most batteries intended for light vehicle usage now have 50% more plastic materials than they did even 10 years ago.  Some batteries have entirely plastic formulations ranging from the electrolyte (polymeric electrolytes) to the casing.  This is due to the very low weight of plastics as compared to metals. Plastic incorporation in batteries increases the electrolyte efficiency if used in polymeric electrolytes.

Commercially available lithium-ion batteries also use plastics. Plastic components incorporated in batteries include separators, gaskets, and casing components. Plastics have good shock absorbing characteristics and prevent damage to the basic cell unit from minor accidental shocks. Also, plastics such as Teflon® PFA, Ultem® PEI, and PPSU have high temperature resistance, corrosion resistance, and are electrical insulators so they are excellent at preventing short-circuit and “rapid disassembly.”

There has been a major shift from metal to resins in gasket manufacturing. Gaskets can be made from Ultem®, Ryton PPS and Fluoropolymers (PFA plastic) because of high heat resistance, chemical resistance, and ability to mold thin walls (.012”). Plastic parts may also lower the cost of production of batteries and may eventually replace most metallic components of batteries.

Performance Plastics is highly skilled at designing and molding high performance materials such as FEP/PFA, Ultem®, Torlon®, PEEK, POM, and PPS.  We work with our customers to solve technically challenging problems.   We can propose materials to implement part functionality in the design stage of development. We offer manufacturing solutions such as a clean room, the ability to offer direct gating of fluoropolymers, high volume production, visual inspection and automated facilities.

For more information and solutions, please contact Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at 513-321-8404 or email rreed@performanceplastics.com

 

 

Performance Plastics is a leader in providing innovative production solutions for our customers.  We have the opportunity to work on many new projects annually and follow a process guideline called our “Project Development Roadmap”.  This process is formatted in a way that everyone involved has a clear view and set expectations.

It has been our experience that the launch of a new product can be an overwhelming event for most companies.  Product innovation, testing, proving, and marketing all take toll. Performance Plastics works as a partner on projects to ensure successful outcomes. We go out of our way to make the process as smooth as possible.

With every new opportunity, we use our Product Development Roadmap to identify steps and milestones to ensure a successful project:

  • Set initial guidelines on budget, minimum quantity, investment, and contractual time commitments.

Before any true collaboration can begin, there truly must be a meeting of the minds.  We want to respect the customer and have the customer respect our process in turn.  Budget, quantities, and projected time frame are all key components of a true understanding.

  • Agreement on conceptual design and function of mold

Everyone truly needs to understand what the project needs to accomplish.  Often in times of negotiation, companies are so focused on details that the reason for the project gets lost.  We are Performance Plastics like to begin with the end in mind.  We begin with the required product outcome and work backwards.

  • Customer to issue PO

This is where our process is very different from the competition.  While some companies will perform the initial part design without a PO, we want the customer to be fully engaged in this process.  Our engineers work hand in hand with our partner’s engineers to solve the issues and meet the deliverables.  We require our customers to buy into the project, which requires commitment, time, and money.

  • PPL to perform initial part DFM (Design for Manufacturing), using mold fill, cooling, and warpage analysis to optimize part design. PPL to request customer approval.

The design for manufacturability is the general engineering practice of designing products in such a way that they are easy to manufacture.  But easy to manufacture does not always produce the best result.  We collaborate with our customers to design molds in ways that meet the expectations and requirements of the project, addressing mold fill, cooling, and warpage analysis data.

  • Customer to approve the initial DFM and ok PPL to launch mold design.

Keeping expectations in mind, we pause our process and perform an in-depth review with our customers.  At this point we re-evaluate the outcomes, make the needed modifications and engage in an open dialog regarding process improvements.

  • PPL to provide final DFM design to customer for approval.

 Taking in account modifications from the initial DFM, we then present out final version for the customer for them to independently verify and approve.  This is the final step at which we have open discussions on revisions, changes and process improvements.

  • Upon approval, PPL to launch mold construction.

Only after all these steps do we begin the mold construction.  We want to make sure all our parameters are satisfied in all design elements and deliverables before we begin construction.

It has been our experience that the more time we spend getting the process laid out correctly in the beginning, the fewer problems we will have when we begin production.  We want to make sure the whole team has clear expectations of the project guidelines, timeframes, and outcomes.

For more information on our “Project Development Roadmap”, or any Performance Plastics’ projects, please contact Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at rreed@performanceplastics.com or 513.321.8404.

 

For decades, Performance Plastics has been delivering the highest quality custom plastic injection molding solutions in the industry for our customers. We take a highly specialized and consultative approach, working closely with our customers to develop the solutions needed to solve the most complicated issues.

Direct gating is a molding technique designed to drastically reduce the material waste associated with runner systems. This is critically important when working with sheer sensitive, expensive materials such as fluoropolymers (FEP, PFA, PVDF) and PEEK.

Direct gating is ideally suited for deep draw parts and/or small parts like medical components.  The technique saves resin and typically cuts cycle time by up to 50%.  In addition, it eliminates the need for downstream processing such as surface finishing or grinding.  The part quality achieved by direct gating is in many cases improved over parts manufactured with a cold runner.

We work with design engineers to create better products.  Direct gating is an advanced technique that increases value and provides advantages for new, innovative concepts.  Our hybrid direct gate technology eliminates the runner waste associated with conventional molding, significantly reducing material use and per part cost. Polymers are injected directly into the part mold eliminating the need for runners.

Performance Plastics excels at intricate injection molded components needing some combination of high temperature, low surface adhesion, chemical and organic resistance in a package with complex geometries and/or tight tolerances.

For more information on how Performance Plastics can solve your tight tolerance molding challenges, please contact Rich Reed, VP Sales & Marketing at 513.321.8404 or rreed@performanceplastics.com.

Performance Plastics specializes in precision injection molding of high-performance plastics. Our precise production process gives us the ability to injection mold difficult polymers, producing high quality thermoplastic products.

High performance plastic materials, such as PAI (Polyamidimide) Torlon®, possess ideal properties when it comes to molding for strength and durability. Recognized as one of the highest performing thermoplastic materials, Torlon® exhibits greater compressive strength and impact resistance than other high-performance plastics. Torlon’s high creep resistance and extremely low coefficient of linear thermal expansion (CLTE) provides excellent thermal stability. This provides for creating manufactured parts that exhibit high levels of tensile strength, friction wear, compression strength, and rigidity, ensuring exceptional mechanical loading capabilities up to 525°F (275°C).

At Performance Plastics, we are experts in injection molding, specializing in high performance plastics. High performance plastics, such as Torlon®, can be extremely difficult to injection mold due to the polymers unique structure. Torlon® is a reactive polymer, which can cause complications during the injection molding process. A specific set of conditions, equipment, and processing procedures must be followed to effectively injection mold Torlon®. Our proprietary tool design software, processes and equipment enables us to injection mold components having complex geometries made from challenging ultra, high-performance thermoplastic materials and reinforced compounds.

We utilize a unique combination of extensive material knowledge, mold flow analysis, a design system and process expertise to eliminate or minimize the need for secondary operations. Our expertise in process control allows us to effectively injection mold Torlon® in parts with extremely tight tolerances. This gives us the ability to provide you with an injection molded part made from the highest strength and stiffness of any commercial thermoplastic.

Torlon® is one of the many high performance polymers Performance Plastics offers.  For more information on Performance Plastic’s capabilities, please contact Rich Reed, our Vice President of Sales and Marketing at 513.321.8404 or email at rreed@performanceplastics.com.

Nutplates fail for a variety of reasons

  • Poor surface prep
  • Wrong grip length fastener (too long) when engaged pushing nutplate off structure
  • Fastener locked up in nut element (i.e. not turning) due to excessive heat from fastener during installation
  • Improper fastener torque sequencing for panel installation

Following aircraft specific T.O. – takes from 24 to 72 hours to effect a repair

Removal-and-Replacement-of-Failed-Bonded-Nutplates-Presentation

 

Plastic injection molding continues to become more and more sophisticated with part tolerances becoming tighter and tighter. Initially, tight tolerance was defined as +/-.002 inches and a very tight tolerance is +/-.001 inches. But today there are many factors that impact tight tolerance including part complexity and size, resin selection, tooling, and process conditions. So, getting the mold, part design, material selection and process correct is crucial when working with a product that requires tight tolerances.

Tight tolerances are essential when manufacturing complex parts, especially in the aerospace & defense, medical & life sciences, and diversified industrial sectors.  A few thousandths of an inch can be the difference between a component that fits and one that does not – if tight tolerances are not achieved properly the resulting products may underperform. So, it is critical that clients understand tight tolerances and their underlying objectives. Performance Plastics has parts in production that are +/-.0004 inches. Parts are measured in their Metrology lab with a CT Scanner.

 

Benefits of Tight Tolerances

There are many benefits to manufacturing parts with tight tolerances. It ensures that parts work together smoothly and fit as intended in their final form; parts mesh well and deliver enhanced functionality.   They produce lower failure rates and result in higher client satisfaction. Tight tolerances can also result in fewer post-molding processing requirements.  Additionally, tight tolerances allow for parts to be transitioned from metal to plastic, reducing overall weight and cost of the final product. This can be very advantageous in some industries, such as aerospace and defense.

Design for Tight Tolerances

Not every plastic injection molding project requires tight tolerances, and some organizations insist on tight tolerances for non-critical features.  Tight tolerance should only be required in instances where they are critical.  Many products require standard tolerancing because the consequences of failure are low.  As a general rule, designers should keep tolerances as large as possible while maintaining the desired functionality of the part.

Materials for Tight Tolerances

Additionally, material selection is a critical element in achieving tight tolerances.  Certain resins perform better under certain circumstances.  An experienced design engineer can guide a client in choosing the most affordable material that will deliver the best result.  So, it’s critical to bring in an experienced team early in the design process.

By engaging a production team during the design phase, part functionality, material selection and design can be discussed upfront, and the team can jointly develop a manufacturing process and correct materials that will produce high-precision components. It is crucial for organizations to partner with an experienced injection molder, who has expertise; the design and manufacturing teams should be integrated to allow manufacturability issues to be identified and addressed during the design process – thus saving significant time and unnecessary cost.

Establishing the right process and correct materials for each product and developing repeatability are key to manufacturing tight tolerance parts. While every application is different, there are some process and material conditions that impact tolerances. For example, quick cavity filling and uniform cooling at the desired temperature are conditions that are crucial to achieving repeatability, and thus, parts with tight tolerances.

Performance Plastics is highly skilled at designing and molding using high performance materials such as PEI-Ultem®, PAI-Torlon®, Ryton® PPS Plastic, PEEK, and Fluoropolymers such as FEP, PFA, and PVDF.  We work with our customers to solve technically challenging problems.   We can propose materials to implement part functionality in the design stage of development. We offer manufacturing solutions such as a clean room, the ability to offer direct gating of fluoropolymers, high volume production, visual inspection, and automated facilities.

For more information and solutions, please contact Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at 513-321-8404 or email rreed@performanceplastics.com

 

Performance Plastic’s  Metrology Lab focuses on advancing measurement science through our ability to understand all aspects of your part.  Mechanical Engineer, Jordan Murray, dives into our industrial computed tomography (CT) Scanning process, explaining the benefits of CT Scanning and how it helps us to solve your problems.

To learn more about Performance Plastic’s CT Scanning process contact Rich Reed, our Vice President of Sales and Marketing, at (513) 321-8404 or RReed@performanceplastics.com.