Project Description

Allegheny Performance Plastics® Logo

Ball End Retainer


Fortune 500 powertrain component manufacturer for the heavy-duty truck industry


Design and manufacture a ball end retainer using a high-performance plastic that can withstand the friction and wear and load between the connection of a rod and a clutch in a tractor trailer application.  Before the customer approached Allegheny Performance Plastics for a solution, the customer was attempting to use a nylon injection molded part that was not passing endurance tests. The nylon part was deforming and experiencing fretting and delamination.

The customer needed an immediate and cost-effective solution for an important product launch.


Allegheny Performance Plastics conducted extensive testing upfront as its engineering team knew the part shape was going to be too complex to allow for machine prototypes.  While high-performance plastics are excellent for wear and load applications, this part required an undercut that would require flexibility so it could snap onto the ball end of a rod.  High-performance plastics are extremely stiff — and getting the retainer to snap on required just the exact design and material selection.

Numerous tests were performed on materials to ensure the material selected provided the correct balance between mechanical strength and cross-sectional thickness.  The Allegheny Performance Plastics team conducted tribological testing, finite element analysis (FEA) and moldflow simulations to validate design and material selection.

With machined prototypes not an option, Allegheny Performance Products built the tooling to support its product design.  To the customer’s surprise, the initial tooling yielded a product that passed endurance testing.  With the new design validated, the part was ready to go into production.


Allegheny Performance Plastics talented engineers and in-house testing capabilities led to a very successful product development — as the customer could launch its new product on time. After the project, the customers project manager stated, “This was the most successful plastics project that I have ever been involved with.”  Without Allegheny Performance Plastics solution, the customer would not have made it into production on time.