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What Are The Advantageous Properties Of Polymers Over Metals?

Plastics are often the “go-to” materials for fabricating components and finished products—from consumer goods to medical equipment. With thousands of polymer choices, each with unique mechanical properties, plastics are a diverse class of materials.

Where once upon a time metals were used for casings, gears, frames, and other crucial parts, plastics have taken the lead, and with good reason. Overall, polymer materials have much more to offer manufacturers than metal nowadays.

The Benefits of Using Plastics over Metals

Here are some of the main benefits of using plastics as an alternative to metals for various manufacturing situations:

Lower Costs

Plastic components are produced and manufactured at a far lower cost than metal ones. As a result, no matter how many parts are needed in a production cycle, plastics are consistently more affordable than metal by comparison.

Because they are lighter and more resistant to corrosion and chemical attacks than metals, plastics are also cheaper to store and transport. In addition, modern plastics are incredibly robust, reducing the likelihood of sustaining damage during use or shipping, further increasing their cost-effectiveness.

The tooling process for plastics is also quicker. This results in a shorter manufacturing cycle and cost, which can be passed on to the consumer.


While every plastic has unique characteristics, plastics offer greater flexibility than metals. As a result, they are unquestionably a better alternative for sectors requiring more designs, textures, and geometry options.

A critical benefit of plastics over metals is their easy moldability while still providing durability that is comparable to metal. With the same efficiency as metals, modern processes like plastic injection molding enable the creation of complicated mold designs and parts with the same reliability—or greater—as metal.

Plastic is often preferred over metal for industrial items that need complicated geometries, visually pleasing designs, or lightweight properties.


One of the main issues for several industries, including automotive, aerospace, and medical, has been reducing part weight. Plastic resins are lighter than metallic equivalents because they have a significantly lower specific gravity.

Less weight translates into less cost for shipping, fewer fuel requirements for vehicles, and easier portability and installation. In many cases, the lighter weight does not impact expectations for strength and durability.


One of the main benefits of utilizing plastics over metals is their excellent resistance to chemical, physical, weather, and environmental threats. Metals typically have a long lifespan; however, their susceptibility to chemical and environmental damage can lead to breakdown and failure over time.

In contrast, many plastics are more resilient—particularly to moisture and UV radiation—and enjoy a longer lifespan. This means less need for replacement and more excellent overall usability in the product it’s a part of.


Plastics are recyclable, which is likely one of the main benefits of using plastic instead of metal. In addition, used plastics can be melted and recycled numerous times, making them a more cost-effective option for business owners.

Recycled plastics can be used to make new materials. In contrast, once damaged, metal pieces must be thrown away and replaced with new ones. This makes plastics more easily accessible to replenish raw materials for production.

More Efficient Manufacturing

Compared to manufacturing using metals, the cycle time for plastic is notably shorter. In addition, designers can combine various components into a single mold when working with plastics, which shortens the total production cycle and helps to keep production and labor costs down.


There are inherent dangers to making parts out of metal. Industries that use metals in any way can experience multiple accidents and injuries. On the other hand, plastics are deemed safer because of their relative softness and smoother edges.

Polymers As the Manufacturing Element of Choice

Polymers are a field that is constantly changing. However, plastics have significant advantages over metals, including lightweight design, sturdiness, thermal conductivity, and quicker manufacture.

Plastics are quickly replacing their metal counterparts in various sectors, including transportation, healthcare, agriculture, aerospace, and hospitality, thanks to the developing of novel polymers.

The strategic use of plastics—with continued work on recycling and reuse—in various industries will have numerous benefits in the years to come.

The plastics experts at Piedmont Plastics are on hand to answer any of your questions and help you choose the ideal material for your project. Contact us now for additional details on how our wide selection of polymer materials can satisfy your production needs.