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EPP’s Alex Curtiss featured in MDT Magazine

Alex Curtiss

Alex Curtiss President and CEO, Engineered Plastic Products Corporation

It is natural for a company that makes highly sensitive medical devices to turn to a trusted vendor to make its components. But if those components are made of plastic and that vendor is a metal machinist, that can be a huge mistake.

A company that specializes in only machined plastic parts not only brings expertise in dealing with plastics to the table, but can help avoid problems that might arise from contamination or simply not understanding the subtle differences between working with plastic, as opposed to metal parts.

Take the case of a medical analytics company that turned to a metal machinist to make a plastic component. The part had precisely made holes that needed to contain a small ball to measure gas levels. If working properly, the ball would float in the instrument. Unfortunately, even after passing initial inspections, these parts sometimes failed after two to three weeks in the field. The ball would no longer rise. The manufacturer thought it was a problem with static—a reasonable assumption, but one that proved wrong. The real problem became apparent after putting the piece under a microscope. There were tiny cracks inside the holes, not visible to the naked eye. The cracks were due to crazing, a degradation caused by cutting oils. That is not an uncommon problem when metal machining equipment is used to create plastic parts.

Components for medical diagnostic equipment
Components for medical diagnostic equipment

Metal parts, unlike plastic ones, typically require the use of oil-based cutting fluids. And no matter how conscientious the metal machinist is, it is nearly impossible to clean every bit of oil from a machine before using it to make a plastic part. Because of this, equipment used to manufacture metal parts, even if used for metal only, can occasionally contaminate plastic parts with those oil-based cutting fluids. Many plastics are highly sensitive to petroleum-based cutting fluids and will degrade if they come into contact with them. Also, many plastics are hydroscopic and will absorb the cutting oils. The result is a part that may pass initial inspections, but will degrade over time and fail in the field.

It is not just cleaning oils off a machine that is difficult for a metal machinist, but also clearing every tiny metal fragment that may remain on a machine used to make metal parts. If the plastic material being machined is soft, residual metal fragments can become embedded in the plastic machined parts. Again, the metal fragment may not cause a problem initially, but over time it can cause the plastic to degrade and stop performing properly.

Problems can also arise in something as simple as how a metal machinist holds a plastic part. With plastic machined parts, the plastic is usually held with vices. Machinists who don’t specialize in plastic have a tendency to hold the plastic the same way they do metal—but this can be too tight for a plastic. As a consequence, when a drill goes into the plastic, the material flexes a bit, which can put stresses on the part that might not surface until later. A plastics machining company would know that, and be able to prevent that from happening. It is a subtle difference in manufacturing, but one that can turn into a huge problem down the road.

Of course, a plastics expert should be more knowledgeable than a metal machinist about the variety of plastics materials available and what uses they’re best suited for. This level of knowledge is especially important in fields like medical device technology, where manufacturers often use plastics that are less common than those used for other purposes. A plastics expert can help designers and manufacturers sort through materials according to factors such as sensitivity to humidity, abrasion resistance and thermo-sensitivity.

A company that specializes in only machined plastic parts not only brings expertise in dealing with plastics to the table, but can help avoid problems that might arise from contamination or simply not understanding the subtle differences between working with plastic, as opposed to metal parts.
A company that specializes in only machined plastic parts not only brings expertise in dealing with plastics to the table, but can help avoid problems that might arise from contamination or simply not understanding the subtle differences between working with plastic, as opposed to metal parts.

Sourcing is another important consideration. A metal machinist will most likely get their plastics from a distributor whose materials may come from a variety of sources. They may be able to provide certification, for example, that all the materials they are using are nylon rods, but they may not know the source of those rods. A plastics specialist, on the other hand, should be able to tell you not only what mill the material came from, but also the lot number. If there is ever a problem, they can easily trace the material back to its original source. There is a level of accountability you may not get from a metal machinist.

Of course, not all plastic machining companies are alike. The best for your job is one that is familiar with each machining process you need for your medical device application, as well as with the specific plastic material you will be using. The company should have access to up-to-date information and be willing to share it through property charts or plastic material handbooks.  They also should be ISO Certified, use documented SPC (statistical process control) procedures and own the proper inspection equipment such as CMM (coordinate measuring machine) or video inspection systems. These certifications and systems will help ensure that you receive the highest quality medical device for the lowest cost, with the fewest possible errors the first time around.

The final consideration in this is cost. Surprisingly, using a plastics expert may actually save money.  Plastics machining companies deal with plastic parts all day long. Their expertise means they can often perform the job more efficiently than the typical metal machinist. But most important, the lower risk of contamination when dealing with a plastic machinist means that medical device parts not only have a higher chance of passing inspection, but a much lower chance of failing down the road. That is important in any industry, but even more so when someone’s health is on the line.

This article appeared in the March 2016 print edition of MDT.

Plastic Machining: Get Parts Fast With EPP’s Expanded Capacity

Need plastic machined components fast?- EPP has the solution

Often times projects that require plastic machined parts can be given the green light at the last minute.  A time crunch does not need to put you in a bind.  Increased efficiency levels have led to EPP’s expanded capacity. Delivery times are as low as 2 weeks for customers in need of fast turnaround times.

Efficiency levels at EPP have always been high however, we are always active in further improving. Over the past 3 years, a combination of both research and thorough analysis of our current production processes has led to changes resulting in further increases in productivity.

If you need a fast turnaround don’t hesitate to take advantage of our expanded capacity. As America’s Premier Plastic Machining Supplier, we guarantee on-time delivery, and provide you with 100% quality dock-to-stock.

Plastic Machining: EPP Featured in Aerospace Manufacturing and Design Magazine

Engineered Plastic Products is currently featured in Aerospace Manufacturing and Design Magazine.  EPP Corporation CEO Alex Curtiss discusses how to achieve significant savings on plastic machining requirements specifically to the aerospace industry.  EPP utilizes a proven supply chain management system that has been in place at the company over the past 15 years.  EPP Corporation’s customers have reaped the benefits of such savings on plastic machined components, throughout various industries we serve.

To read the article in Aerospace Manufacturing and Design Magazine CLICK HERE

To view EPP’s blog on How To Save Money On Plastic Machined Parts CLICK HERE


Plastic Machining: Custom Plastic Manifolds

Plastic manifolds have many advantages over metal. Plastic manifolds can offer far more complex fluid paths and produce clean, easy to inspect fluid paths. Plastic manifolds are lighter and more compact. EPP’s manifold experts deliver quality custom plastic manifold fast and to your specifications. We can even provide Fluonic Engineering Design services to turn your current “spaghetti-like” tubing mess into a custom plastic manifold. Contact us for your Custom Plastic Manifold needs! Let EPP Corp be your Custom Plastic Manifold resource.

Low-Temp Interfusion Bonding

Low-Temp Interfusion Bonding is a proprietary technique that produces superior bonding joints. Other plastic manufacturers use either diffusion bonding or cement type gluing that leaves machine marks within the fluid channels. Diffusion boding creates heat and can distort the internal features. The Low-Temp Interfusion Bonding technique eliminates any distortion, thus allowing us to hold much tighter tolerances. This process also creates fully polished channels without the cement marks that can impede the overall fluonics.

Plastic Materials

Custom Plastic Manifolds can be produced from a wide range of plastic materials including:

Custom Plastic ManifoldsCustom Plastic Manifold Custom Plastic ManifoldCustom Plastic Manifold

Plastic Machining EPP Corporation is Now on Google Plus

EPP Corporation is pleased to announce the introduction of our Google + page.

Plastic machining and plastic prototypes expert Engineered Plastic Products Corporation can now be found on Google +.

Add America’s Premier Plastic Machining Supplier to your circle today

We will provide informative plastic machining advice and plastic prototype assistance, as well as post photos and video

Click Here to visit EPP Corporation’s Google Plus Page


Plastic Machining:Design Considerations For Plastic Prototypes

What design considerations are necessary when purchasing plastic prototypes with full function?

In order to get to market fast, plastic prototypes should be fully functional. Plastic prototypes with full function of course offer the same tight tolerances and high precision as do plastic machined components, as they are one in the same. Simply fast, fully functional plastic prototypes are made in order to meet stricter deadlines, and are often ordered in smaller quantities. When ordering plastic machined prototypes, the considerations are the same as when ordering production plastic machined parts. The design specifications for production plastic machining and fast plastic prototypes are as follows:

Design Considerations For Plastic Prototypes and Plastic Machining

-Thermosensitivity – tolerance can change in different temperature conditions
-Sensitivity to humidity and hygroscopic absorption affects tolerance
-Sensitivity to chemicals and oils
-Notch sensitive corners and square ID’s
-Tolerances
-High loads
-High impact
-Fatigue loading or cycle loading requires consideration of flexing, deflecting, and compression
-Temperature – max/min extent of time
-Electrical considerations such as insulating properties
-Wear resistance or abrasion resistance
-Dimensional shape retention (load, cold flow, temperature)
-Regulatory requirements (FDA, UL, etc.)
-Appearance (color, texture)
-Optical requirements
-Outdoor use

Now that you’ve identified the important factors in your application, evaluate material specs in the Free Plastic Properties Handbook and select your material!

Plastic Machining and Plastic Prototypes With Engineering Assistance From Experts-The Solution

Machining Plastic is the perfect solution for many varied component needs in numerous critical industries however, most engineers may not have the necessary knowledge.

Many of the brightest, most talented engineers do not have the knowledge required in order to know what material is best for a component or plastic prototype need. Simply the reason being that until recently, plastic machining was not taught in engineering schools. Currently the presence of plastic machining courses is limited to only a small number of schools. In order to select the proper material, contact a plastic machining expert for design application assistance.

Design considerations when machining plastic are unique to plastic.  One with experience machining metal for example, would not be aware of these specifications.  When ordering plastic machined components or plastic prototypes, the following considerations are evaluated:

  • Thermosensitivity
  • Sensitivity to humidity and hygroscopic absorption
  • Sensitivity to chemicals and oils
  • Notch sensitive corners and square ID’s
  • Tolerances
  • High loads
  • High impact
  • Fatigue loading or cycle loading
  • Temperature
  • Electrical considerations
  • Wear resistance or abrasion resistance
  • Dimensional shape retention
  • Regulatory requirements (such as FDA or UL)
  • Appearance
  • Optical requirements
  • Whether or not part is for outdoor use

A plastic machining expert has the knowledge and expertise to help you select the best material for plastic machined parts and plastic prototypes according to the necessary specifications and considerations.

At EPP Corporation we provide design application, engineering, and purchasing assistant to all customers for both plastic machining production and fast plastic prototypes.

We also have an online plastic design as a free, excellent resource that compares different materials based on above criteria, as well as comparing the plastic materials side by side

To download our FREE Plastic Properties Handbook and Design Guide CLICK HERE

Plastic Machining:Plastic Prototypes Vendors, How To Select The Best

Guidelines For Selecting The Perfect Plastic Machining Vendor For Custom Prototypes

When selecting the right vendor for plastic prototypes, the process is similar to selecting the right plastic machining production vendor.  However, a greater emphasis on speed while maintaining the same quality of a production plastic machined component.  Of course, a great advantage is present for companies that get innovations to market fastest.  The goals of new product development are to create a revolutionary product, improve upon an existing product, or often to stay ahead of the competition.  Receiving FULLY FUNCTIONAL plastic prototypes fast will allow a company to reach and exceed those goals.

The following guidelines can help you locate a fully-qualified, cost effective plastic machining vendor for all your plastic machined components:

  1. Material Knowledge
  2. Purchasing Practices
  3. Equipment
  4. Quality and Price
  5. Looking For the Best

Focusing on plastic prototypes, here are the guidelines to follow to select the best plastic machining vendor for the job:

  1. Plastic prototypes produced and delivered in under a week
  2. Plastic prototypes are fully functional
  3. Highest quality for the tightest tolerances  (up to +/- .001″)
  4. Vendor capable of simple and complex designs
  5. Free application engineering

Not all plastic machining vendors are created equal, and capabilities may very depending on vendor.  Few plastic machining vendors are capable of turning around FULLY FUNCTIONAL plastic prototypes in under a week.  Plastic machining vendors should also provide contaminant free plastic machined components and plastic prototypes.  Speed, the highest quality, and full functionality are key in plastic prototyping for new products.  R&D budgets may have taken months to be approved, don’t delay production.

Contaminant free plastic prototypes is under a week, produced on plastic only equipment.  FULLY FUNCTIONAL from plastic machining experts EPP Corporation.  The ISO Certified experts in plastic machining to the critical instrumentation, medical, aerospace, fluid power, and medical industries at EPP are here for your plastic machining and fast plastic prototype needs.

For more details on selecting a plastic machining vendor CLICK HERE

For more information about our fast plastic prototypes service CLICK HERE

For more details about contaminant free plastic machined parts CLICK HERE

Plastic Machining: Fast Plastic Prototypes or Production Plastic Machining-The Guidelines

When in need of plastic machined components, how should one decide whether place a fast plastic prototypes or production plastic machining order?

In order to make a decision, lets discuss the two different ordering methods from EPP Corporation.

Plastic Prototypes
Typically the greatest advantage of utilizing our plastic prototypes capability is to receive your components fast. We are able to turn around fully functional plastic prototypes in one week or less.  Typically of course the need for a plastic prototype would be to have a test piece.  Rather than receiving a prototype that is simply created as an example to simply display a design, our plastic prototypes are fully functional.  Having plastic prototypes that are fully functional leads to even faster new product development.  You will receive your plastic prototypes fast and have them ready for use.  All plastic materials are available for prototypes, as of course is the case for our production plastic machining service.  Tolerances on our fast plastic prototypes are as tight as +/- .001″, and simple or complex 3D designs are welcomed.  Free material application engineering is also available for customers of our plastic prototypes.

Production Plastic Machining
At EPP Corporation we are experts in plastic machining.  All plastic machined components are produced on equipment that solely machines plastic components, eliminating any potential contamination that occurs when machining metal and plastic on the same equipment.  Our capabilities for our plastic machining production service are cnc milling, cnc lathe, screw machining, and custom plastic manifolds.  We guarantee 100% quality dock to stock, and utilize a proven, efficient and cost saving supply chain management system, as well as highly efficient six sigma production processes.  Orders are delivered 3 days early due to our efficient supply chain method.  We also provide customers with FREE design application assistance, and FREE material selection engineering on plastic machining orders.    We provide the highest quality, competitive costs,  fast delivery, and exceptional customer service.

Typically the plastic prototypes service is best for either ordering a prototype, or a small quantity component that is needed in a hurry.  Speed is of the essence with fast plastic prototyping with a turn around time of up to 1 week.  The plastic prototyping method is best in order to speed up new product development efforts.

On the other hand our plastic machining production service can be utilized for quantities large and small, and garners the full benefits of our proven supply chain management system.  With a typical turnaround time of 2-3 weeks, our plastic machining service will still ensure that plastic machined components are delivered to exceed customer deadlines.

Whether you need production plastic machining or plastic prototypes quickly, EPP Corporation is here for your custom plastic part needs.

plastic prototypes vs plastic machining

Plastic Machining: Engineering Help From Experts For Plastic Machining and Plastic Prototypes

A plastic machining expert can provide several advantages that a typical vendor cannot. From a true plastic machining expert comes years of experience and expertise. Through our 35 years of experience and expertise in custom plastic machining manufacturing at EPP, we are able to extend our hand to customers in regards to engineering assistance.

We are equipped to offer plastic machining production (cnc milling, cnc lathe, screw machining, custom plastic manifolds), as well as fast plastic prototypes, along with  engineering assistance.  Our full engineering assistance is available for both custom plastic machined component and fast plastic prototype customers.

At EPP Corp. we can help with:

-Free application engineering
Free Design Guide for Plastic Machining
Free Plastic Materials Handbook
Helpful Articles
-Pre Production Quantities
-High quality and a reliable source for production quantities

If you’re working on a project that involves any custom plastic machined parts, or new products that require fast plastic prototypes, the best thing you can do is simply contact us! Email your drawings to sales@eppcorp.com or just give us a call with any questions. We will help you find the ideal material and manufacturing method for your application.

plastic prototypes-plastic machining-plastic machined prototypes

Plastic Machining:Selecting The Right Plastic Material-Impact Strength

Not all plastic materials are suitable for every application. Properties such as temperature, water absorption, and wear resistance must be evaluated, in order to select the perfect material for a the specific plastic machined part’s application.

When selecting the proper plastic material for any specific application, the choice should be made with an emphasis on the most crucial properties for the part’s specific use. Impact strength is often a critical property that must be considered.

Impact strength is the maximum force or energy of a blow which can be withstood without fracture. This is essentially a measure of how well a material can withstand shock loading.

If your part requirements are meant for a high impact application , the following materials should be considered as possible solutions:

In order to select the correct material, download the Plastic Properties Handbook
Materials are compared to one another among a wide range of design considerations, leading to a very efficient selection process.

Plastic materials vary vastly and selecting the right one for your application is crucial to a part’s success.

Plastic Machining:Fast Plastic Prototypes-Don’t Slow Down Innovation

As the summer is about to end, so do vacations.   Specifically in a down economy, innovation is key in order to compete both domestically and internationally.    Don’t let slow plastic prototypes halt your research and development plans any further.  Save time by ordering short-run, quick-turn plastic prototypes. Time is of the essence when it comes to new product development.  Beat your competition to the punch in order to come out ahead.  Plastic prototypes in under a week will save you time, and allow for designs to tested and perfected at a faster rate.  In order to assure the precision and the tightest tolerances, plastic prototypes should be machined in order to achieve the best results.  Being quicker to the punch in regards to innovation is a huge advantage in the market place.  Allow for fast innovation, fast plastic prototypes are the answer. Plastic machining expert EPP Corporation is pleased to be able to offer fast plastic prototyping as a valuable service for proactive companies craving innovation.  Don’t sit on the sidelines and allow for the competition to come out ahead.  America’s Premier Plastic Machining Supplier is here to help. EPP’s short-run, quick-turn plastic prototypes feature the tightest tolerances, can simple or complex, and of course free design application and material selection engineering assistance is provided. For more details about our fast plastic prototype capabilities, Click Here.

Plastic Machining: Distortion Free Custom Plastic Manifolds

Engineered Plastic Products specializes in plastic machined components used in fluid applications

One specific capability that EPP provides in regards to the movement of fluid is our manufacturing of custom plastic manifolds. When compared to metal, plastic manifolds are lighter and more compact, easier to inspect, and provide more complex fluid paths.

Manifolds often go through a bonding process that may lead to distortion and lead to looser tolerances.

EPP has the solution-
We manufacture bonded manifolds that eliminate distortion and hold tighter tolerances by using a process called Low-Temp Interfusion Bonding

What Is Low-Temp Interfusion Bonding?

Low-Temp Interfusion Bonding is a proprietary technique that produces superior bonding joints. Other plastic manufacturers simply use diffusion bonding or cement type gluing that leaves machine marks within the fluid channels. Diffusion boding creates heat, often distorting the internal features. The Low-Temp Interfusion Bonding technique eliminates any distortion, allowing us to hold much tighter tolerances. This process also creates fully polished channels without the cement marks that can impede the overall fluonics.

Contact the plastic machining experts at EPP Corporation with any custom plastic manifold needs

Plastic Machining: EPP Is Now ITAR Certified

Plastic Machining Expert Engineered Plastic Products is now ITAR CERTIFIED

What does it mean to be ITAR Certified?
The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) requires that any person (company) who engages in the business of manufacturing defense articles or furnishing defense services is required to register and keep their registration current with the United States Department of State, whom interprets and enforces ITAR. Its goal is to safeguard US national security and further US foreign policy objectives.

As an ITAR Certified vendor, EPP Corporation is registered with the U.S. Department of the State.

 

EPP is qualified to manufacture plastic machined components for the aircraft and defense industries.