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Are Super Engineered Plastics The Future of Manufacturing?

Futuristic concept car

With their enhanced thermal and mechanical properties, super engineered plastics are facing amplified global demand. As an alternative to existing plastic variants, super engineered plastics could revolutionise manufacturing, spearheading dynamic manufacturing in the coming decade.

The scale of impact super engineered plastics could potentially have, cannot be underestimated. This fact has been widely publicised over the last few years by leading authorities in the sector.

Market Research Future, a US-based company that specialises in conducting market research studies into products, services, technologies and applications in the chemicals and materials sector published a report at the start of 2018 which clearly outlined the strength that super engineered plastics position will have at the start of the next decade. It’s believed that by 2023, the sector is anticipated to demonstrate robust growth along with a positive compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

Research by Tohoku University

Just this month, research conducted by Tohoku University in Japan further endorsed super engineered plastics. Often considered to be the weakest link in the manufacturing process, the assertion has long been held that bolstering the ductile strength of traditional plastics must be addressed to optimise the manufacturing process. The advent of super engineered plastics will trigger a manufacturing revolution.

The research by scientists in demand designed a new manufacturing method to improve the corrosion resistance of machines which produce super engineered plastics. On August 27th, 2019 this research was published in npj Materials Degradation, a journal that publishes original papers, review articles and brief communications on the discoveries of basic applied scientific innovations.

The announcement that a solution to the problem of machine weaknesses in the manufacturing process was met with great enthusiasm. The wholesale adoption of super engineered plastics in the coming decade will signal a turning point in manufacturing and benefit a wealth of global sectors.

Super Engineered Plastics

As pliable and compliant as plastics are, the material is not necessarily renowned for its long-term strength and durability. Super engineered plastics solve this problem. The properties of super engineered plastics are as diverse as they are significant.

Impact resistance and mechanical strength, chemical stability and heat resistance makes them highly attractive to a wealth of global sectors. Properties that only enhance their global demand include their ability to be used effectively in high temperatures and stress conditions and that they have vast domestic and industrial sector uses.

Sectors that Will Benefit from Using Super Engineered Plastics

Renewed demand for super engineered plastics can be attributed to its properties. This seems obvious, but it’s hardly not a factor that should be taken for granted. Innovation drives efficiency – especially in the manufacturing sector.

Henry Ford installed first moving assembly line in 1913 which cut automobile assembly from more than 12 hours to two hours and thirty minutes. Leading online grocery supplier Ocado’s warehouse is staffed by robots who empty, stack and replace product pallets. Our need to optimise manufacturing processes is evident.

Automotive

The high strength and lightweight properties of super engineered plastics make them ideal for application in the automotive sector. The environmental and economic concerns around the automotive sector have propelled the creation of more fuel-efficient cars. Carbon fibre and super engineered plastics will have a substantial impact on the automotive sector in the coming decade.

Examples of super engineered plastics that are likely to become more and more prominent in the automotive sector in the coming years include the following:

Polyurethane – an elastomeric material with exceptional physical properties, including durability, flexibility and resistance.

Polypropylene – a thermoplastic polymer with vast applications. There’s also a saturated additional polymer made from the monomer propylene which is chemically resistant to solvents, bases, and acids.

Polycarbonate – amorphous polycarbonate offers a unique combination of stiffness and durability. Exhibiting excellent weathering, impact, optical and thermal properties, this plastic is ideal for car bumpers.

Aerospace

Since the early 1960s, the development of high-performance plastics has been driven by the corresponding needs of the aerospace and nuclear industries. Synthetic options, including PPS, PES, and PSU were developed by Phillips, ICI, and Union Carbide.

The increasing demand for lightweight applications has, and continues to, create a new role for thermoplastics. Today, civilian, commercial and military aircraft all feature plastics such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and polyphenylene sulphide are being used in a wide array of applications.

Polythermide also has a wealth of applications within the aerospace sector. Why? The material allows engineers to produce parts that obide strict smoke, flame and toxicity regulations.

Super engineered plastics give the aerospace industry the opportunity to realise flight ambitions. As we move into the future, there’s little doubt that the industry will continue to rely on its attributes when developing new aerospace innovations.

Electronics

The electronics market too will, undoubtedly, benefit from the application of super engineered plastics. The sheer volume of electronics appliances combined with our insatiable lust for technology is set to drive the increasing need for improved products in the next decade.

Supplemented by its development in end-use industries the value of the engineering plastics market has increased as engineered plastics are used by moulding the end-product. Moreover, fluctuations in the cost of crude oil and the challenges of CO2 emissions will dictate the growth of the global electronics plastics market.

What cannot be dispelled is the fact that plastics are a great alternative to metal. Lighter and with superior malleability and durability, it seems clear the electronics sector will greatly benefit from super engineered plastics in the coming decade.

It seems apparent that super engineered plastics will be the future of manufacturing. With a wealth of applications – and their superior properties – super engineered plastics look set to revolutionise the manufacturing sector.