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issue: November 2004 APPLIANCE European Edition

Plastics and Plastic Parts
Plastic Advantages


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by David Simpson, Contributing Editor

A triplet of applications demonstrates how plastics can benefit appliance producers across all product segments.

The brewing units found in espresso machines from Saeco (Gaggio Montano, Italy) need to withstand the acids and material components of coffee, as well as high mechanical stress. To withstand the challenging environment, the units are constructed of Ultraform polyacetel, a high-strength material from BASF (Ludwigshafen, Germany).

Les avantages du plastique

Les matériaux de construction thermoplastiques peuvent offrir le plus large éventail en termes de performances et de possibilités, en comparaison avec les éléments conventionnels en métal, dans tous les secteurs de produits. Les matières plastiques d’aujourd’hui apportent de nombreux avantages, à la fois dans la conception interne qu’externe de la nouvelle génération d’appareils, ce qui peut mettre les produits des fabricants en bonne place sur le marché et ainsi faire face à la concurrence et créer l’identité d’une marque

Kunstoff klar im Vorteil

Im Vergleich zu Materialien auf Metallbasis sind bei der Herstellung von Thermoplasten wirklich vielseitige Möglichkeiten hinsichtlich der technischen Eigenschaften und des Leistungsverhaltens möglich—und zwar bei allen Produktsegmenten. Die heutigen Kunststoffe schaffen zahlereiche Vorteile beim Design der Außen- wie auch der Innenteile von Haushaltsgeräten und helfen den Herstellern dabei, ihre Produkte von der Konkurrenz abzuheben und eine ganz persönliche Markenidentität zu kreieren.

Tutti i vantaggi della plastica

L’uso della termoplastica offre molte più opportunità di sfruttare caratteristiche e funzionalità rispetto ai materiali metallici convenzionali in tutti i segmenti di prodotto. Oggi la plastica apporta numerosi vantaggi in fase di progettazione delle caratteristiche interne ed esterna degli elettrodomestici di prossima generazione, vantaggi che consentono ai prodotti di distinguersi dalla concorrenza e di creare brand identity.

A Triplet of Applications

The general advantages of plastics are well documented. Among these are design flexibility, including part integration, chemical and corrosion resistance, cost effectiveness, and low weight. With these advantages, plastics continue to make inroads in various internal and external applications.

Plastics can also create an advantage in appliance design, notes Paola Babka, global marketing director, consumer markets, GE Advanced Materials, Plastics (Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands). “The development, styling, and manufacture of next-generation appliances can be done in such a way that new products immediately stand out from the competition, also creating possible brand identity,” she says. “Products such as these call for the greatest possible freedoms from the materials they use. Engineering thermoplastics can offer among the broadest possible range of performance properties and capabilities compared to conventional metal-based materials.”

An example of what one leading appliance company—in this case, Spain’s Fagor—can do with engineering thermoplastics is seen in the article, Metallic Look Enhances Refrigerator Design. This is one of three applications—plus a few pictures thrown in for good measure—illustrating some of the ways plastics are being used in appliance design.

In addition to creating attractive aesthetics, internal plastic parts can also be vital to a product’s success. Certainly in one food equipment application, they saved the day. When Hobart Corporation found a problem created by contamination in a dough mixer design, it changed over to a plastic-based bearing. The component is lubrication- and maintenance-free, as well as contamination- and chemical-resistant. Find out more by reading Adding More to the Mix.

As populations continue to reach retirement age in developed countries, the market for medical devices is likely to continue to grow, and with it, the use of plastics. In one medical application, Draeger Medical was looking for a material to use in a blower that could quickly reach high speeds. The 55-mm wheel needed thin walls and high tensile strength.

The material has the purity required for clinical use. Read more in High Power Plastic.

Of course, compared to the whole range of what is happening with plastics applications in the appliance industry, a triplet of cases is just a small sampling. Still, perhaps these examples will trigger new thinking of innovative ways appliance producers can use plastics in their product designs. READ ON:

Metallic Look Enhances Refrigerator Design

Adding More to the Mix

High Power Plastic

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
BASF Corp. Engineering Plastics
GE Plastics
 

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