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Frances Scharnhorst
By Frances Scharnhorst
Friday, June 14, 2013 - 12:22

Due to the high cost of molds, creating a prototype for your plastic parts can be expensive. To curb this cost, but still offer quick-turn prototypes, for the last year Elite Plastics has been utilizing a local 3D printing company as a prototype tool. This allows customers to test fit, form, and function without the high out-of-pocket cost associated with mold production. We are able to print parts with a relatively quick turn-over using either a plastic or a composite material.

The composite printing option is the less expensive of the two options. The nature of the material means that the part can be brittle, which makes it not a good part to test function with. The composite material is made using a powder and a binder, similar in concept to concrete. A resulting part would be a replica of the CAD file in both fit and form. Composite parts can also be printed to have colors on the top layers. This means that the part can be printed with a demonstration of secondary decorations (such as screen printing and pad printing) for location and color check.

The plastic printing option allows for the choice of 7 different materials (including PC, ABS, Ultem, and PPS). This means that the material can be chosen to incorporate function into the prototype phase. These parts can be used in an assembly and tested for anticipated physical and chemical applications. The different plastics can also be ordered in a variety of colors for aesthetics or to help identify the ways different parts connect in the assembly process.

Depending on the part and industry, prototyping is an important aspect of the manufacturing processes. Utilizing a 3D printer, allows EP to offer high quality and affordable prototypes to all of its customers.

Model developed via 3D Priinting from http://3dprintinginaec.blogspot.com/

Chris Passanante
By Chris Passanante
Monday, February 20, 2012 - 15:32

MD&M, Elite Plastics Booth, Elite Plastics, MD&M West, medical manufacturing, meLast week Elite had a strong presence at the MD&M West show in Anaheim CA.  Every year we participate and meet with both existing and new potential customers.  Traffic and participation were both up this year from last, thank you all for coming by our booth.

Attached is a photo of our new booth, obviously those who know us well get it..."we do much more than nameplates".

See you next year!

Greg Shulman
By Greg Shulman
Monday, November 28, 2011 - 16:42

The world of biomaterials is really still in its infancy within the plastics industry. Currently, most biopolymers on the market are intended to replace commodity grade plastics, such as polystyrene or polyethylene, though there are some materials which are being developed for engineering grade applications, as well. Additionally, there is a great deal of time and money being spent to further this market and increase the material selection currently available. However, for those who aren’t already familiar with the materials, some of the terminologies used to classify biopolymers can be somewhat ambiguous. Words like “bio-based” or “bio-degradable” might sound alike, but they do not necessarily mean the same thing. So, if you’re in the market for a green material solution for your injection molding project or even if you’re just a bit confused by an existing product’s marketing terminology, here are some quick definitions to help you navigate basic biopolymer properties:

Bio-degradable- This is the most commonly misinterpreted term. Biodegradable means that a material will break down into biologically useful components in natural environments, without pressure or high heats. This means that a biodegradable material will, theoretically, dissolve on the side of the road, on a forest floor, or at the bottom of a lake.

Compostable- This means that a material can be broken down in the presence of oxygen, heat, and pressure into components which will be biologically useful. Keep in mind that these materials can be produced with varying degrees of compostability—some materials might be able to break down in a consumer’s small compost pile at home, while others may need to be processed in an industrial composting facility using high heat and pressure in order to break down properly.

Bio-based- This means that the material was produced using renewable sources of plant matter (such as potato or corn starch), as opposed to petroleum products. Bio-based materials may or may not be biodegradable or compostable.

As the popularity of biomaterials increases, new and improved products will become available on the market offering properties comparable to current petroleum based engineering grade plastics.

 

By Greg Shulman
Thursday, November 3, 2011 - 15:28

Selecting which plastic material to use for your injection molding process can be a lot like deciding on a new car—you have to know what you need to use it for in order to make the right decision. You wouldn’t buy a sport car if you needed to haul gravel, would you? Just like with vehicles, plastic grades each have their own strengths and weaknesses. This is one of the things that I love about plastics—there is no “best” type of plastic. The best kind of polymer for any project is one that will perform accordingly with the part’s intended use in the most cost effective way.

For instance, polycarbonate is a very popular material. It is very tough, can be colored in all kinds of ways, and has a relatively high working temperature. However, being an amorphous plastic, it is not very resistant to chemical degradation. So if your part will see lots of cleaning with harsh chemicals, polycarbonate might not be the direction you should look in.

Likewise, you may have a part that needs high abrasion properties. In this case, nylon would be a great choice! However, nylon has a tendency to absorb water and lose its mechanical properties in the process. So if your part’s working environment is fairly wet, an acetal might be a better choice for your project.

It is essential, when selecting materials, to keep two things in mind—what you need a plastic to be able to do, and what environmental conditions your parts will encounter. The goal here is to use a material in an environment where it encounters some or all of its positives and none of its weaknesses. And hey, if you’re in need of a bit of help, that’s one of things that the engineering team here at Elite Plastics is for. We can help you figure out what will and won’t work and can even make suggestions for your projects. Ultimately, however, the choice is up to you. So what does your project need?

Cynthia Schulte
By Cynthia Schulte
Friday, September 9, 2011 - 10:55

Laser etched touch panel Laser etching is a great approach to marking a variety of materials that would otherwise be difficult, if not impossible, to mark mechanically. Laser etching is ideal for near finished products needing identification, barcode, serializing, text or image backlighting or intricate decorative work.

The picture provides a perfect example of the use of laser etching.  The symbols were laser etched onto the buttons after the rest of the component was completed.