Plastics Technology - an Introduction

Shropshire, UK


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Course overview

This course will build your understanding of plastics materials and processing - helping you avoid common causes of product failure, which often result from a lack of material knowledge. As an additional feature delegates are invited to bring in examples of problem mouldings or product failures for general discussion or private consultation.

Gain CPD credits

Smithers is an IOM3 Quality Assured training provider and our courses are approved towards professional development.

Learning outcomes

As a result of attending this course, participants will be able to:

  • Distinguish between the different generic and sub-generic types of plastic and have a basic knowledge of their relative advantages and disadvantages
  • Understand the methodology associated with the effective selection of plastics for specific applications
  • Understand the physical characteristics of plastics, the effects of time, temperature and stress and the implications of those characteristics on the design process
  • Identify and rectify existing or potential product failure regions
  • Identify and rectify potential or existing processing problems
  • Identify and rectify potential or existing joining problems
  • Understand how to better use material data for more effective design through the use of relevant testing and software tools.

Course content

Plastics Materials
  • Classification (thermosets, thermoplastics, semi-crystalline, amorphous), major modifications (fibre reinforced, impact modified, etc.).
  • Properties, characteristics advantages and disadvantages of common plastics.
Common Manufacturing Problems
  • Extrusion
  • Injection moulding
  • Blow moulding
  • Thermo-forming
  • Roto-moulding
Materials Selection
  • Navigating though the many plastics types and thousands of grades available
  • How to understand and use data sheets
  • Advice on drawing up the specification including the hidden requirements, often overlooked, which can result in failure.  
Design for Performance
  • Structural performance of plastics (creep, stress relaxation, fatigue, effect of temperature, ageing, chemical attack), allowable design stresses and strains.
  • Differences betwen short and long term mechanical properties and their impact on application. 
  • Introduction of methodologies to use long term materials data to improve confidence in the performance of a design and minimise the risk of product failure in the long term.
Failure Diagnosis
  • Common causes of failure, brittle fracture (stress cracking, embrittlement, effect of notches, uv degradation, hydrolysis), impact, fatigue

Who will benefit?

Those new to the plastics industry or moving to a new position who need to gain a better understanding of design and development of new products. This course will also benefit anyone responsible for the plastics supply chain and will equip them with the know-how and confidence  necessary in order to work efficiently and effectively and to manage change.
  • Product Designers
  • Product Development Engineers
  • Technical services
  • Quality assurance
  • Component procurement
  • Others involved in the design or development of new products and who need an understanding of the engineering capabilities of plastics
  • Little or no knowledge of plastics materials and processes is assumed.

Presenter information

This course is presented by: Read more about our presenters by clicking on their expert profiles. 

What our delegates say

"Extremely informative, a lot of great knowledge in two days, I would recommend this course to all plastic component design engineers"
Thomas Morrice (NCR)

"Very well prepared and communicated​"
Stephen Joyce (Freudenberg Sealing Technologies)

Questions and queries

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Plastics Technology - an Introduction

Length 2 days