What is plastic fabrication?

Plastic Fabrication
This is an intimidating subject. The scope of the topic is large, and the science is shifting to define the development of new materials. Nevertheless, we can condense plastic fabrication into a few paragraphs by touching on key areas of the discipline. First of all, manufacturing science supplies fabrication companies with focused groups of synthetics. In the case of a company with a vested interest in engineering plastic, the sourced manufacturing plastics are manipulated to imbue complex polymer chains with hardy properties. The characteristics tagged onto each of these materials offer a kaleidoscopic combination of durability and functionality, with each one promoting properties that target tough industrial environments.

Clients are well familiar with these toxic situations. Moving parts are in constant contact with raw materials, creating a constant force of abrasion. There’s heat and cold, chemical toxicity and load stresses, meaning we can dispense with further accounts of the outside forces that define the material characteristics of the plastic. Instead, let’s put a spotlight of discovery on the fabrication process. Once that properly graded plastic has been selected by the engineer and any prototyping work has been completed, its’ past time that the product began to be manufactured. This entails the cutting, welding, extrusion, and machining of the part. Alternatively, a moulding methodology is applied. It’s no coincidence that many of these working practices adopt a systemic course of action that closely aligns with metal and wood, except plastics are far more adept when it comes to altering their properties. Nonetheless, plastic fabrication shares key machine tool profiles, including:

  • CAD design applications
  • Subtractive CNC machining (3-axis milling and turning)
  • Edge polishing for the perfect surface finish
  • Welding (Plastic welding)

The clarification of the plastic fabrication model does, of course, see a divergence between polymers and metal. Firstly, machine tools use the same axial movements to manipulate raw products but the tool edge is adapted to match the malleability of plastic, the material tolerances that make plastic such a desirable replacement when compared with other, older substitutes.

The fabrication of engineering-grade plastic calls upon immense resources, skill, and a full factory floor of machines to cut, shape and otherwise manufacture 2-D and 3-D plastic parts. We could list those plastics at this point, the near unlimited lines of Nylon, Polyurethane, Polycarbonate, and other multi-syllable polymer solutions commonly found in industry, but we choose instead to relate the craft that’s involved in fabricating each material into a marketable component. Imagine a high-end engineering plastics facility and the daily graft it takes to select materials and infuse those materials with unique geometrical profiles. Business-focused to ensure this activity is sublimely repeatable, 24/7, Industrial Plastics Solutions excels in this field.

Engraved Trophies

Engraved Trophies
Engraved Trophies made from hard plastics make for the finest displays of courage and individual prowess. Unlike contemporary materials, there’s no need to worry over loss of sheen, physical damage, or an unwanted layer of tarnish, for plastic carries none of the disadvantages of soft metal. Instead, just like precious gems and gold, a tough acrylic will act as a metaphor for the enduring spirit of competition by maintaining a polished look that never ages. Instead, just apply an occasional damp cloth to the surface of the plastic, and wipe away fine coats of household dust. This principle, the selection of polished plastic instead of expensive silver or gold, is descended from the provision of clear plastic as seen in store windows and costume jewellery. In short, adopt a hard plastic trophy and you’re bestowed with a tough form that holds the attractive characteristics of cut glass or elegant crystal.

We leverage this untapped sector of societal living, the award of citations and trophies, at Industrial Plastics Solutions. Gifting the accomplishments of individuals, teams, and even corporations with the recognition they deserve, we use specialized plastics fabrication services to mould unique awards and engrave messages that will act as a reminder of a special occasion, a win at a sporting event, perhaps, or an award for a business of the year. Acrylic is the material of choice because it never ages or shows signs of wear. Additionally, the material is easy to mould into any shape and can have internal features incorporated within the basic structure. Imagine a coloured logo or a customized design being awarded to a teen as he or she receives applause on accomplishing a tough task. The engraved trophy will catch the light of the occasion and deliver a cool, crystalline form that won’t easily be forgotten.

The identical service is used to foster relations within a corporation, taking on the role of a stylized accolade that will stand the test of time. The advantage of acrylic here is found in repeatability, in storing the award within our Melbourne-based facility so that an identical updated edition can be formed to serve subsequent years. This idea would satisfy a corporate environment where 5, 10, and 25 year awards are issued.

The impact of a tough plastic award and its artistically added engraving is tough to beat. Even expensive alloys, wood, marble, and ever-lasting gold play second fiddle to hard plastics in general and acrylic in particular due to the versatility of the process. Affordable and easy to repeat, the plastics solution in Melbourne and Victoria can add coloured logos, an immense selection of crystalline shapes, and an enviable set of characteristics that fend off the aging process.

Machined Plastic Bushes in Melbourne

Machined Plastic Bushes
A local plastics machining solution delivers the goods in prosperous Victoria, placing high-quality plastic bushes in the hands of industry-savvy Melbourne clients. The bushes incorporate characteristics that exemplify cost-effective attributes, making the products a natural substitute when compared against traditional metal bearings. The obvious advantage, one anyone can recognize, is the tendency for metal to succumb to corrosion. Simply put, this action can’t be afforded in an industrial setting, not when moving parts are carrying out important tasks 24 hours a day. A flake of oxidized metal is more than enough to corrupt the centrifugal motion of a critical pump.

Rust is the obvious property that comes to mind when manufacturing the moving parts that fit within tough assemblies but there are other factors to consider. Metal forging is an expensive process. Consequently, metal parts cost more than their plastic replacements, making nylon and other tailor-made polymers attractive solutions. The plastics route is also superior in other manners, especially when it comes to maintenance, the need for constant lubrication. That last statement creates a pleasant segue toward our next featured look at engineering plastic solutions. We’re referring to lubricated plastics, the introduction of oil-filled products that completely eliminate heat-related incidents by distributing a lubricating fluid within the matrix of a chosen polymer. Of this class of bush and bearing, NylOil is a popular solution to load-bearing and moving part applications, as is LFX and Oil-on.

At this point we’ve illustrated CNC machined plastic bushes as elegant and functional alternatives to metal bearings. Next, consider the proliferation of the plastic bush when promoting the booming food industry around and within Melbourne. Industry experts see the profits of farmers markets and high-capacity farms curving upward throughout Victoria, with Melbourne acting as a central hub. Machined plastic bushes, sheaves, spacers and sleeves are key components in this growth cycle. The parts find their ways into demanding food processing plants, saving energy by replacing heavier brass components. Additionally, the abrasion-resistance features of nylon and other members of this polymer family again eliminates maintenance, which in turn slices productivity-killing down time in half.

The machined plastic bush has evolved over the last decade to deliver new and improved characteristics. Lighter than ever, the bushes absorb up to 20 percent less water. Meanwhile, advanced friction reduction properties are the norm among all industrial plastics used in bushes and bearings, equaling a near maintenance-free operational model. The last attribute to be given voice today is the chemical resistance of Nylon-6 and other materials in this class. This feature lends credence to an engineers choice when selecting these materials for use in the chemical processing industry, but be sure to talk to your polymer experts when choosing from a sea of possible bush options, choices that include everything from cast nylon to Teflon.


Acrylic Display Solutions for Shops

acrylic display solutions
Material design principles are products of the human mind. As such, modern industrial-grade plastics cultivate a dual philosophy, one that discriminates between utilitarian functionality and aesthetic-focused appearance. Imagine a behind the curtain metaphor, the image of hidden machinery on a factory floor. Functionality is the only priority in fabricating these components, The designs covet strength and versatility, chemical resistance and exacting manufacturing standards that ensure one component mates to the next. Meanwhile, snap on the flood lights to see the products that love to be adored in front of the curtain. Car bodies and apparel are two fine examples of this motif, as are the acrylic displays used to engage strolling customers in a shop.

Finely wrought acrylic plastic, also known as acrylic glass, possesses a slanted bias, one that targets the mall shopper whose attention span hangs somewhere around the 5 second mark. The material is based on acrylic acid, a polymer known by the technical term, poly(methyl) methacrylate. PMMA,to use the abbreviated slang, is blessed with several characteristics that make the substance perfect for the display market. First of all, sheets of acrylic are smooth and glossy, and the beauty goes beyond skin deep, passing all the way down to the strong molecular bonds that make acrylic a solid option for supporting weighty products. Let’s not gloss over another key aspect of this display-focused plastic, the unique property of the polymer to pass ninety-two percent of the visual light spectrum, a technical tag that translates to almost perfect translucency.

As see-through as glass and as strong as industrial plastic, acrylic displays make excellent display stands, reinforced supports that frame the merchandiser’s product without stealing attention. Instead, the acrylic stand fades into the background, acting as a subliminal aid in promoting jewellery or clothing and pretty much everything in-between. Of course, if the shop owner wants to hold fast to a thematic colour, acrylic displays are easy to inject with any hue, but most store cabinets stick with transparency as a rule, thus presenting stored items in the best light. Why not stay true to glass cabinetry? Well, glass will always have its place, but acrylic is safer to install in a crowded environment, a shop, and it’s shatter-resistant, another big plus in a merchandising environment.

As strong as or stronger than comparative panes of glass, acrylic sheets are cheap to mass produce via a pressure-rolling process. The transparent material is used in retail display cabinets, signage, and POS displays, positioning the plastic as the king of the thermoplastic heap when it comes to exhibiting shop wares. Buy into the extruded acrylic phenomenon or take a step further by investigating cell cast acrylic, an industrial solution used in aquariums and bullet-proof glass.


*Acrylic Display Solutions  Made easy*

The Applications and Characteristics of HDPE


The advent of the high-density plastics era shook the twentieth-century, placing the viability of metal and wood on probation for the foreseeable future. It’s not that metal and glass and even wood aren’t still valuable commodities, but high-density plastic has several key advantages when it comes to versatility. To illustrate our point, steel alloys support the heaviest bridges and aluminium sheets provide lightweight assemblies that excel in the aeronautics industry, but high-density plastic can be tailored to serve many purposes, requiring only the restructuring of a few hydrocarbon chains to accomplish this enviable feat.

Dismantling the PE Coding Scale

Just as carbon steel and steel alloys of every description can be classed by their properties and assigned a four digit grading hierarchy, the density of the structure of a polyethylene molecule can be similarly indexed and classified. A PE prefix accompanies two digits to indicate the strength of the polymer, demonstrating the rugged qualities of the high-density plastic. For example, PE80 and PE100 are both commonly manufactured variants of polyethylene. The dual states of the plastic on show here are purpose-manufactured to possess a super-dense composition that makes the material ideal for use in water pipes, meaning both of these variants are well-known and consistently in use across the plumbing industry.

The Mechanical Properties of HDPE

The aforementioned classification standard applied to high-density polyethylene begins at 0.941g/cm3, suggesting the material is inflexible, but tensile strength and elasticity partner most efficiently within the polymer, leading to applications that go beyond pipes. Imagine giving this boring tubular form the shove, opting instead for 96″ x 240″ sheets of the abrasion-resistant plastic. The material is like raw clay, at least metaphorically, providing a blank slate that’s processed within monolithic extrusion machinery, a line of heavy-duty factory tools that take advantage of the thermoplastic’s ductile characteristics. The dense sheets are melted and shaped, cut and fusion-welded, resulting in the desired form and the characteristics that make HDPE popular within every industry.

The Ultimate in Versatile Plastics

New polymers and alloys are introduced all the time, but none of these innovative materials has penetrated every sector of industry and domestic life in the way that polyethylene has. The high-density derivation of the material, HDPE, offers a high coefficient of thermal expansion, an end to the corrosive hang-ups that eat away at costly alloys, and a low modulus of elasticity that can be manipulated to withstand impressive pressures. These characteristics make HDPE the perfect solution when looking for piping that can carry pressurized and heated fluids, but a quick review of the PE grading guide sends us down other avenues of polymer production and application. The domesticity of trash bags and water bottles compete with solutions designed for heavy industry, the HDPE resins that line mining bins and the rugged products that won’t succumb to crack propagation.

Plastic Welding Services in Melbourne


Taking advantage of the properties of a material is a key principle of engineering, a rule of industrial design that’s elegantly demonstrated in the field of industrial plastics fabrication by the exploitation of the softening and melting of thermoplastics. This polymer is well known for its recycling properties, meaning a thermoplastic can melt and solidify multiple times, a trait that lends itself naturally to welding.

Far from the process where an electrical arc is generated to bond metal together, the plastic equivalent uses numerous techniques to orient parts and initiate a carefully monitored mechanism where molecular bonds separate, become diffuse, and realign in new configurations, thus joining two parts together in a weld. Of the established operational models used in the welding of plastic components, the following are most recognized, but there are other, more specialized techniques under review.

  • Hot-plate plastic welding
  • Extrusion welding
  • Ultrasonic
  • Friction
  • High frequency welding
  • Hot gas plastic welding

The aim of all of these processes is generally the same, to break the simple molecular bond of a thermoplastic and create a strengthened bond between components. The above techniques are differentiated by how they incite this action, by the application of heat, vibration, or some other motive force. Also certain techniques, extrusion welding is one example, are best suited for welding thicker materials of at least 0.5-inches (12.5-mm).

When the two designated plastic materials are oriented, they’re pressed together. Using only enough pressure to initiate the bond, the pressure does not place undue stress on the shape of the plastic. Next, an energetic force, heat or one of the above vibrational techniques, causes the molecular bonds to break down. The dynamic movement of the molecules becomes diffuse at the source of the join, and the components cool until a strengthened weld is produced, one that contains superior strength. Of course, this fusion scenario is a touch more complex in a real life scenario. There may be several preheat stages to engage, the supply of a “weld rod” made from the same type of plastic that’s undergoing the weld process, and numerous variations that encompass wide form factors. We’re talking of shapes that vary from large bench-top assemblies that span an entire factory floor, quite likely in an ultrasonic or extrusion set-up, to handheld versions built to attend to fine details.

Plastic welding uses heat, low and high amplitude vibrations, or even lasers to produce fused plastic assemblies. Commonly made from thermoplastics due to the materials ability to cycle from soft to hard without damage or brittleness, the process is permanent, an optimal alternative to transient mechanical fasteners that can fail over time.

5 Reasons to Love Polycarbonate

When it comes to tough plastics, polycarbonate is the poster child that best exemplifies the term. There are few materials known to man with the properties of this near bullet-proof plastic. Indeed, polycarbonate is used as one of the protective layers in bullet proof glass, a military-style endorsement if one was needed. The substance is lightweight and found in every industry. It’s almost impossible to root through belongings and furnishings without finding a product made from polycarbonate. Here’s a clue to finding a possession manufactured from the strengthened material: look for any item that’s delicate but built to last. A CD or DVD is a prime example of this design, a belonging that’s incredibly delicate, yet nearly indestructible due to a polycarbonate coating. Here are 5 reasons to fall in love with the material.

1. High Strength Application – Developed in the 1950’s, polycarbonate has incredible properties, but scientists quickly realized the toughness of the polymer and pushed products made from the substance into service as bullet resistant glass. The 1980’s saw the introduction of the CD, a format that immediately benefited from a tough polycarbonate coating.

2. Transparency – Light penetrates polycarbonate easily, a fact that supports the application of the material for the above mentioned examples of glass and CDs. Additionally, the delicate glass used in eyewear benefits from the application of a layer of the polymer, although we should mention that polycarbonate is susceptible to the occasional scratch. That’s an issue that’s more than offset by the materials ability to deform without causing distortion.

3. Superior Electrical Insulator – This is a feature that’s penetrated deep into the electronics industry, a domain that sees more than its fair share of heat and electrical discharge. Polycarbonate insulators isolate conductors passively and act as dynamic dielectrics within capacitors.

4. Energy Conservation – Raising heat preservation from the domain of micro-circuitry to macro applications, polycarbonate is lightweight, cheaper than glass, and better at keeping in heat than comparable materials. Additionally, as a plastic, polycarbonate panels are easier to mould and curve than glass

5. Polycarbonate Sheeting in Industry – Combine all of the above properties to gain a material that’s ideal for light industry and the home. Polycarbonate sheets are currently used as shatter-proof replacements for standard glass panels used in sun rooms and solariums, greenhouses and skylights.

This list could go on to include the longevity of the material and the ability of polycarbonate lenses to curve light due to a higher index of refraction, but we think it’s enough to say that the advantages of the polymer are substantial. Transparency and durability spell out a number of applications that target the eyewear sector and armoured glass products for military usage and general security.

CNC Machining Plastics Trump Moulded Plastics

It’s the 21st century, and there are more choices available than ever before to our industrial clients. In the case of plastic, this means being able to offer precisely customized manufacturing processes with an output material that can satisfy any list of parameters. Features present no obstacle and goals are attainable with an attached timeline that highlights expert productivity, but there are still measurable ingredients that set plastics manufacturers apart. One of those factors relates to procedural performance, the utilization of machinery associated with a task. As a case study, try comparing the injection moulding of plastic against a machined plastic environment. Machined plastic doesn’t compete with the paint-by-numbers process that is injection moulding, and it doesn’t attempt to, not when the process is built to match an alternative fabrication goal, that of creating super-precise prototypes and quickly changing the configuration of the machinery to run out a second or third generation of the prototype.

We’re perhaps being ingenuous regarding the capabilities of injection moulding. The method has many merits, not leastwise the ability to create a part with repeatability, thus designating the machinery as being ideal for bulk orders. Still, the addition of a CNC machining station within such a facility, or even a satellite department in another location, adds dimension to the work cycle. Instead of mindlessly baking and making parts, the company has the wherewithal to adapt the part, to model it as a prototype on a computer simulation program and continue this process until the part is finalized. At this point, the part moves onward to the bulk stage, that of injection moulding.

Subtractive CNC prototyping includes the following benefits
• Subtractive process uses single blocks of plastic
• Bypasses issues such as feed defects and fluid freezes
• No expensive mould to construct
• Adaptable by altering tool paths
• Faster turnaround time for greater productivity, especially in smaller projects

These two techniques are both well-defined factory options, and they’re not in competition with each other. They both have their place. As one would suspect, CNC tooling creates far more precise parts, components that meet or exceed dimensional constraints, but this model of operation isn’t geared toward mass production. On the other hand, material provision for an injection moulding operation is an all-in-one technique, a series of stages that goes from the introduction of resins and melted plastics to the pressurized introduction of the material into a mould. There are many variable to be aware of in the technique, but once all wrinkles have been worked out, the machinery can run for days-on-end. In the long run, choose CNC machining for unequalled production of limited runs and superior design versatility.

A Look at Engineering Plastics and their Applications


A compact introduction to the properties that define all high-performance engineering plastics is a difficult prospect to undertake, especially when we acknowledge the sheer scale of polymer fabrication that’s penetrated into every industry over the last half century or more. Manufacturing plastics, synthetic materials designed to be rugged in application and versatile to manipulate, have surpassed expectations on every front, entering high-performance areas of application where carbon-strengthened steel was once the only option. Now, instead of a metal that exhibits a handful of positive characteristics, engineers have access to tailor-made polymers with countless features.

One way to simplify any task is to take the divide and conquer approach, to split a task into manageable chunks and define each one with plenty of details. Let’s try this method with our study of engineering plastic. This series of polymers diverges from commodity plastics. They’re defined by chemical complexities and tolerance parameters that translate into real world engineering properties that work best in scenarios where mechanical stresses and high-energy forces are apparent. For example, a polycarbonate fabrication cycle incorporates durability factors and temperature constraints. It would be atypical to use this specially formulated material as a simple plastic bag or a storage medium. Indeed, engineering plastics lean heavily toward functionality in their manufacturing dynamic, toward industrial-grade hallmarks demonstrated by elasticity, rigged construction, electrical conductivity, glass-transition temperature, and a host of other factors that can only be properly interpreted by polymer engineers.

Engineering plastic properties at a glance

  • Thermal and mechanical characteristics
  • Chemical resistance
  • Moisture retention
  • Versatility through additive injection

This is by no means a complete listing but rather a sampling of the characteristics held within the complex molecular structure of this highly functional group of polymers. Typically manufactured from thermoplastics, a ductile and mouldable plastic that melts when heated, popular forms include ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), Polyamide, Polyimide, Polycarbonate, and a range of fluorine-based polymers that include Teflon. Again, this selection is incomplete, but it does represent a respectable section of the market. On top of the individual classes of plastics designed for engineering purposes, each substance possesses modifiers that can be regulated by the injection of an additive during the manufacturing process, a feature that makes plastic far more adaptable and affordable than a comparable metal-based facility that requires foundry equipment and huge amounts of heat to run.

Due to their purpose-formed design ethic, engineering plastics are manufactured to act as abrasion-resistant components and chemically immune parts, as gears and pipes integrated within heavy machinery. They’re also consistently found in aeronautical parts due to their lightweight nature. Automotive designs are also the domain of numerous engineering plastics, with superior variants now entering heavily stressed territory such as the engine manifold.