Health and Supply Chain Solutions

We live in very uncertain times with the COVID-19 pandemic and how that has affected our daily lives and our businesses. Many business have sadly closed; however, many of our customers are considered “essential services” and this means not only are they open – but they’re experiencing record demand! Fortunately, Redwood Plastics and Rubber has countless ways we can assist our customers during this special time in history and we wanted to highlight a few:

1.) Food Processing Solutions

With demand for groceries and food at a very high level production – without interruption – is an absolute must. The last thing any food processor wants to deal with now is the headache of broken equipment and lost production. We are ready! With everything from our “Neptune” series of FDA/CFIA compliant blue plastic and rubber, to our metal and x-ray detectable grades of UHMW and acetal, to other excellent downtime-reducing products you probably haven’t heard of. We are experts in the area of solutions for the food processing industry so please rely on us during this time.

You can download our Neptune brochure by clicking here.

2.) Health/Sneeze Guards

Clear plastics, such as acrylic and polycarbonate, are becoming a very hot commodity as grocery stories and other vendors that still need to deal with the public try to protect their employees. While our stock is being sold very quickly currently, we’re doing our best to secure significant quantities to see us through this crisis. We can provide the standard 4′ x 8′ sheets or else cut-to-size.

3.) Conveying Systems

Any online retailer for consumer goods as well as postal and shipping services are seeing record demand. Plastics, particularly anti-static plastics, have a major role to play as conveyor liners promoting the free flow of goods.

4.) Agriculture

The demand on farming and by extension, farm machinery, is going to be very high this year. Redwood Plastics and Rubber has a long history supplying materials and finished parts to agricultural equipment OEMs and we stand ready to consult and supply those required products now.

For consultation on how we can help your business during this extraordinary time, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

Plastics For The Medical Industry

When you think of medical-grade devices what comes to mind? Probably a bunch of odd looking metal instruments gleaming under surgical lights. In fact, plastics have a huge role to play in the medical industry with countless applications where they offer benefits. These applications can include UHMW polyethylene knee or hip joints. In the case of a knee replacement, the UHMW forms the seat of the metal ball joint providing exceptional self-lubricated properties alongside excellent wear properties. In the case of a hip replacement, UHMW can be the entire ball joint, providing a long-lasting, slick, and easy rotation.

Other plastics widely used are Polysulfone, PEEK, and ULTEM. Both can handle high temperatures and sterilization via autoclave. The application in this case tends to be as the handle of medical tools. Specialty tools and sensors can be manufactured with an acrylic or polycarbonate casing. FRP wall panel is everywhere in medical offices and hospitals. Redwood Plastics and Rubber can provide rod/sheet/tube for your medical application or, in many cases, quote completed parts. If you’re interested in our assistance with your medical application, please contact us today.

Four Instances To Select A High Performance Plastic

There are so many choices for performance plastics it can be overwhelming to choose what you require for your application. What complicates things further is that often several grades of plastic may be able to “do the job” but plastics also vary widely in price. If you’re the type of customer who wants the right material for an application but doesn’t want to waste your budget either: how do you choose when to go with a high performance plastic vs. an economy grade? While every application is different there are so good rules of thumb.

1.) When limited maintenance is a factor

High performance plastics tend to resist weathering, chemicals, and temperature longer than lower grade materials. This means they will require replacement less often, less greasing, etc. This is particularly important with parts being put in particularly difficult to access areas or when equipment downtime for maintenance is difficult to schedule.

2.) When loads are high

4000 PSI in operation is typically the ‘transition point’ between going with an engineering-grade plastic and a higher performance plastic. Typical sheave and bearing materials such as nylon, Tuffkast, acetal, and polyurethane should not be used in applications above 4000 PSI and at that point a high performance plastic is strongly recommended.

3.) When steam and hot water are present

We need to make a distinction between intermittent and constant hot water and steam exposure. Certain plastics, such as acetal, can handle limited exposure (a few seconds to few minutes) to hot water and steam and will work just fine in those cases. However, when steam and hot water are constantly present such as in repeated autoclave sterilization, a high performance material is your only choice as there are simply no good options at lower grades. Steam and hot water exposure are major issues for many plastics and it is strongly encouraged you consult with one of our experts about your application when these factors are present.

4.) Areas of high chemical exposure

Chemical exposure can be a major factor in application success. The saturation of a chemical, not just the exposure itself, is key. A certain plastic may resist 20% saturation in air of a certain chemical, yet fail in 70% exposure to the same chemical. If you are working with strong acids, bases, solvents, hydrocarbons, and other potentially corrosive materials you need to ask questions of an expert and trust their recommendation, which likely may be a high performance recommendation.

If you have questions about your application or Redwood Plastics and Rubber’s high performance plastics, please contact us.

 

Flexible PVC Strip Door – More Versatile Than You Think

It goes by many names: “strip door”, “strip curtain”, “freezer door”, etc. But most people know what a plastic (PVC) strip door is under one name or another. It’s just a door made from clear pieces of plastic that hangs from an open doorway, correct? Actually no – the breadth of specialty strip door products in 2019 is staggering as are quality of life accessories and options that make installing the ideal product easier than ever. Lets first address some specialty grades of the product you might not even know exist.

Redco Anti-Insect PVC

This offering comes in a yellow tint with a pleasant Citronella scent. It helps repel insects in environments such as supermarkets, medical facilities, schools, workshops, food processing facilities, factories, or anywhere where insects are unwanted. Mosquitos and other flying insects don’t like the Citronella smell, popularized by the anti-insect candles and lotions, and as a result they don’t land on the strip door.  In addition, it repels spiders, ticks, chiggers, mites or scabies mites.

Redco Anti-Bac

Held to a high standard of anti-bacterial properties, this product complies with ISO 22196 and Japanese JIS Z 2801 standards. It is recommended for slaughterhouses, food preparation and food processing workshops, restaurants, amongst other industries.

Redco Welding Strips

 This version of the strip product is designed to filter UV and Blue Light Radiation in Welding applications.  Welding Strips met the AWS F2.3 and ISO 25980 standard for Welding Screens and Curtains.  These products comply with many international designations for fire-retardancy and meet the California Fire Marshall F2.3 Standard.

Redco QuickMount

Not a PVC product but a mounting accessory, Redco QuickMount is attached over a doorway and permits the easy attachment of pre-punched, pre-perforated PVC strips to be easily hung and replaced by someone with limited installation experience.

Many other products are available including low temperature and color options to suit virtually any requirement. The strip door can be provided in full rolls, or pre-cut with holes per your requirements.

For more information or a quote please contact us.

Talking About Tolerances

A major consideration on most parts we work on is tolerances, IE. how far can our fabrication work deviate from the dimensions on the drawing. Several issues keep coming up with tolerances and it’s something you need to actively think about for your application. The first major issue we get is unreasonable tolerance requests. This can be anything from a customer accepting zero deviation from the drawing, which is impossible, to passively leaving metal tolerance requirements on a drawing that simply cannot be held with a plastic.

There’s another issue that does not get considered enough which is when customers tell us to hold “best possible tolerances” because they don’t know what they actually need. This tolerance, often (+/-) 0.005″, results in a higher cost for the part as it’s more difficult to make with less margin for error. The fact that there are actual costs to “best tolerances” is something the customer should know.

The other issue with tolerances is that the difficulty of holding them depends on the material. For example, it is much easier to hold a (+/-) 0.01″ tolerance on acetal than it is on a rubber product. Absolutely the rule “one size fits all” does not apply. You also really need to think about the application: a bushing which is press fit into a housing and has a shaft going through it with a running clearance needs more precise tolerances than a polyurethane bumper.

For more information on tolerances or a quote on your requirements, please contact us today.

UHMW vs. PTFE

There are few questions we dread more than the customer asking about a PTFE truck liner. While the error is understandable – in natural form both UHMW polyethylene and PTFE are white colored plastic, if PTFE were ever used as a truck liner the cost would be many 10s of thousands of dollars and the liner would be worn to bits in short order! Yet, monthly we receive inquiries from customers who simply don’t know any better asking for that. We believe it’s important to discuss the distinction, and some similarities, between the two plastics.

Similarities:

Both plastics in their natural form are white and both are widely stocked by most plastics distributors. Both plastics are known for having a very low coefficient of friction and net zero water absorption. They’re both available in 48″ wide plates and in common thicknesses from 1/8″-2″ (and beyond). Both plastics are FDA/CFIA compliant in their natural form. Both plastics can be modified with a variety of fillers or additives. However, that’s where the similarities end.

Differences:

There are so many differences between the products that a list is the best way to explain:

  • PTFE is substantially much more expensive than UHMW
  • PTFE can only handle about 1/5th the load of UHMW
  • PTFE is more slippery than UHMW (despite both having a low coefficient of friction)
  • UHMW has far better wear properties than PTFE
  • UHMW is typically stocked in 48″ x 120″ sheets where PTFE comes in 48″ x 48″ plates
  • PTFE withstands over 4x the temperature UHMW can in continuous operation

So if UHMW is less expensive, handles more wear, and more load…Where do you use PTFE? The answer is pretty simple: 1.) when it’s spec’d in or 2.) when one of its differing properties from UHMW makes it the better choice. For example, if you’re machining some bushings for use in a 400 degree Fahrenheit environment you would go with a PTFE product vs. a UHMW product which would simply melt. As well, if the application demands bearing pads with dynamic sliding (think telescope mounts) then PTFE is the better choice due to its phenomenal low coeffecient of friction. If in doubt, simply contact Redwood Plastics and Rubber and we’ll lend a hand!

Shark Fin Board Turning System: Ideal Applications

The venerable Shark Fin Board Turning system has provided saw and planar mills with decades of excellent performance across the world. The system is simple, using the mill’s existing machinery and gravity to turn boards. This frees graders from this responsibility which leads to reduced injury claims and increased productivity. However, the Shark Fin is not ideal in all circumstances. Modern mills, particularly softwood mills, run too quickly for Shark Fin to function. Shark Fin is ideal in any application that runs 75 lugs-per-minute (LPM) or less, this is typically hardwood mills these days.

The Shark Fin is also not designed for very small tables. The minimum size for a one grader table should be about eight feet in length and the table needs to allow for Shark Fin lugs that are approximately 7″ tall to travel over and around. The system also requires that it be used on 81X sawmill chain as the lugs, pins, channel and other components are designed for it. The system succeeds in mills that want a simple, low-cost grading solution where their employees are handy and able to work with a kit.

So what does a Shark Fin kit consist of?

-Shark Fin turners

-Shark Fin lugs

-Shark Fin pins welded onto 81X chain

-81X channel

-Polyurethane drive and idler sprockets

-Bearings, collars, and steel shafts

-A spare parts kit

For questions about the Redco Shark Fin system or for a quote on your needs please contact us.

Video of Shark Fin in action!