We’ve discussed custom medical cart aesthetics multiple times on this blog—from what physical attributes make a sleek, marketable cart, to balancing functionality with aesthetics. We often advocate the use of sheet metal in custom medical cart designs, combined with our supply chain management and outsourcing partners, HUI prides itself on seamless integration between sheet metal and plastics.
What are the financial and practical differences between sheet metal and plastic?
Fabricated sheet metal doesn’t usually require custom tooling, which makes it the more economical option for low volume products. Sheet metal also has a shorter lead time because setups are a lot less involved and the material is more readily available.
However, plastic is lighter, which—depending on the purpose of your custom medical cart—may or may not be something required to remain in-line with some IEC 3rd edition 60601-1 standards. Arguably, plastic just looks cooler because the involved processes allow for more unique shapes that will undoubtedly attract attention from a marketing standpoint.
Why integrate fabricated sheet metal with thermoform or
injection molded plastic?
In short, fabricated sheet metal is readily available, cost-efficient and provides structural integrity. Combine this with plastic, which weighs less and gives your industrial designer a lot more artistic leeway, and you’ve got a highly functional and aesthetic piece of work.
The choice to integrate these two materials isn’t necessarily a difficult one as its dependent on your cart’s purpose and tooling budget, but having a seamless transition between the two will decide whether or not your product is successful.
Tips for a seamless integration between metal and plastic
Strategizing paint and textures with complimentary and matching colors for metal and plastic is a great way to integrate these materials. Hide fasteners by having materials overlap or design a snap-in feature that allows plastic to pop into the sheet metal structure.
HUI’s team of cart experts can help you determine which material choices will work best for building your medical cart based on your specific application, price point, and sales volume. Contact us today to get your project underway.