Plastic Lumber: When Is It Right For Your Application?

Plastic lumber is a product that while not advertised on our website is something we can supply on a special order basis. There are many stereotypes of plastic products and plastic lumber is no exception. Yet, with the right understanding of the product and in the correct application, it is a fantastic solution and material to build from the offers significant advantages over wood or metals. So when is it right and when should you consider other options?

Plastic lumber is best utilized by customers looking for a low maintenance, long-last building material. The product is not susceptible to rot, rust, mold, or insect attack and will last much longer than wood or metal while requiring much less maintenance. Plastic lumber will have a much lower life-cycle cost than other materials.

The most common error customers make with plastic lumber is expecting it to be inexpensive. An “It’s just plastic” mentality can lead people to believe the product is less expensive than metal or wood providing a cheap recycled option in comparison. This is not accurate, due to the relatively small scale manufacturing of the product and the efforts that need to go into sourcing and cleaning the base plastic to recycle as well as the manufacturing process. That’s where customers run into disappointment the most: having unachievable expectations on the price of plastic lumber. This is most often members of the public looking for small amounts for home projects; however, other firms such as pallet manufacturers also run into this misconception about price when considering the product.

If you would like more information on plastic lumber, please contact us today.

Outrigger Pad Failure! Areas Of Concern

One of our Business Development Managers recently visited a customer and saw a major outrigger pad failure on site. The picture he took at the end of this article leads to a discussion on several potential points of failure for outrigger pads:

  • Incorrect float
  • Incorrect design
  • sub-optimal outrigger pad material

Firstly, the outrigger pad has an incorrect float meaning the dimensions of the pad versus size of the outrigger foot is clearly wrong. A general rule of thumb is the area of the outrigger pad needs to be 3x the area of the foot. This foot appears to be about 16″ x 16″ but is placed on a pad that appears to be about 18″ x 36″. This means that too much pressure is being put on the ground – a larger float means the weight is distributed through a wider and more even area of the ground.

Secondly, the outrigger pad design itself is wrong. Four wooden boards put together as the pad permits point load to be placed on one or two boards causing further uneven weight distribution. Thirdly, and most importantly, wood is a poor outrigger pad material. It bears, at maximum, 800 PSI but will rot, absorb water, and split as it clearly has in the picture. Failure of this inexpensive but inappropriate material caused a point load which crushed even hardened asphalt.

Redco Outrigger Pads made from UHMW or nylon bear incredible load (up to 3000 PSI) and can be made to an appropriate float size and design to properly spread load across the ground. They will last much longer than wood and will not fail like wooden pad designs would. Redco outrigger pads do not absorb water, rot, rust, support mold growth, or split like wood.

For more information on our Redco outrigger pads click here to go to our website’s outrigger pad section.


3 Things You Need To Know Before Requesting A Plastic Extrusion

Plastic extrusions are often requested of us, particularly for UHMW and PVC. When matched to the correct expectations and requirements, extrusions can provide a part at a cost machined plastics couldn’t hope to compete with. However, in quoting custom extrusions there are three components of the bid that appear to surprise many customers and affect the feasibility of moving forward with purchasing the extrusion.

1.) There are tooling costs

To make an extrusion you need to machine a custom tool out of metal. This is not a complimentary service and it will require a lot of work and calibration. This will result in a one-time tooling or set-up fee charged to your first purchase order. Depending on complexity this tooling can be a few hundred dollars to, more commonly, several thousand dollars so this is important to note.

2.) There are minimum runs of product

To extrude a plastic is not as simple as to drop a few pellets into a heater and out comes a 5′ length of plastics. Significant amounts of material need to be run just to calibrate the machine every time it extrudes. This typically results in minimum runs of no less than 1000 linear feet and typically 2000+ feet.

3.) The lead times can be significant

A 10-14 week delivery is typical for first time plastic extrusions. This covers the time to make the die, calibrate it, make the product, run QC on it, then ship it to one of our locations for distribution. Lead times beyond the first are typically 7-8 weeks to ship. This issue is actually easy to overcome if POs are issued in advance and product can be released on a regular and staggered basis.

If an extrusion is not ideal for your application we still may be able to supply a machined solution. To discuss please contact us today.


Choose Redco Dynamex™ Rise-It Pedestals!

One of our fastest growing products is our remarkable “Rise-It Pedestal System” for square paver systems.

The system is designed to raise the pavers from 1/2″-3″ in order to improve drainage and also protect the fragile rubber membrane placed underneath. The Rise-Its stack like interlocking building block toys making for very easy installation! In the case of having ground that is not quite level, rubber shims are supplied which can be easily cut into 1/16″ pieces to ensure a level installation. Rise-Its absorb shock and impact, are very strong handling up to 6000 PSI in load, and are made of 100% recycled materials. In fact Rise-Its can help in obtaining LEED credits (contact us for details).

Rise-Its are designed for outdoor use and are thus perfectly suitable for all temperatures experienced in North America. They excel in patio, poolside, terrace, rooftop, and decking applications. We are on the lookout for distributors who see the product’s potential. If you have interest in distributing this valuable product or if you’re an architect looking to spec this into a design please contact us and a product specialist will reach out.

Our Rise-It literature can be found by clicking here.

The videos below show installation information and why Rise-Its are right for you:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Options

Clear plastic health guards aka “sneeze guards” have become ubiquitous at many retailers as businesses work to improve safety for their customers and employees during the COVID19 pandemic. With this has come the unprecedented demand for these guards, which has resulted in some material shortages.

The question that must be asked is “does every business require a health guard as their personal protective equipment?” As always, we ask you to do your own research and abide by all governmental guidelines as well any guidelines set by your respective industries. However, if you have some flexibility there are excellent PPE options besides just the solid guards.

1.) Redco Face Shields

Available as a full mask with elastic fastening and foam cushioning, these masks provide what is essentially a “personal health guard” for your face and are portable and affordable. We also make our own PVC face shields for use with safety glasses (they also work with regular glasses). These are typically available with a 3-5 business day lead time to ship.

2.) Redco Flexible Vinyl

In the mad rush to obtain PPE, flexible vinyl has been overlooked as an option and is especially beneficial to a business on a budget or when a hanging barrier is an option. Lightweight and strong, this product is ideal for a simple hanging guard.

For more information on these products or other Redco COVID19 solutions contact us today.


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.