PLASteps for successful plastic production
Ensure expertise in plastic technology
The frequent requirement that expertise in plastic technology should be incorporated into the design process from the very start of the project is absolutely valid. This ensures that the limitations posed by the various materials, mould technology and the injection moulding process itself are taken into account and the possibilities of plastic are better utilised.
Involve a competent head designer
Appoint a person who can create solutions and discuss things with experts in your supply chain to be in charge of the project. Even a good project manager cannot replace a head designer. Someone has to look at the big picture and comprehend it.
Build a network of partners
The physical size, materials and production quantities of plastic components may vary greatly. Some products require fast response times while for some the focus is on post-processing or assembly. A suitable supplier can meet your needs in a way that ensures an affordable overall package and general satisfaction. Long-term partnership is an easier way to reach this goal than arranging competitive bidding processes for every little thing. This also ensures that the supplier’s expertise is always at your disposal.
Do not distance yourself from practical work
Rendering, 3D models and simulations are excellent tools but nothing can replace a concrete object. The model does not always have to be perfect – sometimes a few blocks of wood and a screw are more than enough to get the point across. There can rarely be too many prototypes, so do not skimp in this area.
Well-thought-out steps towards production
If all parts of a product fit together perfectly right after the test run, you are treading risky ground. You should always leave room for easy adjustment. In addition to this, the injection moulding process is never free of variation. Know the process variance and how this affects the functioning of your product. Never rely on luck. Agree upon the measurement methods and quality criteria with the person in charge of production.
New materials and technical solutions are in order if they enable cost savings or product improvements. If this is not the case, the better option is to stick with the tried and tested raw materials and mechanical solutions. It is a good idea to keep technological development and product development separate.