From Metal to Plastic Parts: Reverse Engineering at Partwell

From Metal to Plastic Parts: Reverse Engineering at Partwell

Many machine components are made from metal, though this material has many qualities, plastic can be a cost-effective alternative.  The option to replace existing metal parts with plastic can have many benefits.  Through the process of reverse engineering, one of our specialities here at Partwell Plastic Engineering.  This method can be used across a broad range of industries.

The process of reverse engineering begins with the deconstruction of the part in question, to gain a comprehensive understanding of how that part is made and its function.  Working closely with the client our team fully examines all aspects of the part to be replaced, with strong wear resistant polymers.  From the sample and/or specification we produce CAD files of the component, then manufacture using our CNC technology.

As previously stated. there are many benefits converting to metal to plastic: plastic is much lighter than metal, leading to lower fuel consumption and reduced structural stress.  Lower manufacturing costs along with plastic material being more widely available, allowing for the component to be manufactured quicker.  Higher strength-to-weight ratio than metal, plastic parts can last longer, further improving cost-effectiveness and productivity.  Reverse engineering allows unique parts to be remade quickly and accurately

A successful recent example of reverse engineering by Partwell involved replacing a brass part (CAM) for a local confectionery company.  They were experiencing problems with this brass part on one of their conveyors.  They found that the part was wearing down at an expediential rate and damaging other tools, they were very expensive to replace all the time.  To replace the OEM brass part there was a 6-10 week lead time, resulting in a machine that could potentially be out of action.   They required a part that fulfilled its function, practical and at a reasonable cost to replace as and when required.  After the initial visit by one of Partwell’s engineers to fully understand the problem and speaking with their Manufacturing Manager, it was soon decided that a conversion from metal to plastic was required.  Oil Filled Nylon was chosen as this provided the necessary lubrication against other parts within the machine eliminating the damage.

Instead of waiting between 6-10 weeks for the part, it was turned around within 48 hours.  Our client was delighted, the machine was not out of action for weeks, the CAM can be replaced cheaper and a lot quicker.

Find out more about reverse engineering on our website or should you need to discuss your unique bespoke requirements, contact the skilled Partwell team on 01254 295707 or email

22nd May 2019, 16:06