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Plastics Industry: Laboratory Services Important for Quality, R&D, and Safety
By: Chad Jones, Manager of Nonmetallic Testing on January 9, 2013

A quick glance around and one can find a widening variety of plastic products in both consumer and industrial applications. This increase in the use of plastic materials is partly enabled by advances in material science and technology, and partly enabled by the continuing need for cost and weight reduction. New applications, and in some cases new materials, can benefit from the evaluations and analysis offered through commercial laboratories.

Innovations in plastic materials and additives are allowing for new and exciting applications. Take for instance the work being done to introduce nanotechnology into the field of plastics manufacturing. These materials are being engineered so they can be processed the same as typical formulations but offer some unique and improved material properties. Scientists have found ways to use nanoscale fillers and reinforcements to increase such properties as transparency, strength, thermal conductivity, and electrical conductivity.

quality control testingAnother area to highlight is the expanded use of engineering thermoplastics.  Engineering thermoplastics are used for applications that demand higher performance such as higher strength, heat resistance, chemical resistance, or fire resistance. Materials in this category include polyamides, polyimides, polycarbonates, polyesters, polyacetal, and others. The aerospace, automotive, and petroleum industries are heavy users of these advanced materials and new applications continue to be developed.

New materials and applications require thorough R&D and engineering review in order to support long-term success of the products. Once in the marketplace additional inspection and evaluation of the product is usually required. Ineffective quality and engineering efforts can result in products that may disappoint or even have safety issues. Consumer disappointment results in a tarnished image of the product, the manufacturer, or distributor.  If safety has been compromised then the rebuilding of consumer confidence will require a long term effort and carries the potential for costly litigation.

Anyone dealing with new materials or processes can use outside laboratories to take advantage of services for routine quality control testing. Many organizations require laboratory testing to determine conformance to material specifications.  More complicated laboratory projects can involve contamination testing and failure analysis.

The use of external testing laboratories is an excellent way to evaluate the efforts of product development and manufacturing activities. Obtaining information about the important performance properties helps to ensure the plastic components and assemblies will be safe, function well, and last for many years. We invite you to find out how Sherry Laboratories can help you in this endeavor or learn more about our nonmetallic laboratory, failure analysis or metallurgical testing services we offer.

You may also be interested in reading case studies encountered by our nonmetallic laboratory.

News Tags: plastics industry thermoplastics plastics quality control testing contamination testing plastic testing services plastic lab plastic failure analysis nonmetallic testing analytical laboratories third-party testing services