Five Common Mistakes When Choosing a Plastic Fastener
Whether you’re designing a piece of machinery or you’re building a commercial product, there’s a lot to think about. From functionality to the design, choosing the right plastic fastener doesn’t seem like the most important choice, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Without the right fasteners, you could be putting your final product at risk. From melting to breakage, there are many ways a plastic fastener can be compromised that includes:
Some plastics lose their integrity when exposed to UV light, while others can’t handle certain chemicals, repeated exposure to water, and more. That’s why it’s important to choose the right fastener for the job. Unfortunately, many people make at least one mistake when searching for the perfect plastic.
Here are a few of the most common mistakes people make when choosing a plastic fastener, and what you should do instead.
Picking the first fastener that’s the right size
If you aren’t familiar with fasteners, you’re probably just searching for a fastener that fits. This isn’t a bad method if you’re shopping for a metal fastener, but plastic can be extremely misleading. That’s because plastics that look similar aren’t. If you choose the first plastic fastener that will fit your project, you’ll likely be setting yourself up for failure.
Instead, you need to do your research. Not all plastics work in every environment, even though they may look the same. Look into the mechanical properties and chemical resistance of a wide variety of plastic materials. Take a look at acid resistant plastics, glass fiber reinforced plastics, and more. It may take some time upfront to do the research, but you’ll save time and money in the long run by choosing a fastener that won’t fail when you need it most.
Buying the cheapest fasteners you can find
Cost is always a huge consideration, especially if you need a lot of fasteners. As some people start digging into the details of various plastic fasteners, they discover that some of them aren’t cheap. They end up choosing a different fastener simply because it’s more affordable. It’s important to remember that cheap fasteners are cheap for a reason.
It’s possible that your application would work just fine with a cheap product, but it’s also possible that it won’t. If the fasteners you buy fail, not only will you have spent the money on a cheap product, but you’ll have to turn around and spend more money on the more expensive, more dependable fasteners too. Make sure you find the exact type of fastener you need, and then spend whatever it costs. It’s an investment that will pay off in the end.
Not ordering samples
When it comes to plastic fasteners, most people figure out what they need and place a large order, but this isn’t the best idea, especially in very demanding applications. After all, when you walk into the home improvement store to shop around for new flooring, you’ll find that there are samples available. If you’re painting your dining room, you can take multiple paint chips with you to see how each color looks in your home. You test other things before you make a big purchase, so why not test plastic fasteners?
You can actually order samples and test them out before you place your final order, and you should. That’s because plastic fastener manufacturers don’t always do a lot of research on their products. They usually just do the bare minimum, so conducting your own tests can provide you with the confidence you need to spend hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on plastic fasteners.
Not considering the design of the application
There are many wonderful reasons to choose plastic instead of metal. Some people simply decide they want to use plastic instead of metal, maybe because they’ve heard of a durable plastic that they’d like to use, or because it can be cheaper than metal. But, no matter how wonderful a plastic sounds, it may not be the best solution for your application. If you really want to use plastic, you have to make sure you design your product for it.
For example, you may believe that finding a thicker plastic screw will give you the same strength as a metal screw of the same size, but plastic doesn’t work that way. In addition, some materials can only be manufactured in certain thicknesses. If you want to use plastic screws, make sure you create a design that is able to utilize the plastic screws you want to use.
Placing your order with the wrong supplier
So, you’ve done your research and you’re ready to buy. You may be tempted to search for the particular fastener you need online, then simply order them from the first supplier that pops up in Google. This may save you a bit of time upfront, but the truth is, you have to do a little research to find the right plastic fastener supplier too.
It’s important that you ask for a professional recommendation. A knowledgeable supplier will be able to double check your research and confirm whether or not you’ve found the right plastic screw for your application. If you haven’t chosen the right one, they can point you in the right direction. It’s very easy to mistake the glass transition temperature for the maximum service temperature, for example, so checking with a knowledgeable supplier can ensure that you’ve chosen the right product.
If you’re looking for the perfect fastener or the perfect supplier, give us a call. We know plastic fasteners inside and out, so we can help you choose a product that’s perfect for your particular application.