Posted by Laird Plastics on 20th Mar 2023
How Are Plastics Used in Heavy Equipment?
The use of plastics in heavy and agricultural equipment has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. This is due to the numerous benefits that plastics offer in terms of performance, efficiency, and cost savings. In this article, we will explore the various ways in which plastics are used in heavy and agricultural equipment and the benefits that these materials provide.
Benefits of Using Plastics in Heavy & Agricultural Equipment
Plastics have proven to be an excellent material for use in heavy and agricultural equipment, offering a range of benefits that are unmatched by traditional materials such as metal or wood. Firstly, plastics are significantly lighter than other materials, which results in a reduction in fuel consumption. This not only makes the equipment more cost-efficient but also reduces the environmental impact of its use. Additionally, plastics are highly durable and resistant to corrosion and abrasion, which means they require less maintenance and replacement over their lifetime.
Another advantage of plastics in heavy and agricultural equipment is their ability to increase performance and efficiency. Plastic parts are often designed with specific features that allow for smoother operation, improved accuracy, and reduced downtime. This leads to increased productivity and profitability for the users of such equipment.
Finally, plastics offer a range of cost savings compared to traditional materials. The reduced weight of plastic parts translates into reduced costs for transportation and shipping, while the durability and resistance to damage also result in lower maintenance and replacement costs. Additionally, the ease of manufacturing and processing plastics often results in lower production costs, which are then passed on to the consumer in the form of lower prices for the equipment.
Types of Plastics Commonly Used for Heavy Equipment & Agriculture
Several different types of plastics are commonly used in the manufacture of heavy and agricultural equipment. Each type offers its unique properties and benefits, making it suitable for a range of applications. In this section, we will take a closer look at the most commonly used plastics in this industry.
A versatile and often used plastic, polyethylene is renowned for its excellent strength and impact resistance. Since it can survive the rigors of operation in severe conditions, it is the perfect material for the fabrication of heavy machine components.
Polyethylene is a great material option for applications where exposure to water is a problem because it is also very moisture resistant. Polyethylene also possesses low friction characteristics, making it a perfect material for applications where friction and decreased wear are a concern. This plastic is a popular choice for the production of heavy and agricultural equipment components since it is simple to mold and process.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Due to its resistance to impact, chemicals, and weathering, polyvinyl chloride is a robust and long-lasting material that is frequently used in heavy and agricultural equipment. PVC is a great material option for applications where cost is a top priority because it is also reasonably priced. PVC is a well-liked material for outdoor applications since it offers good weather resistance in addition to strength and durability.
This plastic is a good choice for applications where fire safety is a concern because of its minimal flame spread and smoke production characteristics. PVC is a versatile material that can be easily molded into a wide range of shapes and sizes for the production of heavy and agricultural equipment.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is a thermoplastic substance renowned for its extreme stiffness and strength. This makes it the perfect material to use when creating large machinery parts that need to be stable and strong. ABS is a common choice for applications where the equipment is subjected to rough use because it is also extremely impact resistant.
ABS is a popular option for the production of intricate equipment components since it also has strong dimensional stability and is simple to mold into complex shapes. This plastic is a great option for electrical and electronic applications in large and agricultural machinery since it has outstanding electrical insulation qualities.
Being impact, chemical, and moisture-resistant, polypropylene is a lightweight and strong material. It is the best option for situations where the machinery is subjected to tough environmental conditions because of this. In addition to being a cheap material, polypropylene is a preferred option for constructing heavy and agricultural equipment. The strong resistance to fatigue and abrasion that polypropylene possesses in addition to its longevity makes it a preferred option for situations where the equipment is subject to repeated wear and tear.
This plastic is a great option for electrical and electronic applications in large and agricultural machinery since it has outstanding electrical insulation qualities. Polypropylene is a suitable material for creating heavy and agricultural equipment components because it has strong dimensional stability and is simple to mold into complicated shapes.
Challenges of Using Plastics in Heavy Equipment or Agricultural Applications
Here are some of the most common challenges that are faced when using plastics in heavy or agricultural equipment.
Recycling & Disposal
One of the major challenges associated with the use of plastics in heavy and agricultural equipment is the lack of effective recycling and disposal methods. Due to the complexity of these materials, it is often difficult to recycle and dispose of them in an environmentally friendly manner. This leads to an accumulation of plastic waste in landfills, which can have negative impacts on the environment.
The production and use of plastics in heavy and agricultural equipment also contribute to environmental concerns such as greenhouse gas emissions and oil depletion. The production of plastic requires large amounts of energy, and the use of fossil fuels contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the petroleum-based nature of plastics makes them a finite resource that will eventually run out.
Another challenge associated with the use of plastics in heavy and agricultural equipment is the cost. The production of plastic requires a significant investment in energy and raw materials, and the cost of these inputs can be high. Additionally, the cost of manufacturing equipment components from the plastic can be higher than the cost of traditional materials, such as metal or wood.
Plastics are Indispensable In Heavy Industry
Plastics offer a combination of strength, durability, and versatility that is unmatched by traditional materials. However, there are also several challenges associated with the use of plastics, including a lack of effective recycling and disposal methods, environmental concerns related to production and use, and cost. Despite these challenges, the benefits of plastics make them a viable option for manufacturers in the heavy and agricultural equipment industries.