As we march into 2019, SEA-LECT Plastics is constantly keeping an eye on the future. We work heavily in outdoor recreation, marine hardware, and the military / defense sector every day. Knowing where plastic injection molding trends are headed keeps us up-to-date and prepared to accommodate shifts in product development, material changes, and varying production requirements. These are the trends we see coming in 2019 for the major markets we support with turnkey operations:
The outdoor recreation industry will continue to expand with lighter components replacing metals. Injection molding will be a great solution to provide new designs, integrated assemblies, and materials that offer lighter components with better flexibility and corrosion resistance. In addition to product developments, you can expect that packaging will shift to more biodegradable options that mitigate plastics going to landfills long-term. Packaging materials that are water-soluble or made from starches will start to incrementally be added to products throughout the outdoor industry as 2019 continues.
Marine hardware will continue to develop more plastic injection as part of assemblies and stand-alone components to replace bulky corrosion inherent parts that have been used in the last few decades. Marine products made from metal typically need an extra corrosion resistance added in the material itself of from a secondary coating. Those coatings are increasingly becoming more costly to utilize and some common coatings are being denied by global markets. That makes injection molding more attractive as the anti-corrosion properties can be included into the initial molding rather than a costly secondary operation. Beyond small parts, expect that plastic injection molding will start to expand to larger parts and become more of a resource for prototyping before final molds are made.
Military / Defense
One of the major trends you should start to see in 2019 will be related to transportation in general, but military and defense transportation in particular. All branches of the military are adding new transportation options for support of daily operations. The Navy will be adding Arleigh-Burke class destroyers to the surface fleet that have the capability of launching missiles as well as torpedoes. They will also contain advanced optics and rumors of advanced laser weapons in the near future. The Army will be upgrading their extreme off-road fleets with new JLTV (joint light tactical vehicle) options to replace the iconic Humvee that was developed a decade ago. The Air Force and Marines have new F35B variants, the Joint Strike Fighter Jet. It has the capability for vertical takeoff and supersonic stealth flight. And lastly there will be a new operation known as the U.S Space Command that will defend U.S. satellites in orbit that can support surveillance, communication, and navigation efforts.
Why all of these matter is that each option will involve plastic parts as an advantage to decrease weight, increase strength, and make an environmental impact. New plastic composite materials are constantly being developed to replace metal as a standard design material. They offer better corrosion resistance, better strength to weight ratio, and will be cost competitive. Injection molding and turnkey operations are also researching new options to drive costs lower, increase efficiency, and reduce the impact to the environment.
Do you see additional trends in our focus markets? We’d love to hear what you see coming in 2019. Give us a call at (425) 339-0288 or email us at email@example.com.