Discover plastics in engineering

Plastic solutions for mechanical engineering

Ensinger produces a wide range of engineering plastics which are predominantly used for mechanical applications and components of industrial machinery.

The field of mechanical engineering has traditionally been focused on steel and metal alloys in order to achieve higher mechanical strength and precision of parts. These days, replacing metal with engineering plastics is a common occurrence due to their wide range of benefits. 

Often, high performance plastics have been perceived to be too expensive to use as an alternative. However, the reality is that these special materials can often offer a solution where other traditional materials fail, opening up the doors to improved performance and machine output, thus helping to reduce cost overall.

Plastic is often a convenient solution for mechanical components such as gears, supports, sliding elements, spacers, valve components and many more applications.

Benefits to Mechanical Engineering

Many of the environments that tend to be problematic for metals, requiring the use of special (and expensive) alloys, are in most cases harmless to most plastics.  Wet systems containing salt water, oxidizing agents, or acids, in addition to sterilizing or cleaning processes leave most polymers unaffected.  Regardless of your particular situation, we can help you find the right engineering plastic material to suit these environments without the need for additional corrosion protection.

In some cases, lubrication of mechanical components is not desirable.  For instance in order to prevent contamination of a process, or when regular lubrication is not practical (such as when parts are difficult to reach during maintenance, or experience higher temperatures where lubricants are  less effective). Many plastic materials are able to thrive under these types of preferred dry running conditions with excellent wear resistance.

One of the great advantages of plastic materials, is that they can weigh significantly less than their metal counterparts.  Since Plastic components offer minimized weight, inertia is thus reduced, offering the possibility of higher operating speeds, and furthermore, the energy needed to operate the machines is can be consistently reduced.

Plastics are easy to process by extrusion, injection molding, compression molding and other techniques at relatively low temperatures of approximately 400°C, whereas metals require much higher operating temperatures in the neighborhood of 1,000°C.  In addition, plastics allow for much higher machining feeds and speeds that can considerably reduce production time for mechanical components.

Users often find that along with the aforementioned advantages, engineering plastics will often lead to system cost reductions that will not only simplify and improve machines designs and performance, but will also save money and resources.

Solutions for Mechanical Engineering

Engineering plastics

General purpose, unfilled versions of technical plastics for mechanical applications.

Sliding optimized plastics

Self lubricating materials with special additives to reduce the coefficient of friction and improve wear resistance.

Fiber reinforced materials

Materials with high stiffness, improved mechanical strength and low thermal expansion, due to glass or carbon fiber reinforcement.

Impact resistant materials

Shock resistant materials for applications where components need to withstand frequent impacts without cracking.

Machinable Plastics for Mechanical Engineering

Ensinger offers a complete portfolio of thermoplastic materials suitable for mechanical engineering applications.

TECAPEEK natural

Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) - TECAPEEK natural is a high performance, high temperature, semi-crystalline thermoplastic manufactured by Ensinger...


TECAPEEK PVX black was developed especially for bearing and sliding applications. It is based on a PEEK polymer that has been modified with 10% each of PTFE, graphite and carbon fibres.

TECAST T natural

TECAST T natural cast nylon offers a combination of good mechanical properties, excellent bearing and wear characteristics, and the large-size capabilities of the casting process.

HYDLAR Z natural

HYDLAR possesses a combination of physical properties that cannot be found in any other commercially available engineered plastic.


TECAPET white is formulated to provide improved toughness, and enhanced machinability. The material also offers excellent sliding and wear properties as well as a low coefficient of friction…

TECAMID 66 GF30 natural

PA66 GF30 natural is a 30 % glass fiber reinforced PA 66. It demonstrates outstanding mechanical properties such as higher strength, rigidity, creep strength and dimensional stability.


TECAFORM AH natural acetal is an unfilled porosity free POM-C with a unique balance of physical properties not available in most other thermoplastics.

TECAMID 66 MO grey

The addition of molybdenum disulphide (MoS2) to PA66 nylon produces a material with improved sliding and friction properties...

Case Studies Mechanical Engineering

Composite Robotic Arm

insert made of TECAPEEK natural

Metal replacement with TECAPEEK natural inside a carbon fiber composite robotic arm

In high speed moving components, saving weight is crucial to reducing inertia and improving efficiency. In this case study, a composite robotic arm used for high-speed picking and handling Delta Robots was enhanced by replacing a metal insert with TECAPEEK natural high performance thermoplastic material.

Frequently Asked Questions on Mechanical Engineering materials

  • When changing from metal to plastic, the design of the component should normally be reviewed in order to maximize the benefits of using plastic. Particular attention must be paid to machining tolerances, different mechanical properties that may require design modifications, higher thermal expansion, possible deformations in case of long term applied loads (creep), and changes in properties with temperature.
  • When searching mainly for ease of processing, the most natural and common choice is TECAFORM AH. This material can be machined very quickly, without problems of swarf removal and without excessive fragility. When, in addition to easy machinability, also superior dimensional stability and precision are required, TECAPEEK natural becomes the best choice.

  • The best material for a certain application can be chosen after considering all main working conditions: if the application is static or dynamic, temperature of use, mechanical loads, presence of external factors such as chemicals or exposure to UV, cleaning conditions, etc.

    If you need help in choosing the right material for your application, you may ask to our specialists or check our Material Selector tool.