Hinges are one of the most common types of mechanical bearings. Consisting of two interconnected leafs, they are used to connect two objects while allowing for a limited angle of rotation. While most hinges are made of metal, though, others are made of plastic. Plastic may sound like an unconventional material for hinges, but it offers several benefits.
#1) Doesn’t Rust
You don’t have to worry about plastic hinges rusting. Rusting only occurs in metal objects, particularly iron and iron alloys. There is no iron in plastic hinges. Rather, they are made of plastic, which is completely rust- and corrosion-proof. This makes plastic hinges a popular choice of humid environments.
#2) Supports Custom Shapes and Sizes
Because they are made of plastic, plastic hinges support custom shapes and sizes. They are often made through molding. Compression molding, for example, is one of the ways that manufacturers make plastic hinges. They’ll fill a mold cavity with heated and pressurized plastic. After allowing the plastic to cool, the newly created casting is ejected. Molding processes like compression molding allow for the creation of plastic hinges in custom shapes and sizes.
#3) Little to No Friction
Another benefit of using plastic hinges involves friction or lack thereof. Normally, hinges generate friction as they rotate. Opening and closing a hinge will result in friction around its knuckle. Plastic hinges, though, generate far less friction than traditional metal hinges. You can open and close a plastic hinge countless times without fear of it experiencing friction-related wear and tear. Plastic hinges last a long time thanks to their ability to generate little or no friction.
#4) Living Hinges
You can find living hinges made of plastic. Living hinges are those that don’t contain a knuckle or pins. Most hinges, of course, are joined together with a pin. They feature teeth that interlock together on the sides. Once interlocked, they can be secured by placing a pin through the center of the knuckles. Living hinges are different in the sense that they consist of a single piece of material without any knuckles or pins. Most living hinges are made of plastic.
Plastic hinges are inexpensive. While prices vary, they usually cost less than traditional metal hinges. If you’re looking to buy multiple hinges for a commercial application, you may want to choose plastic for this reason. Plastic hinges are easier to produce, and they are made of cheaper materials, than traditional metal hinges. The end result is a lower cost for plastic hinges.