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Tough. Durable. Reliable. Three words often applied to today’s military and public safety personnel also describe the gear they need in the field.
Light weighting for military applications has been a key focus for many defense contractors. Significant strides have been made in converting many components of armed forces gear from metal to plastic, reducing per-soldier equipment loads by as much as 50% while allowing service members to remain lithe, agile – and, above all, safe – when engaged in maneuvers or combat.
The diversity in consumer and industrial applications is vast, but offering a wide array of products that keep pace with – but don’t differentiate you from – the competition doesn’t necessarily translate to sustained success.
Managing the total cost of an Industrial or Consumer Products New Product Development (NPD) project lies in balancing the bottom line with needs.
When it comes to performance, industrial or complex consumer goods must outlive their anticipated lifetimes in order to accomplish two important goals: meeting customer expectations and mitigating warranty claims.
Central to new product development is the budget, and exploring economic efficiencies often leads to offshoring options. This is especially true when the new product development program (NPD) involves injection-molded plastic components for industrial/consumer applications, as overseas costs are particularly attractive compared to domestic production.
One of the main advantages of using injection-molded plastic components is versatility, both in the wide array of resins available for construction and in application. Addressing resin needs early in the design process is ideal, as is partnering with an experienced injection molder with resin-specific expertise.
As we discussed in a recent article, a number of industrial sectors are converting metal components to plastic to gain efficiencies in cost, weight, performance, aesthetics and durability. All of these reasons are convincing arguments for metal-to-plastic conversion; however, the process isn’t right for all industrial applications.
Metal-to-plastic conversion is a decades-old process, but not all manufacturers are taking full advantage of its benefits. There is general, common concern about strength, durability and cost; however, the reality is that injection-molded plastic components, when properly designed, are just as strong as metal. In addition, plastic can provide exceptional chemical- and heat-resistance while simultaneously slashing production costs.