When most people think of telecommunications, they think of long lines of code or bundles…
Telecommunications is an essential part of our society, from the micro-level of sending emails for work to global-scale radio communications. Thus, our telecommunications infrastructure needs to be built from components that are durable, stable, and reliable to keep everything functioning properly, and choosing the right materials to build components is essential. To explore this more deeply, our thermoforming company is sharing the importance of thermoplastics in telecommunications and how they are used.
What Are Thermoplastics?
Thermoplastics are polymers that can change shape when heated without their chemical or molecular structure changing or being affected. These plastics can be heated to a flexible, malleable state and shaped around a mold or a tool to achieve the desired shape, such as in thermoforming. Or the thermoplastic can be melted to a liquid and injected into a three-dimensional mold to manufacture products as in injection molding. Once the plastic cools and hardens, they are still the same material as they were prior to manufacturing, just in a new shape, unlike thermosets whose chemical structure changes when exposed to high temperatures.
Why Choose Thermoplastics for Telecommunications?
While each thermoplastic material has a specific set of benefits and qualities, overall, most thermoplastics used in telecommunication manufacturing offer the following qualities:
- High tensile strength, meaning it holds up under pressure and won't break under tension.
- Low-cost for both the material itself and to manufacture.
- Highly resistant to heat, chemical exposure, moisture, and impact.
- Can be customized to improve functionality, such as adding plasticizers for flexibility or coatings to reduce static or UV damage.
- Weather-resistant, so they can be used indoors and outdoors under harsh conditions.
Most importantly, parts and components used in telecommunications are complex, small, and must be perfectly precise. The best way to manufacture these parts and still make them cost-effective is through thermoforming or injection molding.
Common Thermoplastics Used in Telecommunication Components
The most common thermoplastics used in telecommunications include:
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) can be made more flexible with the addition of plasticizers. This, plus its durability and friction resistance makes it an ideal material to make tubing for wires and cables.
- Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is a hard, rigid thermoplastic known for its impact resistance which is why it's often used for exterior cases for computers, keyboards, and as the backing cases for equipment panels and instruments.
- Polycarbonate (PC) is a transparent, impact-resistant thermoplastic most commonly used as a replacement for glass and can also be used in outdoor WiFi applications. Radio waves pass through polycarbonate allowing the WiFi antenna to be installed within the structure, extending its lifespan and minimizing the likelihood of damage.
- High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (HMWPE) is a lightweight material that is used as a main component in fiber optic submarine cables carrying telephone and digital data from one continent to the next.
Get a Free Quote for Injection Molding and Thermoforming for Telecommunications
We work with telecommunications companies and a wide variety of industries to manufacture custom plastic parts and components through injection molding and thermoforming. Advanced Plastiform, Inc. works with companies across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia.