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5 Benefits To Using Nylon 6 For Your Injection Molded Components

by Jared De Hooge

Designing plastic parts for a new piece of manufacturing equipment or a new consumer product usually starts with material selection since the particular thermoplastic you choose determines the limits for the injection mold. Nylon 6, also known as polyamide 6, is a popular choice for all sorts of internal moving parts like bushings and gears in small equipment. Before settling on this plastic as your preferred material, carefully compare both the advantages and disadvantages that come along with it.

Strength for Challenges

You can trim down the weight of a product or piece of equipment by replacing metal bushings and gears with plastic components, but only if the replacements can last just as long under normal use. While the exact strength of each piece will vary depending on how it's designed and the thinness of the walls, this form of nylon remains one of the stronger options that also features other important characteristics like low surface friction. Your injection molding manufacturer may also be able to create a custom blend of nylon 6 with additives to further increase the strength if you're going to use the component under heavy load.

Variety for Diverse Applications

Nylon 6 is a generic formulation of nylon, so it's available in more than one format to meet the needs of a wide range of applications. Options include

  • Glass filled mixtures, in which the glass fibers add strength, make the plastic more rigid, and create a smoother surface
  • Mineral filled mixtures, options that offer increased stiffness and less warping
  • Conductive nylon 6, a good choice for parts that are essential to electrical operation
  • Toughened and high temperature mixtures, which rely on chemical additives to help the parts turn out perfectly after the most intense injection molding processes.

Recyclability for Savings

Aside from reducing waste by lasting as long as possible, nylon 6 also offers a great opportunity for reclaiming unused material during the manufacturing process. This nylon blend is particularly useful for recycling because it maintains its crucial conductive and chemical resistance features through the reclamation process. However, you will lose some of the material's strength and reinforcements as the plastic is melted and recombined again. Consider if there are other parts that need less durability or stiffness that you can manufacture from the reclaimed nylon 6, or find a buyer for the material if your manufacturing processes create a large amount of recycled material.

Resistance for Chemicals

On top of all the strength and durability offered by this type of thermoplastic, it's also great for handling caustic and corrosive chemicals. This makes it a better choice than most metals and even some other plastics for parts used in a demanding manufacturing environment. Even parts for a piece of home kitchen equipment can benefit from chemical resistance, especially if you're planning to use the injection molded component where it will be exposed to acids and other damaging liquids every time it's in use.

Flexibility for Longer Lifespans

Finally, nylon 6 is known for its ability to handle intermittent loads, such as the shocks delivered to gears inside an industrial tumbler or grinder. This is due to the fact that the plastic has great flexibility and resistance to wear caused by bending. While it's not quite flexible enough to use for a toy or other product that is being constantly bent back and forth, these characteristics are still essential for longevity and durability in mechanical and pressure-bearing applications.

Of course, nylon 6 has plenty of limitations too. Let an experienced injection molding expert examine your molds and determine the compatibility of this thermoplastic and your plans before specifying this nylon variety in your order to a production company. Contact a company like Accurate  Products Inc. for more information.