Designing a new product needs to meet the brief, and if you’re thinking of using plastic you probably have a few questions. So, going through our list of case studies, we’ve created a list of the common constraints we’ve been able to solve while designing custom marketable products for our clients.
Must be lightweight.
Weight is a huge factor in a lot of product design. It not only affects the end use of the product, but also shipping and installation.
Many products are currently made of metal, which makes them very heavy. A mining machine recently designed for Ludowici used to take up to four men to move, because it had heavy fabricated metal guards. Now, thanks to rotomoulding, it can be moved by a single person.
Another example is installation. Septic tanks, traditionally a concrete design, were not easily moved. Today, with modern rotomoulded septic tanks, they can be easily maneuvered. In fact, some are moulded with lugs in them as they can be carried.
Durable enough to thrive in harsh conditions.
The durability of rotomoulded products is largely a result of having no joins or welds. Rotomoulded products are hollow, made by rotating molten plastic in a mould until it takes the desired shape. And once it does (if it’s been properly designed) it is virtually stress-free and less likely to break.
The Ludowici safety guard protects a machine used in mining that vibrates at an incredibly high frequency for long periods of time. So now, as well as being easier to manoeuvre, it’s been made to be virtually indestructible in these conditions (it is also rust-free and cheaper to manufacture).
It’s replacing steel, so it needs to be strong.
Rotomoulding can produce products that are both durable and lightweight, but also have incredible strength. This can be important when designing furniture, or large tanks, and was a requirement for the new plastic box trailer, the TuffMate 2000.
The trailer is lightweight, resistant to chemicals, can handle extreme Australian temperature fluctuations, and strong enough to carry a load without buckling. It looks great as well. Such a feat of engineering was achieved that there’s a test video of a TuffMate 2000 being smashed with a sledgehammer and hardly making a mark.
Resistance to rust and corrosion.
Being rust-proof has already come up a few times in this article. Steel and other metals were for a long time the go-to material for strong, durable products, and rust has been a costly side-effect. But in many cases, products are being re-designed using plastic.
The standard box trailer is still predominately made from steel. Anyone that has a trailer with a few years on it knows rust is unavoidable. A plastic trailer however cannot rust, even if left in the back yard with a small puddle of water. It’s completely safe.
Rust-prone metal products can often be redesigned using plastic, and it can save a bundle in procurement costs. Booth Transport redesigned their storage boxes to prevent rust and corrosion, destroying their equipment and causing further damage to their vehicles. They are now the talk of every trade show they attend and are in distribution for the rest of the industry, which has exactly the same problem they did.
Must have a low production cost.
For any manufacturing project, keeping product costs a minimum is a must. This is where rotomoulding excels, as moulds can quickly reproduce high-quality and often complex-shaped products consistently and affordably.
With marketable products such as the fan cowl for Croplands, low production costs are part of the brief. Other products, like tanks and mudguards made for Thales, seek to make considerable savings from fabricating custom products with steel. A major benefit of choosing rotomoulding is the ability to scale your products with minimal lead time, material costs, or labour – especially when compared to metal fabrication.