Product Spotlight: Pile Driving Cushions

Redco IRG (impact-resistant grade) nylon pile driving cushions are one of our core products for the construction industry. These pads are hand-made to fit into each customer’s pile stacks and absorb the impact of the hammer, dissipating the energy as heat. Unlike regular grades of nylon, which are brittle to impact, IRG nylon is filled with plasticizers and heat-dissipation additives which allow it to absorb the huge impact involved. The cushions can be manufactured for any foreseeable size, typical tolerances are (+/-) 1/8″ or 1/16″ with the standard color blue. Typical manufacturing time is 5-6 weeks to ship an order.

For more information on our Redco Pile Driving Cushions click here to view our literature or contact us for a quote.

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Three Preparation Steps For Part Design

So, you have a part you want made out of plastic (or rubber). You have a drawing, maybe a CAD file. You know what the part needs to do.

What now?

This is the stage where you need to make the leap from idea to practical. To get the part finalized, material specified, and actually get the part into production. What information do you need to have to finalize everything?

1.) Know Your Operational Environment

This is absolutely critical and something we often need to work through with customers before we make a recommendation. You need to know the complete operational environment for your part. This includes:

  • Min/Max operating temperature
  • Chemical exposure (and how much exposure to each chemical – it matters!)
  • UV-exposure
  • Pressure applied on the part (in PSI)

Depending on the part there may be other critical factors but you should know at least those four.

2.) Know Your Required Tolerances

This is perhaps the most important thing that keeps getting overlooked in part design. Often we’re handed a drawing with metal tolerances (+/- 0.001″) and told to make it (hint: not possible to hold those tolerances). Or, in many cases, customers simply tell us to hold “best” tolerances. Did you know there’s a premium to that? When we work out a quote internally, required tolerances are part of that because of the time and risk involved in hitting our tightest (+/- 0.005″) tolerance. Often a (+/-) 0.03″ is suitable for many applications and since it will save you money, it’s worth it to know the demands of your application.

3.) Know Your Quantities – Buy In Bulk

Quantity usually means price break when it comes to parts. Customers will often send us a drawing and ask that we quote a couple pieces, ostensibly as samples. The issue is that the cost for prototypes will be inflated compared to the prototypes…And sometimes customers just think the price would remain constant. So know an accurate number of how many parts you will need once in production and get both prototypes and production runs quoted at once for a clear picture of your costs.

For more information on how to buy your parts in the most economical way possible, please contact us today.

 

 

 

5 Things You Need To Know For Your Twin-Wall Polycarbonate Install

Twin-wall polycarbonate is a long-lasting and cost effective product that can provide years of enjoyment in a greenhouse or roof awning application. The product is durable, UV-resistant, and relatively inexpensive. However, there are some very important things you need to know to maximize the success of the product and avoid premature degradation.

Only use mild soap and water to clean

While polycarbonate is very strong in regards to impact, it is prone to scratching. Using harsh chemicals or dirty water could mar the surface. Make sure to change the soapy water often while washing the twin wall to avoid grit damaging the surface.

Always install with the film facing outwards

Only one side of twin wall polycarbonate comes with a UV-protective film, which is often clear or light blue. The other side is often masked to protect against scratches and UV but meant to be peeled once installed.

Use a rubber coated washer when you fasten

When you screw in the twin wall to the frame be sure the screws have rubber coated washers. These reduce the pressure on the plastic because remember it is made up of thin walls.

Store in a dark area

If you’re not installing the twin wall right away, store it in a dark area like a garage. The UV mask does not last forever and you will be using up needlessly the sun exposure meant for the product when installed. In addition, the masking can become difficult to remove when exposed to light and heat.

Don’t worry about tapping a large screw hole

Twin wall polycarbonate expands and contracts due to heat to the ratio of 1/8″ per 100 degrees Fahrenheit of change. Having a larger screw hole will provide some important ‘give’ during temperature fluctuations.

For assistance and a quotation on your polycarbonate twin-wall needs, please contact us today.

Plastic Angle

Out of the many parts and plastic profiles requested of Redwood Plastics and Rubber, plastic angle keeps coming up. This is typically plastic bent at a 90 degree angle halfway. This is primarily used for protection of a surface or object if machined out of UHMW or nylon plastic. However, much stronger (more rigid) fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) angle is available and stocked by our supplier. A common example of a FRP angle application would be to bolt it in on the edge of a platform at a train station. FRP angle is available in a variety of widths and thicknesses with 1/4″ and 3/8″ thick being the most common. It is available in all three primary EXTREN resin types (general purpose polyester, fire-retardant polyester, and vinyl ester). These angle profiles are more expensive than steel or aluminum angle; however, for certain applications such as those that demand electric or radio non-conductivity, plastic angle may be your only choice.

To get a quote on an angle profile is easy. Firstly, we need to know the width of each side of the angle, they are not always the same! We then need to know both the thickness and the material required. If you need assistance selecting a material, just ask, but me sure to be ready to answer questions about your application such as what the angle is doing, if there is any chemical or high heat exposure, etc. Angle profiles of all plastic types are typically sold by the 10 foot length; however, there are cases where we can supply shorter or longer profiles.

For a quote on your plastic angle needs, please contact us today.

 

Space Shuttle Challenger and Rubber: A Cautionary Case Study

The space shuttle “Challenger” explosion in 1986 was a seminal moment for many Americans. The launch was shown on live TV and there was a high amount of interest in teacher Christa McAullife being on the flight. The shuttle exploded 73 seconds into the flight resulting in the deaths of the entire crew. An immediate investigation was launched and it was determined that a failed rubber o-ring system used as seals on the solid rocket boosters led to the explosion. The launch was on an unusually cold day – the o-ring seals were qualified for use at no less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit but the temperature got as low as 18 degrees Fahrenheit the night before.

Prior to launch several engineers attempted to warn against launching due to this reason. The engineers believed that the cold temperatures would weaken the rubber and also lead to a poor seal, which would allow hot exhaust gases to potentially escape the boosters and cause catastrophic damage. It had already been determined that the o-rings were being damaged even on successful flights. The engineers were forced by NASA management to try to prove that the application would fail at low temperature, something the engineers could not do because of a lack of testing data.

Your application with rubber will likely not be as critical as the space shuttle o-ring seals; however, even with our applications there is much to learn.

Firstly, is you need to pick a rubber that will work within the parameters of your application. You need to know what chemical exposure and temperature range the part will need to operate in.

Secondly, once you get the parts you need to use them within the parameters that you have specified because if you introduce, for example, new chemicals or operate the part outside of the prescribed temperature range, it may fail!

The third and final thing we can learn is to listen to the product experts who helped recommend a rubber solution to you. If they strongly believe a certain material is required and can give you concrete reasons, you should consider this thoroughly before going in another direction. This is particularly a concern where a desired price may be a determining factor for a purchasing decision, rather than if the rubber is actually suitable or not.

Redwood Plastics and Rubber has rubber experts standing by to help recommend the best product for your application so contact us today.

Why Choose Silicone Rubber?

Silicone is a remarkable variety of rubber that offers some outstanding properties that can make it the clear choice among competing solutions. Firstly, silicone can handle very high temperatures in operation, up to 230°C (446°F). This allows it to maintain its properties at elevated temperatures that many other rubbers will not be able to handle! In addition, it has excellent resistance to UV and weathering, making it outstanding in outdoor applications. This includes heat, cold, freezing, direct sunlight, etc.

Silicone also has a low compression set – this means it can be compressed for a long period of time and will bounce back to close to its original profile when the weight has been removed. Think of this in a sealing application such as a door which is open and closed many times. The silicone will maintain the seal when compressed and will then return to its original form once the door is reopened. Also, the product is food safe and Redwood Plastics and Rubber can supply it in a new FDA blue variety.

There is a silicone rubber shortage currently in North America but not here! Redwood Plastics and Rubber carries significant levels of silicone stock in our central warehouse including FDA blue. For a discussion on how silicone rubber can benefit your application or for a quotation please contact us today.

Rubber: It’s Not Just Tires!

When you think of “rubber” what is the first thing that comes to mind? It’s probably car tires, perhaps tires on your bike, but the point is “just tires” for many people. However, rubber is so much more than just tires. Rubber is used across a wide variety of industries performing in countless applications. Some are interesting, such as in prosthetics or medical devices. Others such as belt skirting on an ore conveyor are perhaps less interesting to the casual eye. Used in everything from mining, to sawmills, to even space – rubber should not be discounted as a simple material for tires! Gaskets, rollers, flanges, molded parts, wear parts, anti-vibration applications, electrical insulators – rubber has a place in all of those applications.

The short video below will display more applications that this versatile material can be used in. Maybe it will jump start your mind for a rubber application you might have?