- Plastics machining
- Plastic manifolds, why and when?
Manifolds, also called control blocks or block valves, are used in all kind of industries. Their main purpose is to combine and route gasses and fluids of all kind within one piece of material. Manifolds are frequently applied when multiple channels are needed to establish an integrated design. Many advantages over conventional techniques for transporting gases and fluids within a machine or process persist. Depending on the application one can opt for a plastic manifold as well. But what are plastic manifolds, when are they designed in plastics, and how are they manufactured?
There are plenty of opportunities to design in plastic manifolds. At BKB Precision we have almost 40 years’ experience in plastics machining at a very high level. As a result of this experience, manufacturing custom high-quality plastic manifolds, has become one of our core competences.
A manifold is always a customized solution; BKB Precision can help you to get the most out of your manifold. We would be glad to advise you in any way during your design process, but preferably up front.
When can a plastic manifold be an advantage?
Plastic valve blocks have an integrated design and are therefore more compact than a product that is made up of individual components. Compared to valve blocks made from metals, plastic manifolds can have a number of advantages:
- On average it is a cost-saving solution compared to the use of hoses and couplings;
- Plastics have a significantly lower specific weight compared to metal or aluminum, therefore plastic manifolds saves weight which can be particularly advantageous for highly dynamic applications;
- Our experience enables an optimized smooth channel design and relatively large and constant channels and bends. This can have a significant positive impact on the overall performance of the manifold. But it also significantly reduces vibrations;
- Depending on the chosen plastics an excellent chemical resistance can be achieved;
- Due to maximum freedom in design the perfect fit an function can be achieved.
Suitable plastics for manifolds
At BKB Precision we work with a wide range of plastic materials: from high performance plastics and engineering plastics up to cost effective polypropylene ones. When selecting the best suitable material for a manifold design, take into account that every plastics has its own specific use case. Below we will highlight these categories and their specific properties.
Manifolds in high performance plastics
- PTFE (Teflon).
Advantages can be:
- Excellent mechanical properties;
- Large temperature range from -190 degrees C to +260 degrees C;
- Very low fumigation (High Purity Applications);
- Low specific weight compared to steel;
- Suited for vacuum applications.
Manifolds in engineering plastics
In addition to the high performance plastics, manifolds in engineering plastics are also possible. However these have less extreme material properties and can often be a good, versatile and cost effective alternative. The following engineering plastics are very well suitable for a manifold design:
- Polycarbonate (PC);
Our way of working
Over the past years, we have noticed that the industry is placing higher demands on products: precision, quality and cost price play an increasingly important role. Thanks to our years of experience, we are the right partner to assist our customers along their design process. We help them to reduce project risks and to create the right solution at the right cost and right time to market.
When you already have a design or preliminary concept, it is always advisable to provide us with a 3D STEP file or PDF file so that we can assess whether specifications are technically feasible and to make a first calculation. If you contact us early in the design process, we can think along with you in such a way that we jointly generate an optimal design for your application.
From your final design, we are able to convert it, with our CAM system, into a processing program and turning/milling strategy in order to manufacture the manifold. Intermediate measurements will take place with which we can guarantee the quality of the manifolds during the manufacturing process and after production has been taken place. Your products will be carefully packed (if necessary to cleanroom requirements) and shipped. When desired, measurement reports are included.
Cleaning and assembly
In addition to an accurate product, we also realize manifolds as a sub-assembly. Here we cover the full supply chain with e.g. fittings and seals in order to increase our value proposition towards our customers. This is particularly important for cleanroom applications (for example, applications within the semiconductor or medical industry). Assembly, packaging and (leak) testing are all equally important components in our production process. From cleaning (ISO class 7 standard), assembly and welding of plastic to gluing, polishing and (cleanroom) packaging: BKB Precision is your partner and happy to relieve you. Our added value (often) benefits efficiency.