Automotive Manufacturing of Plastic Cars

Automotive Manufacturing of Plastic Cars

Would you ever think of driving an automobile manufactured out of plastic or other composites? That is, if you drive at all. Well for most of, we’re basically already doing that. In fact, on average, motor vehicles include three hundred pounds or approximately one hundred and thirty six kilograms by weight of plastic. This is around eight percent of a vehicle’s total weight. With the focus on rising steel prices and other medals, plastics, fiber glass and other materials become more desirable. This is exacerbated by the need for lighter, more fuel efficient cars and trucks on the road. This really puts to bed the notion that cars are all steel, iron, aluminum and other metals. In fact, you can look forward to seeing lots more plastic in automative manufacturing primarily because plastic weighs up to fifty percent less than other materials, especially heavy metals. Plastics are also resistant to corrosion and even flexible on impact, but they still cannot withstand the brunt of the force, which is still transferred to the frame.

Additionally, the production process is easier, relying on basic injection-molding or blow-molding using plastic rosin, in contrast to the binding, trampling, and other procedures for forming metal in automotive manufacturing. Plastics offer a wide versatility and in the automotive industry, they can be used in everything from engine manifolds, fuel tanks and guidance wheels, to inside door panels complete with fixed speaker baffle boards and so much more. But this wonderful petroleum based material that is plastic hasn’t gone without its impact on the environment or complaints from consumer groups.

There is still some negative press circulating, especially around that ‘new car smell’ that every consumer enjoys. This odor is in fact the release of lethal elements from certain automotive plastics. Vaporous organic amalgamations, or types of chemicals that are noxious to inhale, are found in the steering pivots, dashboards, and floor coverings, and other plastic components. And in order to give the plastics a longer life cycle and durability, these plastics have been known to contain arsenous oxide and formaldehyde.

According to the Environmental Science Center, an environmental watch group, these compounds can leak into a car’s inside air for years after it’s manufactured, slowly poisoning the occupants, especially if the vehicle is not properly ventilated. To their credit, auto manufacturers have taken proactive steps to use more environmentally friendly materials for automobile interiors. However, it is also important to remember that these compounds are handled by parts suppliers and chemical manufacturers.

Therefore, it is becoming increasingly important to find healthier compounds. And although plastics are still evolving and their issues concerning strength in accidents are being addressed, plastics can still be a great way to diversify in a CNC machining setting. There are many small machining shops that aren’t aware of the potential for plastic machining as a part of their sales. For many of the machining suppliers that service companies like General Motors, Ford, or other companies, plastics is a sector that will continue to grow, and more complex work will be created, especially for harder plastics that will require more than just injection molding. And fortunately for machine shop owners, or medium sized machining companies, the very same clients that order machined products composed of steel and aluminum, are likely to be those that order plastic machined components. There could be less attraction costs to obtain clients in this arena.