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The Plastics Advantage


The Plastics Advantage eBook (1)In a previous blog, we wrote about the subtle shift towards plastic in an industry traditionally dominated by metal. 

To further support our observation that plastic can successfully replace metal parts in the transportation industry, we conducted our own case study analyzing the ways that plastic parts can tangibly improve upon metal in transportation vehicles such as trucks, vans and buses.

We found that plastic parts, which have their own unique properties, do indeed have an edge over traditional parts in transportation applications.

Plastic's Invulnerability to Rust

One of the clearest advantages of plastic over metal is its invulnerability to rust. A natural enemy to most metals, rust weakens and compromises the strength and functionality of many transportation parts. Vehicles that drive through salt and snow environments are especially prone to damage due to corroded metal.

One solution is to use parts made of plastic, which are just as durable and will “contribute to a positive opinion of the product over an extended period of time,” leading to higher resale values.

Reducing Fuel Consumption with Plastic

Another benefit of plastic parts is fuel economy. Plastic is significantly lighter than metal, which makes a difference when it comes to gas efficiency. A vehicle with lighter parts will consume less gas on the road and require fewer fill-ups along the way.

This is an especially compelling benefit, considering the fact that “fuel expense has become a main concern to end users.” We’ve found that certain plastic parts are just as effective as their metal counterparts in functionality, durability and strength. With the added advantage of lightness, however, trucks, vans and buses with plastic parts are better for the environment and for project budgeting.

Design Flexibility in Plastic

Plastic permits more design flexibility than metal, which allows designers to create parts that are also more aerodynamic and aesthetically appealing. Plastic can be molded into smoother shapes than metal, which contributes to a softer, and perhaps more pleasing, appearance. Manufacturers can take advantage of this feature to “create an individual and distinctive appearance… [and] emphasize brand characteristics.”

The malleability of plastic also allows for simplified parts that reduce the drag from air moving past the vehicle. This, in turn, cuts down the amount of fuel consumed during transportation. 

In the past, McClarin has constructed plastic side cladding, sleeper housing and fairing for vehicles in “numerous shapes…not economically possible in metal,” that were not only aesthetically pleasing and aerodynamic, but also reduced the number of parts in the whole assembly.

Learn More About the Plastics Advantage

In our case study, titled The Plastics Advantage, we explored the varying ways in which plastics outperform metal in the transportation industry. Metal parts are replaced with plastic ones in rigs, for example, with great success.

We’ve built plastic bumpers, hoods, cladding and fenders. Our parts stood up to tests of durability and functionality while imparting additional benefits such as fuel efficiency and design flexibility.  To read more about the transportation industry’s conversion to plastics, feel free to download a copy of the case study from our website.  

Download Our eBook:The Plastics Advantage

Working Backwards: How Reverse Engineering Leads to Forward Thinking


Reverse engineering is a process used by some manufacturers to improve an existing product. As its name suggests, the process involves disassembling a product in order to analyze its operation, structure and design. It is a process of discovery that requires thorough examination and deductive reasoning—efforts that are rewarded by knowledge that can be used to cut costs, enhance quality and shorten production times.

Fotosearch k3676073 (1)At the start of the process, engineers will thoroughly inspect and disassemble a product to determine how it works. During this step, they analyze the workings of the product and gather technical information. This information is then used in the next step to design the plans for a new or modified version of the original product. The final step of the reverse engineering process is when the manufacturing process begins.

In many instances, reverse engineering leads to improvements in the original component or design. At McClarin Plastics, we are well versed in the process of reverse engineering.  Our expert engineering staff has been involved in multiple reverse engineering projects, all with great success.

We rely on the reverse engineering process to demonstrate how plastic components can be used in place of metals. We take all factors of the original material into account, such as strength, durability, and chemical resistance, and design a new piece in a plastic composite that equals the original. In some cases, the new plastic composites can even exceed the functionality of their metal counterparts. Reverse engineering allows us to show a client how plastics can successfully replace metals in an existing product.

If you would like more information on our engineering services, please contact McClarin Plastics today!


What Are The Benefits To Using a Manufacturer In The Design Phase?Find out here!

Streamlining the Process by Utilizing JIT Manufacturing


Fotosearch k12216608Popularized by Toyota in the 1970s, Just In Time (JIT) manufacturing is a production strategy that allows manufacturers to effectively manage inventory and business costs. Implemented correctly, this strategy minimizes waste in terms of time, inventory and scrap.

Companies that utilize JIT manufacturing do not make products until orders are placed. Put simply, production is driven purely by customer demand. One of the biggest advantages of this strategy is that it eliminates the hidden costs of maintaining an inventory, especially if inventory turnover is slow.

The successful implementation of JIT also confers a host of other benefits. Reducing or eliminating inventory improves the flow of goods from the warehouse to shelves. It saves money on overhead by removing the need to pay workers in times of low or no demand. It also reduces the risk of inventory expiring and minimizes the amount of storage space needed for successful operation.

The JIT model requires careful monitoring of prices, quality, demand and supply. For the model to work, the cost of parts must remain relatively stable to eliminate the need to buy in advance of price hikes. Similarly, quality must remain stable so there is no need to stockpile high quality parts.  Demand for products must be steady to ensure optimal operation. Lastly, supply must be stable so that the manufacturer can meet its production schedules.

McClarin Plastics follows the JIT model for all custom manufacturing projects. The streamlined service produces everything from individual plastic components to complete assemblies for OEMs, so that they are free to focus on their core business. Through this model, we are able to reduce overall costs by carefully managing orders and inventory levels. The JIT model enables us to successfully complete each order to exact specifications in a timely manner.

Accepted globally as a successful production strategy, JIT manufacturing allows manufacturers like McClarin Plastics to pass on the benefits of a streamlined manufacturing service to all of our clients.

For more information on McClarin’s contract manufacturing services, please contact us today!


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The High Value of Contract Manufacturing


McClarin Plastics is a Contract ManufacturerIn today’s challenging manufacturing environment, many industries are rethinking their processes and taking a closer look at their manufacturing methods. To stay competitive, many industrial manufacturers find they must streamline and consolidate. Working with a contract manufacturer like McClarin Plastics, Inc. is like having a partner that you can collaborate with to keep your core business your main focus.

McClarin Plastics’ contract manufacturing is a specialized area of manufacturing. It goes beyond just product manufacturing: As a full service contract manufacturer we incorporate designing as well, making for a hybrid Design-Build approach that increases the overall benefit to the customer.

As many manufacturers may realize when it comes to product development, it is often not viable to maintain a full-time design staff.  In working with McClarin, we offer those services in a cost effective way by providing expert design capabilities while maintaining reasonable product costs.

McClarin’s hybrid design-build capabilities provide custom contract manufacturing for a wide variety of industries. Our clients have come to understand and value the services McClarin brings to their businesses. One such client realized a 30% growth in their business after partnering with McClarin. How? By contracting out the manufacturing of a fiberglass housing component, they saved the money they would have spent on expanding fiberglass operations to accommodate the need for increased housings. McClarin now supplies this company with housings that are assembled and ready for integration onto a combustion unit.

Contract manufacturers have the ability to streamline core business and help manufacturers focus on productivity. With expertise and valuable resources available to us, McClarin Plastics’ contact manufacturing brings together designing and manufacturing capabilities under one roof. We will help you keep that competitive edge while partnering with you on any product or component.

Please contact McClarin Plastics today to learn about how our hybrid design-manufacture capabilities can benefit, and streamline your process. 

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