Plastic screws, you say? Why do you need those? Why buy plastic screws or plastic hardware in general, when metal has always served you so well? Or maybe you already think plastic components are where it’s at but you need to convince your boss? Well, I’ll tell you why you should buy them. So go ahead, take this information and wow all the skeptics in your life.
1) Plastic screws can have useful chemical resistance properties.
Plastic components are available in a wide array of materials and material grades. There is a plastic that can resist pretty much any chemical you might have present in your application. If you have a special chemical resistance requirement please feel free to let us know. We’d be happy to point you in the right direction.
2) They are stronger than you think!
So I won’t lie to you, plastic components may never be as strong as the strongest metals. However, many plastics are just as strong if not stronger than certain metals. For example, PEEK (PolyEtherEtherKetone) offers strength comparable to stainless steel while also being lighter, more flexible, and resistant to heat and electrical. Polyurethane plastic hardware exhibits superior wear resistance and can often outwear rubber, wood, and metals 20 to 1.
3) They won’t rust.
Plastic screws are ideal for underwater applications because they don’t rust. Many plastics are also UV resistant, making them an ideal choice for the marine and boating industries. One advantage of using plastic screws underwater is that they are easy to remove and replace if necessary, while metal fasteners are prone to rusting together.
4) They are environmentally friendly.
Plastic screws can be produced and formed for a lower energy cost than that required by metal and other traditional materials. Plastic fasteners can also be reused and recycled.
5) They come in all types and sizes.
Not sure if you can get the kind of screw you need in plastic? Maybe you need a very large size or a custom drive style? Pretty much any screw that’s available in metal can be made in plastic. Of course, as is true of metal, some plastic materials are better suited for screw production than others.
6) They are light and flexible.
Many industries require plastic screws and plastic hardware that is at once flexible, light-weight, and strong. Plastic screws can be as much as 10 times lighter pound for pound as metal screws.
For example, over the past 50 years the automotive industry has used plastic hardware increasingly to construct cars. With plastic hardware, the cars can be lighter, faster and more efficient in order to satisfy the industry’s increasing fuel efficiency requirements. The next generation of fiber reinforced plastics could reduce the weight of cars by as much as 50% and reduce fuel emissions by 35%.
7) They look good.
Plastic screws come in a wide variety of colors. Many plastics are also easy to dye. With plastic screws, you have a lot more choice in terms of the appearance of your product than you do with metal. Some plastics are even completely transparent and are used in goggles and visors. So if the look of your application is important to you, plastic screws may be a good choice.
8) They are available at multiple price points.
Plastic hardware has a reputation as being cheap. This reputation is probably due to the availability of many low-quality, cheap plastic fasteners. More specialized plastics that have unique properties, such as PEEK and polyimide, can be extremely expensive. Some grades of PEEK can cost $100 per pound or more. A short length of Vespel® polyimide can cost $1,000 or more for diameters of over an inch. As is true with many products, you get what you pay for when you purchase plastic screws. Chances are, there’s hardware available at a price point that makes sense for you.
There you have it! Are you convinced? Is there some more information that you might find more persuasive? Let us know in the comments section below.
Looking for more information on threaded plastics? Download our full guide.