The Marine Industry has used plastic injection molding for decades to initially convert metal products to plastic, then to use engineered resins for radical new ideas in strength and endurance. Tiedowns, clasps, locking features, and more are just the beginning for marine applications. Injection Molding has continued to find more and more applications as the option for custom-tailored molding has become a more economical option. Are you considering a new injection molding project for the marine industry? If so, you need to give engineered plastics a consideration for your material of choice.
Why Use Plastic Injection Molding for Marine Applications?
Injection molding isn’t a new process used to make components and assemblies for the marine industry. In fact, plastics have been used for decades for marine products. Think of outboard engines and their covers, inboards use a large amount of injection molded components, and you can even find propellers for both created with molding operations.
Plastics Offer These Marine Application Benefits:
- Strength vs. Weight – Plastics can be designed with a thin wall, and still be stronger than a metal competitor. In some cases, they can be stronger than any comparable material and still weigh less. That advantage can reduce weight on the water, on the trailer, and overall reduce fuel consumption.
- Flexibility for the Application – Plastics are very adaptable and flexible for a marine application. Plastics can be colored to meet a specific demand, they can be formulated for high or low temperatures, and they can also be designed to accommodate corrosion intensive products. With thousands of engineered resins currently available, a specific resin can be chosen for your marine need.
- Low Cost – Injection molding plastics for marine applications can be done with simple resin or a unique engineered blend depending on the application. A simple mold can be created for a handful of unique parts, or a long-term high volume injection mold can be made to produce thousands or millions of parts. Plastics also offer less labor-intensive manufacturing, low-cost raw materials, and their lightweight offers a lower cost for shipping.
- Corrosion Resistance – Corrosion resistance is a huge advantage in marine applications. Most metals either need a special coating or to be cast with a mixture of corrosion resistant properties to survive years on the water. Fresh water components may not see the corrosive salt-water that an ocean vessel sees, but your components can be made from a resin that will survive all environments without extra processing.
- Precision Tolerances – The marine industry may not require precision components for many applications, but for those that need tight tolerances plastics are a perfect choice. Injection molding can offer equal or better precision to comparable metal products to meet marine standards.
- Custom Finishes – Plastic injection molding can incorporate many different finishes for your product without the need for secondary processes. Logos or embossing can be added to the injection mold to create custom identifying touches, additional colors can be added, and most of the options don’t require extra work to achieve the same result. That can offer creative options and opportunities without adding additional cost.
How Are Plastics Used in the Marine Industry?
There are hundreds of uses for plastics in the marine applications. They use the advantages of low cost, decreased weight, and high strength to deliver the best results for the application. One example of a company embracing plastic injection molding for marine applications is Sea-Dog Line. They utilize plastic injection molding for deck hardware, cabinet and hatch hardware, anchoring and docking hardware, antenna equipment, plumbing, ventilation, and more. A variety of materials can be molded such as Nylon, Delrin, Acetyl, ABS, Polypropylene and custom mixes to increase strength for individual applications. Beyond plastic, custom rubber, metal, and engineered blends can create components that offer multiple finishes and applications for any part of the marine vessel.
Marine products are also starting to utilize technology and resin applications that focus on sustainability with new and redesigned components. Your new product could incorporate a 100% recyclable plastic that will ensure it can be used again and again to reduce landfill pollution. New options also can be made with a bio-based plastic that is able to return to its base components over time. Biodegradable plastics are another strong option to consider in order to make an environmental impact with your new product.
The marine industry requires innovative ideas, top-level quality, and on-time delivery. SEA-LECT Plastics prides itself as one of the leaders creating components and generating new ideas for the marine industry. Injection molding has distinct advantages but choosing which manufacturing option is best for your new project may be a tough decision to make without a lot of research. If you need advice on a future project, SEA-LECT Plastics is here to help. We have an elite team that designs for injection molding, rapid prototyping with metal and plastic, and produces world-class products under the same roof. Give us a call at (425) 339-0288 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to offering support and advice on your next project. SEA-LECT Plastics is an ISO 9001:2015 certified facility that incorporates a Total Quality Management (TQM) atmosphere into our daily mindset. Your products will be made by an elite team with a single goal of exceeding your expectations.
Matthias Poischbeg was born and raised in Hamburg, Germany. Matt moved to Everett, Wash., after finishing his bachelor’s degree in business in 1995 to work for Sea-Dog Corporation, a manufacturer, and distributor of marine and rigging hardware established in 1923.
In 1999, Matt took over the reins at Sea-Lect Plastics Corporation, a sister company of Sea-Dog and a manufacturer of plastic injection molded products with an in-house tool & die shop. Matthias Poischbeg is also a contributor to Grit Daily.