Engineered Plastic Solutions

Engineering plastics are sufficiently resistant and ideal for tough engineering applications. We depend on engineered plastic solutions in our everyday lives. Just imagine automotive, electronics, consumer goods and appliances, health care devices, clean energy, and construction parts without engineered plastic solutions.

Case: Cylinder pipe from Alfa Laval

A cylinder pipe – part of a new pneumatic actuator concept with built-in automation.

Alfa Laval works with process engineering solutions and components in the areas of energy, environment, and food. As part of the business entity Hygienic Fluid Handling, Alfa Laval supplies components and process equipment for places like dairies, breweries, food producers, and the pharmaceutical industry.

The item is injection-molded by the company HN Group, which specializes in advanced injection and thermal molding, tool manufacturing, and plastic engineering in the development stage.

Materials

The cylinder pipe is made out of “PA12 polyamide” – also known as nylon – reinforced with 65 pct. fiberglass content. The material is chosen for its great strength, low water absorption, and very good chemical resistance.

It is dyed black for esthetic purposes and injection-molded into tools with a textured mold surface, giving the item a rough surface.

Design and engineering

The components are traditionally made from stainless steel with a significant focus on hygienic design and durability. The plastic cylinder therefore replaces a stainless-steel tube with a welded bottom.

In this case, plastic beats steel due to cost savings and the option of integrating several functions into one item despite reluctance, both from customers and internally, to the process of replacing the familiar steel with plastic.

Plastics have gradually replaced traditional engineering materials such as wood or metal in many applications because they equal or surpass them in their weight/strength ratio and other properties, and they are easier to manufacture in complicated shapes.

Are you – or have you been – working on a plastic-related project?

Then you can sign up for PROJECT PLASTIC 2020 and win the first prize is 25.000 DKK. The project competition is for engineering students who have finished – or are currently working on a plastic-themed project. All academic projects in both Danish and English are welcome. The registration deadline is October 1st.

Read more about PROJECT PLASTIC 2020 here