Material Selection

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Meterial Selection

Selecting, testing, and qualifying plastic materials are among of the most important product development decisions you’ll make. SES has the expertise to make sure you get it right.

When you make the right material selections for a new product or package, it rarely attracts notice. The product performs well and everyone is happy. But when the wrong materials are selected, the unanticipated costs that accompany project delays, warranty claims or recalls can be staggering. Because material selection is so critical, it’s not a decision that should be left to a resin supplier, or based on a molder’s suggestion…or even to prior experience. The consequences of getting it wrong are just too high. The decision should be based solidly on data, which is derived from application relevant testing.

About one half of all failures in plastics result from making the wrong material choice. Product stability tests or short-term material tests for screening candidate materials are often used, but are frequently unreliable for several reasons:
  • More often than not the failure mechanism is time-dependent where the time scale for failure is longer than the stability test.
  • The range of ‘standard’ qualification tests does not fully encompass all forces that will be acting on the product in the real world.
  • The influence of design is not adequately accounted for with respect to the life-limiting characteristics of the particular resin selection.
SES has decades of experience applying and developing situation-specific product and package test methods, where necessary, to support material selection and qualification. The figure illustrates a recent resin qualification project where seven resins were evaluated to determine whether or not they could be safely used as an alternative in the case of a material shortage, or to exploit a commercial opportunity. The test battery was based on specific features of the product.

There is no substitute for reliable data. SES’s services are organized to provide you with the information you need, when you need it. Our plastics engineers can help you comb through the thousands of possibilities to identify the best candidate materials. Low-cost screening tests are used early in a project to quickly identify the top few candidates. Depending on your application, a final round of tests may be completed to establish the effects of process variation on as-molded properties.

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