Metal replacement continues to be a dominant theme in plastics. EMS-Grivory, the Swiss specialist in this area, was showcasing a number of innovations with its metal-replacing high-performance polyamides last week at the Fakuma trade show in Friedrichshafen. Pride of place was reserved for applications featuring their long-fiber reinforced thermoplastic materials - one of the most important trends in the plastics processing industry today - and which, said the company "are perfectly suited for high-quality metal replacement applications, as they offer metal-like strength values despite extremely low weight."
They do so by forming a skeleton-like structure inside the finished part, thus increasing the mechanical properties of the component. In this way, stiffness and strength values can be achieved, which are significantly higher than those of thermoplastics reinforced with short fibers, without impacting on other properties, such as chemical resistance or surface quality. The long fibers also reduce creep and increase dimensional stability.
In addition, the thermal properties of these materials are markedly better at high or low temperatures. This means that components can be made which, for example, must be resistant to high thermo-mechanical loading while having excellent surface quality.