Plastic Part Machining

Plastic is one of the most prevalent materials used in manufacturing due to its versatility, low cost, and durability. Some of the most common industries that rely on plastic machining are construction, medical, building, automation, and more. At Advanced Industrial, we specialize in producing high-quality plastic machined parts that can achieve the tightest tolerances suitable for even the most demanding industry standards.

What Is Plastic Part Machining?

Plastic part machining is a subtractive method whereby an end product is shaped and formed through the elimination of material layers. CNC machining is a rapidly growing technique that allows for greater precision and tighter tolerances in the finished product. There is a range of plastic machining methods, but the three most common techniques are as follows:

Drilling: Performed on both drills and lathes, drilling is the process of creating bores in a piece of material that is affixed to a surface by rotating the tool through the workpiece.

Milling: Milling consists of a cutting tool attached to a spindle that is raised and lowered into material attached to a sliding table. As the table moves, the cutting tool creates complex shapes.

Turning: In this machining process, a cutting tool is usually applied parallel to a working piece that is rotated continuously until the desired shape is achieved.

Plastic Part Machining Applications

Plastic machining is considered one of the best options in producing industrial parts and products. Plastic machined parts are applicable in the following industries:

  • Automation: Plastic parts are preferred in different automation applications because they are lightweight and offer high friction resistance.
  • Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Devices: Machined plastics are often used in medical devices because these materials can withstand exposure to sanitation processes. Machining is capable of producing precise, intricate parts required in these devices. 
  • Chemical Handling Equipment: Plastics are preferred in chemical handling equipment because plastics are inherently chemical-resistant.
  • Food Handling Components: Machined plastic parts are preferred in food handling components such as assembly line parts because they are stain-, chemical-, and wear-resistant, increasing hygiene and shelf life.
  • Laboratory and Scientific Equipment: Unlike metals, machine plastics aren’t prone to corrosion which can interfere with laboratory equipment.
  • Microelectronics: Industries dealing with microelectronics use machined parts due to their heat-resistant qualities.
  • Photonics: As manufacturing processes increase their optical capacity, demand for machined plastic parts also increases due to their optical properties. 
  • Semiconductor Components/Electronics: Plastic machined parts are applicable in the electronics and semiconductor processes and components such as wafer handling applications, CMP rings, wet process components, and more.
  • Building and Construction: Plastic has insulation properties, reduces sound pollution levels, and is lighter than metal, making it a preferred material in construction.
  • Transportation: Since plastic machined parts are moisture-resistant, they are used in various transportation areas, such as in light diffusers, interior wall panels, headliners, partitions, and more.
  • Aerospace/Military: The aerospace industry is opting for machine plastic parts as a weight reduction strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel efficiency. Plastics serve as a more economical construction material over certain metals.
  • Telecommunications: With the increased competition in the telecommunications sector, specialty plastics deliver faster, more reliable networks. This is because these plastics are highly resistant to corrosion and heat.
  • Agriculture: Specialty plastics are used in various components in agriculture, such as greenhouse covers, wear pads, pipes, tubing, sheaves, gears, and more. Using machined plastic parts helps to minimize costly breakdowns and reduce fuel costs.
  • Waste Treatment: Due to lower friction and superior wear surfaces on plastic machined parts, water treatment industries use them in sprockets, valves, rollers, drainage units, wear pads, catch basins, and connectors. 
  • Oil and Gas: Plastic machined parts are ideal in the oil and gas industries because their advanced properties help to increase reliability, minimize risks, and comply with industry standards.

Benefits of Plastic Part Machining

Plastic machined parts offer many advantages across a range of applications and industries. Some of the most obvious advantages include:

  • Low Up-Front Costs: Plastics are much cheaper to produce and ship than metals. They are easy to maintain and repair, avoiding costly downtime.
  • Time Efficiency: The machining process is quick, and it produces precise parts, reducing the amount of secondary processing required to correct product defects
  • Reduced Material Waste: Because machining results in fewer mistakes, less material is wasted due to product defects.
  • Easy Prototyping: Plastic machined parts are the best option to prototype quickly because molds are not required. Cycle times are shorter, making turnaround times faster.
  • Tight Tolerances: CNC machining can achieve extremely tight tolerances that molding is not capable of attaining.
  • Durability: Plastic is durable despite being lightweight and thin because it’s an excellent thermal insulator. Plastic offers higher functionality at lower weights than metals.
  • Chemical Resistance: Plastics are chemical resistant, preventing them from producing hazardous chemical reactions. Therefore, plastics can last longer under tough conditions because they aren’t prone to chemical damages.
  • Quality control: Machining gives you greater control over quality control throughout the production process while reducing handling charges and paperwork by performing production in-house.

Precision Machined Plastics at Advanced Industrial

Advanced Industrial is a leading manufacturer of quality machined plastic parts for a variety of industries such as agriculture, automation, and food handling components. We specialize in custom plastic spur gear, aesthetically appealing parts, wear components, plastic tubes, rods, sheets, and plates. Contact us today to learn more about our custom, high-performance plastics.

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Engineering and High-Performance Plastics Used for Machined Components

Our eBook breaks down six of the most commonly used high-performance plastics to aid in your material selection process.


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