Most people wouldn’t put plastic in the same category as steel, but they should! With all the talk about reducing and recycling plastic, it’s easy to forget that not all plastic is bad; in fact, using it in the right way offers great benefits for the planet.
The type of plastic usage that prompts negative headlines is the throwaway market; that’s the plastic bottles, cups, packaging, straws, all the things you see discarded everywhere you go. There are cost-effective solutions to such wastage and the sooner we start using them, the better.
The other side of the coin, however, is that replacing metal with plastic in some industries is offering many benefits and, in some cases, uses less raw materials and energy.
Giant strides have been made in plastic fabrication over the years, since the concept of replacing metals with resin was first trialled in the early 1950s. Research and development really ramped up in the late 1970s, when it was discovered that adding elongated glass fibres to plastic increased its strength enormously.
Soon after that, plastic fabrication services started uses other methods, such as thermoplastics, revolutionising many industries.
It makes perfect sense when you think about it; large metal components are made up of many smaller metal components, all requiring time, money, energy and raw materials. Isn’t it better to do the job in one go?
The automotive and aerospace industries quickly realised the benefits of swapping plastic for metal, in that it made vehicles and planes much lighter and, therefore, faster. Now plastics are replacing many other materials in construction.
Plastic Fabrication Services
Just recently, research in the UK found many benefits to be gained, including the ability to produce low cost housing. In fact, several organisations around the world are now creating Lego-style building components from recycled plastic to increase the availability of affordable housing. One such company was launched by Australian surfboard shaper, Nev Hyman, and now makes cheap cyclone-proof housing, classrooms and more for vulnerable countries.
Plastics are also resistant to corrosion, termites, mold, you name it, meaning houses made from plastic will last longer and require fewer repairs over time. Plastics can also be moulded and coloured and are very lightweight.
There are environmental benefits, too. The process uses less energy than constructing and erecting metal components. Just think of the impact on the environment from mining and smelting. Plastic fabrication is making good use of science to ensure these new methods are safe for everyone and everything.
Sturdy, versatile and pretty much unbreakable, plastic can be used as a substitute for wood, metal, and glass. Easy to produce and inexpensive compared to other materials, it is long-lasting and resilient to temperature, environmental conditions, moisture, chemicals, vibration, and impact.
Plastic Fabrication Company
Today’s plastic fabrication company is far more responsible than in the past; whether they are manufacturing houses or business signs, they understand the importance of reducing, recycling and re-using.
As plastic fabrication can be driven by computer software, there is increased accuracy which means less wastage. It also means designs can be stored for re-use down the line, saving businesses time and money.
It provides a far safer working environment for the technicians, too, as laser technology is clean, accurate and fast.
Of course, both metal and plastic fabrication require a range of methods to cut and shape components. Switching to plastic offers significant advantages over metal in the manufacturing process.
Faster and Cheaper
Plastic has a lower melting point and is highly malleable. This means it can be easily formed into a huge variety of complex shapes, thus reducing the need for machining. Plastic also offers greater chemical resistance compared to metals.
Overall, plastic fabrication services can produce results at a much faster rate and lower cost.
Today’s technology allows a plastic fabrication company to cut plastic to any size, using supplied measurements, drawings or templates. A huge range of plastic is available, from the lightweight – such as corflute and polycarbonate – to tough acrylic and Perspex. Methods used include heat forming and plastic welding, so the options are endless.
Custom plastic fabrication can be used to create just about everything from washers to specialised automotive components. It is also an important part of the electronics industry.
One of the most useful and popular materials used in plastic fabrication today is acrylic. Acrylic is a thermoplastic material; that means that when exposed to very high temperatures, it will soften significantly. This enables a plastic fabrication company to make it almost any shape desired. It will also withstand a broad range of temperatures, which is very useful in Australia.
One of the biggest advantages of acrylic is its impact resistance. It’s actually better than glass! This means it offers the perfect mix of useability, visual appeal and durability.
Used responsibly, plastics can help us shape a better future for humans, and for the planet.