Replacing Aluminum with Thermoplastic in Heat Sinks Cuts Cost by 20-30 %

With LED lighting market demand quickly rising, solely devoted to thermoplastic engineering, Nytex Composite Products Co. has launched thermoplastics to be used for heat sinks. Compared with traditional aluminum heat sinks, the use of thermoplastics will reduce manufacturing costs by 20-30 percent. Nytex president Chen Xunsen pointed out that thermoplastic radiation ratio is 7 to 8 times higher than aluminum and provides better performance. In addition, injection molding costs for thermoplastic is lower than metals and has higher production efficiency. It is hopeful that the cost for the entire system will continue to drop. In providing service to their customers, Nytex will also collaborate with them to develop heat sink molds to make products with higher performance/price ratio for use in the LED lighting market.

Nytex president Chen Xunsen. (LEDinside photo)

During his interview with LEDinside, Chen pointed out that early in 2009 Nytex had already begun R&D for thermoplastics for use in LED products. With the market flourishing in 2013, Nytex officially launched their thermoplastic products after 4 years of R&D. Chen believes that the radiation ratio for thermoplastics is higher than aluminum. The outside of the casing also helps in the dissipation of heat. Although heat conduction in thermoplastics is not as good as metals, thermoplastics can be designed with an aluminum addition. Manufacturing cost for thermoplastics for use in heat sinks is significantly lower than aluminum.

In speaking about the company’s opportunity to enter into the LED market, Mr. Chen expressed that that year he had seen an article discussing the developmental possibilities for use of thermoplastics in heat sinks for LED products. The company had then decided to make use of technological capabilities for advanced plastic engineering that had been cultivated over the past 25 years. The company went through continual trial runs in the initial stages of development and had developed over 3000 types of formulas. First, the company needed to consider the cooling efficiency of the materials, pay close attention to the color and performance of the plastic as well as calculate manufacturing costs. At the same time, conducting recycling tests for the thermoplastic revealed that the difference between recycled thermoplastic and new material was relatively small which could ultimately help lower material costs for customers.

Lower Manufacturing Costs Make Thermoplastics the Perfect Choice to Meet LED Lighting Needs

Manufacturing cost is what Nytex is confident will be the leading factor in replacing aluminum as the material in heat sinks with thermoplastics. “Cost is our number one priority when making our materials," said Chen. "It doesn’t matter how good or beautiful the product is if it does not meet the customer’s cost demands.”

The price for every kilogram of thermoplastic is around US$7-10 which is 20-30 percent less than aluminum. That being said, the cost of time the customer takes in proceedings also needs to be factored. The use of surface of aluminum for heat sinks must go through a process of polishing, buffing, drilling, and anodizing. Comparatively, thermoplastics are created completely through injection molding. Through this process, Nytex developed thermoplastic raw material that causes minimal wear to equipment. Due to this, manufacturing costs for consumers is significantly lowered.

Aside from thermoplastic raw materials and manufacturing cost, other factors consumers consider is the heat dissipation performance. Although heat conduction in thermoplastics is not as good as metals, through temperature tests conducted in Nytex’s laboratory, Nytex has ensured that thermoplastic material used in 8watt and 10 watt LED bulbs both have a temperature lower than 80 degrees C which accords with LED lighting industry standards. With radiation ratio for thermoplastic being higher than metals, thermal energy is quickly dissipated. This safeguards users against being burnt by the heat sink when replacing bulbs. This is important for customers as safety is a number one concern.

Nytex Hopes to Provide Customers with More Than Just Technology

The thermoplastic injection molding process is much different than with regular plastic. It involves multiple processing techniques. With the cooperation between Nytex and LedLink, Nytex learned a lot about the correlation between optics and head conduction efficiency. This help in the company’s products being applied to LED lighting products like candle lights, PAR lights, and high bay lights.

Chen pointed out that there is a lot of interest among Chinese manufacturers in adopting thermoplastic. The company has many Chinese customers that they are currently in development with. He also mentioned that LED manufacturers use aluminum as the main material for use in heat sink and that the trend for using thermoplastic is only just starting to take off. Use of thermoplastics by Taiwanese manufacturers is on the rise, but due to high mold production costs, they are more hesitant than their Chinese counterparts. Chen expresses that development costs for molds can be around NT$300,000. Therefore, aside from providing customers with small scale samples, the company also cooperates with them to develop molding together. This increases customer R&D burden.

Nytex understands the considerations customers take when thinking about adopting new materials for molds. With Nytex vast knowledge of plastics thanks to many years in the industry, the company wants to act as more than just a provider to customers but a source of information and service as well.

In order to provide customers with service and information for materials, Nytex is constantly making adjustments to the company’s customer strategy. Chen is confidence in the materials his company provides. He said, “Our collaboration with customers reduces their risks.”The goal is to help customers decrease mold development cost risks. The company upholds the idea that everyone shares success. He believes that cooperation with consumers builds an even better cooperative relationship and together they can advance in the LED market.

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