Industrial polymers are very versatile – offering solutions for many applications. This includes obvious investments such as mold creation, but also as adhesives, primers, and sealants, among many others. Various types of polymers are available and, depending on the qualities of each, they can offer versatile solutions. If you are considering the various ways polymers can function in your industrial setting, consider the key advantages they can offer.
#1: They Save You Money
One of the key advantages of industrial polymers for any operation is the cost-savings they nearly always provide. From polymer adhesive to metal replacements, there are dozens of ways this solution saves you money.
Here’s an example. Your application requires a metallic material to get a custom-machined component for a project manufactured. What you may not realize, though, is that a plastic material, made for that component, is going to be a fraction of the cost. More cost-effective alternatives are available for many applications like this.
Most of the time, machined polymer components are likely to be more affordable – without much difference in functionality – than metal-based components. There are several reasons for this. For example, they weigh much less than metal-based materials. That means moving them from one location to the next is less expensive (and easier) to do. Second, they lower the wear rates on your equipment. There is less friction, less overall wear and tear, and lower risk of damage to other components with plastic or composite materials.
#2: Insulating Properties of Polymers
Another of the key benefits of polymers is their insulating properties. In some applications, metal components must be coated with some type of substance in order to create any level of insulating quality to them. This is a secondary process that adds time, money, and adds more material to the final product.
With the use of polymers, on the other hand, there’s no need to do this. As a direct alternative to metals, in this case, polymers already have insulating qualities built-in. There is no secondary process involved. That reduces costs in yet another way. By reducing additional treatments, it is also possible to speed up the production of the product.
There are a few additional benefits here. For example, both composite and plastic polymers have a natural level of corrosion protection. That means that, unlike metal components, there is no additional sheathing necessary when there is a risk of corrosion. Metal needs to go through additional layers of protection to minimize this type of corrosion risk.
Further, if you want to color or imprint an image on the surface, you can do that in the original process. With metal, a secondary finish must be added to the materials to add any type of details like this. With polymers, there is no added expense in the process.
#3: Polymers Are More Chemical Resistant
For many applications, chemical resistance is perhaps one of the most important benefits of polymers. Polymers can be made to be highly chemical resistant, in fact. Metals, on the other hand, lack in this way most of the time. Even some very common chemicals can cause damage to metals, creating a significant vulnerability. Chemical resistance, along with the risk for corrosion, can make metals a bit more difficult to manage overall when these are constant factors in the way the material will be used.
How do you solve this? With metals, it is possible to add secondary coatings or add a finish to the material to help block out the damage caused by chemicals. But, as noted earlier, that adds to the cost and can instantly create more overall steps to the process. That’s limiting and unnecessary.
By contrast, there’s no need to do this with polymers. They can be designed to create the right type of surface from the start, including those that are highly protected from damage from chemicals they come into contact with, and that ends up solving most problems. Even the harshest of chemicals may no longer cause damage to these polymers.
#4: Create Anything with Molds
One of the most recognizable benefits of polymers in an industrial aspect is that you can form it into just about any shape and design. This is due to the flexibility polymers offer with molds. This creates numerous engineering possibilities for industrial applications. A flexible mold of rubber can be made to cast virtually anything. More so, this can be done rapidly, even in a matter of minutes, providing a very versatile method for replicating as well as testing products.
Rubber molds create opportunities for cost savings over the use of metal cutting. It takes less time, but it is also far more affordable. Once a list of attributes is created for the product, it can then be built into a mold, extruded, and then cast over and over again without limitation.
#5: The Only Solution
There are some situations where polymers become highly accessible and beneficial simply because there is no other option. For example, polymers can do things most other products cannot – they can be made to be waterproof. They can be made to be clear. They can be anything from a polymer adhesive to PVC catheters used in the injection of medications like heparin which require a very specific application.
There are many examples of how polymers can be used to create solutions when no other material is doing this. Consider, again, the use of medications. The plastic bags that hold medications being moved into IVs cannot be made with any other product out there. Yet, polymers can be designed to meet the specific needs desired here.
There is no doubt polymers are highly versatile and flexible. In an industrial application, they can offer a clear advantage to outcomes, reduce costs, and even solve problems when no other product or solution can. In many ways, this makes polymers highly effective and exceptional overall. For many businesses, they are ideal.
Whether you need a polymer adhesive or something far more versatile, turn to Polymer Chemistry Innovations, Inc. We can help you create industrial solutions.