Machined plastic parts and components are widely used in many industrial and automotive applications. With a wide variety of plastic materials available today, together with advanced CNC machining technologies, a part can be fabricated to satisfy almost any application. Given the range of materials available, as well as different production techniques, these factors, together with part design, can all affect final part cost. In this blog, we look at some of the factors affecting costs and how they may be controlled to influence final part pricing.
Machined plastic parts: factors affecting costs and pricing
Plastic materials do vary in types, grades, properties, characteristics, and costs. When sourcing machined plastic parts, careful consideration should be given to material selection. The material used to produce a part should be selected carefully to ensure that it fully supports the application requirements, especially over the long term as different plastic materials have varying dimensional stabilities and other properties that can change over time. In-service part failure can occur when the material selected is not compatible with the forces and stresses encountered within an application, as well as any fluids or chemicals with which the part may come into contact.
Food-grade materials generally entail a higher cost than standard plastics. These materials are made from resins and ingredients that have been approved by the FDA or other regulatory bodies.
Because there may be several different materials available that could service an application, choosing the best one will involve considering the tradeoffs between material costs, characteristics, and properties.
The degree of part finishing required can affect final part cost as better finishes may require more machine time to produce. Machined plastic parts with standard tolerances usually have surface finishes in the range of 30-40 micro inches, while close-toleranced or polished parts may have finishes in the range of 10-20 micro inches. It is important to note that different plastic materials may have varying abilities to support the degree of finishing required.
Machined plastic parts made from clear plastic materials such as Acrylic or Polycarbonate often require polishing to achieve maximum transparency. Choosing these materials can entail an additional step in the finishing process, requiring further machine time, and therefore more cost.
Plastic materials vary in their ability to achieve and hold dimensional tolerances – dimensional tolerancing is very much configuration and material dependent. Therefore, the choice of a material to produce a particular part may be constrained by the ability of a given material to hold the necessary tolerances. This, in turn, can affect pricing.
CRG is a full-service provider of machined plastic parts to the industrial and automotive markets. To produce parts, we employ the latest CNC machining technology and all parts are produced in our ISO 9001:2015-registered facility. Our experienced team reviews each customer’s application, while providing the guidance needed to ensure that the best material is chosen for each job. We offer industry-leading responsiveness and fast order turn-around, supporting our customers through all stages of the buying process.
If you are seeking machined plastic parts, CRG will be pleased to review and discuss your needs. To find out more about our services, please contact our sales department at email@example.com.