High-performance nylon parts

Louise Smyth

Injection moulding and extrusion are widely known methods for manufacturing plastic parts.  However, due to high moulding and set-up costs these methods are used to produce very high quantities of plastic parts for medicine, packaging or for example automotives industries. Wherever and whenever demanding individual technical applications are required, high-performance plastics such as the PA 12C Lauramid® are used for very customer-specific solutions. This special polyamide is cast without pressure to make semi-finished or net-shape parts.

Components in small dimensions as well as in large volumes can both be realized using cast Lauramid®. Especially big components with big wall thickness are suitable for the pressure-less casting process. Lauramid® can also be cast smaller, or even very small. As is the case for the bearing rollers between 15 and 30 mm in diameter used in sliding doors in vehicles.

Lauramid® was invented in company’s own laboratories: An initially almost aqueous melt is created on a laurinlactam basis according to a formula with specific activators and catalysts known only to the Elteka experts. This melt is then filled into cast moulds. These melts can then be formed in almost any way, and their material can be modified to have a positive influence on material properties – making them food-safe, for example.

Semi-finished products or finished parts
Perfect semi-finished products or finished parts can only be made from PA 12C when numerous factors come together. This starts with the exact pre-heating of the moulds, continues with temperature-stable crystallization processes right through to the precisely controlled cooling-down phases. One of the special features of this casting method: the Lauramid® melt crystallizes without pressure in the moulds by means of a controlled chemical reaction. The advantage of this method for the finished cast parts is that they have a very low stress level. Thus, either semi-finished products are produces (which are post-processed to the need of the customer or processed by the customer themselves) or near net-shape components are directly cast in the mould. The latter method is ideal if either a lot of post-processing work or a lot of material can be saved. This is often times the case with hollow components such as pipe bends or robot arms and joints for instance, or with components with changing wall thicknesses and complex free-form surfaces.

Another major advantage of the material and this production method is the possibility of casting inseparable metal reinforcements or hubs. This comes into play not only in rollers and gear wheels but also in many special parts.

Large variety of material properties meets different demands
The outstanding material properties of Lauramid® include a high breaking strength and wear resistance, low weight, the lowest water absorbance of all polyamides, excellent gliding properties and comprehensive chemical resistance. This cast polyamide can even be used in sensitive fields such as medicine or food production, or for applications with extreme fluctuations in temperature. Lauramid® is resistant to chemical cleaning agents and can also be used without lubricants. More information