Celebrating a Milestone with New Products & Big Goals

Performance Plastics Ltd. of Cincinnati, Ohio marked its fortieth anniversary this year as a leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance thermoplastic conponents.  The company works with specialized polymers and tight tolerances, and follows rigorous quality assurance protocols.  It anticipates big growth shortly, based on its wealth of experience and cutting edge products such as EnduroSharp(R) aerospace maintenace tools.

To continue reading: https://mags.manufacturinginfocus.com/mag/MIFSep2022/#page=22

 

 

You know Performance Plastics for our EnduroSharp® Non-marring Aircraft Maintenance Tool, but did you know that Performance Plastic is also an expert in tight tolerance custom injection molding?

For four 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.

We have the experience to take a project from concept to production in-house. Every step of the process, from design and engineering, to tooling, protype, and full production, is done under the supervision of our experienced team. We produce complex, tight tolerance custom molded products of all types for the aerospace, medical and diversified industrial sectors.

We are technical specialists in collaborating and executing advanced, custom solutions for our customers. Injection-molded product fabrication is a complex process, especially when dealing with parts that are the size of a pin.  Our process is comprehensive and efficient to ensure that custom solutions can be delivered quickly and cost-effectively. High performance materials include PFA, FEP, PEEK, ULTEM, and Torlon.

With the ability to injection mold shot sizes as small as .015 grams with a wall thickness as thin as .008 of inch, Performance Plastics is anything but typical.  We are one of the leaders in tight tolerance, highly detailed medical parts.

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.

 

 

Thermoplastic medical spinal implant component, precision thermoplastic medical check valve, non-contaminating Thermoplastic medical valve component, precision thermoplasticmedical spinal implant component, non-contaminating medical spinal implant component

High Precision, PEEK, Thermoplastic Medical Spinal Implant Component

PEEK® is an organic thermoplastic polymer that offers excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties because of its chemical make-up.  PEEK® is short for polyether ether ketone, which means it’s a member of the polyaryletherketone family. These polymers are notable for their phenylene rings and oxygen bridges, which result in resilience, durability and strength.

PEEK® is great for medical applications because it is one of the few high-performance polymers that is a bio-material – it is highly resistant to radiation which allows for easy sterilization.

  • Biocompatibility – PEEK® is a proven biomaterial, which means it is considered safe for use with in vivo applications. PEEK® shows no signs of cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, or immunogenetics.  The material has been successfully in use for over 20 years.
  • A favorable flexural modulus – Compared to metals such as titanium, stainless steel and other metal biomaterials, PEEK® is much more flexible. It behaves much more like bone in how it flexes and bears weight.  It does not cause stress shielding in nearby bone.
  • Pure radiolucency – PEEK® renders transparent on X-rays, CT and MRI scans – which makes it easy for surgical teams to track the positioning of implants and detect complications.

Many medical device manufacturers now use PEEK® as a way to improve the biocompatibility of load bearing implants.  PEEK® is increasingly becoming the new standard biomaterial across a range of medical, orthopedic, and dental applications.

Performance Plastics’ team of experienced engineers possess the expertise to design and manufacture technically challenging projects and offer complex solutions within the medical industry.

For more information on how Performance Plastics can assist in your material selection challenges, please contact Rich Reed, VP Sales & Marketing at 513.321.8404 or rreed@performanceplastics.com.

When starting to produce a new product, it’s important to decide on the type of process you will use for the manufacturing process.  While injection molding is a very cost-effective process, the initial startup cost of the mold is often a barrier of entry.

Injection molding is a manufacturing process that is very efficient for producing parts in large volume.  It is typically used in the mass production process where the same part is being created in the thousands or even millions.

Upfront costs tend to be very high due to the design, testing, and tooling requirements.  If you are going to produce parts in high volumes, you want to make sure you get the design correct the first time. So, what are the costs associated with producing an injection mold?

  • Choice of Resin

One of the biggest factors that effect the price of the plastic injection molding process is the type of plastic resin used in manufacturing.  The choice of material will change the price based on color, compounding, and additives.  The most abrasive or corrosive the material, the most expensive the mold.

  • Complexity

The more intricate the component, the more difficult it is to design the manufacturing process.  Part complexity, tolerances, number of undercuts as well as surface finish all effect the cost.

  • Size

The size of the component also drives the price.  Larger parts require larger, more expensive molds, as well as more material to manufacture.  Larger molds also take longer to make, which increases the costs.

  • Mold Material

The material the mold is made from significantly impacts the price.  Short production molds are usually made from less expensive materials such as aluminum.  Long production molds require molds made from more durable and expensive materials like steel that will retain their features across several years.

  • Cavities

The higher the number of cavities – the higher the production costs.  Experienced mold designers can maximize cavitations to enhance productivity and lower costs even for the most intricate parts and components.

  • Mold Base

The base of the mold is the case used for holding all the components, inserts and cavities of the mold.  The price of the mold base depends on the type of steel and the size of the mold.

At Performance Plastics, we know how important it is to make the correct decisions when designing a mold.  We have a team of process experts who work with our clients to design and assist in the mold process. We focus on the total cost of ownership of a mold, production capacity, longevity, functionality, as well as initial capital expense.

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

Navigating supply chain issues in this economic environment where there are rampant material shortages is an ongoing challenge. But many commonly used engineered resins may serve well as replacements for your application. Performance Plastics are experts in material selection and can assist your organization in choosing the best material based on the functionality of your part.

PEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone), PAEK (Polyaryletherketongs) and PEI (Polyetherimide) are high performing engineering thermoplastics that offer a unique combination of thermal stability, chemical resistance, and excellent mechanical properties.

PEEK is extremely tough and has very high impact strength.  Due to the crystalline nature of the material, a high degree of mechanical properties is retained close to their melting temperature.  The also have a low creep and good wear properties.  It is also known for excellent chemical resistant during hydrolysis. PEEK is actively used in metal to plastic replacement applications.

PAEK is a high thermal stability material that offers high strength and high resistance to oxidation. It offers better solvent resistance and is more amorphous based on its semi-crystalline structure.  This makes it an excellent choice for medical components, sea equipment and valve components.

PEI is a high-performance engineering plastic that offers outstanding thermal, mechanical and chemical properties.  It is often the best choice where high mechanical strength is needed in conjunction with high temperature, corrosion and wear resistance. This makes PEI an excellent alternative for applications requiring tight tolerances and low warp such as medical devices, scientific equipment parts and semiconductor equipment components.

Performance Plastics are specialists in high performance plastics engineering for many industries including medical, defense and industrial applications. We partner with our customers to offer solutions to some of the most challenging applications.  For more information, please contact Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at 513.321.8404 or email rreed@performanceplastics.com.

 
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.