Polypropylene is used in both household and industrial applications. Its unique properties and ability to adapt to various fabrication techniques make it stand out as an invaluable material for a wide range of uses. Another invaluable characteristic is polypropylene’s ability to function as both a plastic material and as a fiber (like those promotional tote bags that are given away at events, races, etc). Polypropylene’s unique ability to be manufactured through different methods and into different applications meant it soon started to challenge many of the old alternative materials, notably in the packaging, fiber, and injection molding industries. Its growth has been sustained over the years and it remains a major player in the plastic industry worldwide.
At Creative Mechanisms, we have used polypropylene in a number of applications across a range of industries. Perhaps the most interesting example includes our ability to CNC machine polypropylene to include a living hinge for prototype living hinge development. Polypropylene is a very flexible, soft material with a relatively low melting point. These factors have prevented most people from being able to properly machine the material. It gums up. It doesn’t cut clean. It starts to melt from the heat of the CNC cutter. It typically needs to be scraped smooth to get anything close to a finished surface. But we have been able to solve this problem which allows us to create novel prototype living hinges out of polypropylene.