Metal Replacement or Metal to Plastic Conversions using Engineered Thermoplastics are not new in the Plastics Industry. The advantages of Thermoplastics have been leveraged for a long time to save money, decrease weight and/or consolidate the number of parts required in an assembly. Hi-Tech’s history of replacing metal in structural applications is really what shaped the growth of the company over the last 10-15 years.
Hi-Tech has been using Carbon and Glass Filled materials to replace aluminum, magnesium and lay up composites for years. Early on, it was evident that some of the issues associated with carbon and glass filled materials would need to be addressed. Using traditional metal CNC machining techniques; but at a faster pace, these issues were overcome by Hi-Tech’s unique methods. Hi-Tech has found the solution through researching advanced tooling and designing custom part holding fixtures.
If the geometry of the component meant very challenging flow lengths for filled materials, Hi-Tech incorporates flow leaders that can be removed by a Secondary Operation. If the knit line strength of filled materials is a weak spot, Hi-Tech would mold the component without the feature and then machine it in later. Because filled materials will exhibit different shrinkage, achieving tight tolerances in certain areas is accomplished with additional machining.
This approach to metal replacement has led to two outcomes:
1 – Hi-Tech doesn’t break known mold design principals. Hi-Tech can use several means to get to the correct final component geometry. This saves time and money.
2 – Hi-Tech’s shop has evolved to a hybrid strategy that blends the benefits of Injection Molding with the capabilities of a precision machine shop.
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