Plastic Plow Blades & Cutting Edges – Saving The Paving!

One of our employees recently took a couple photos after parking at an area we won’t disclose in Metro Vancouver a day after a recent snowfall. Upon pulling into his parking spot he noticed that every single stall had a large pothole where the snow had been pushed. Having been a weekly visitor to this lot he knew the holes were not there a few days before and therefore must have been caused by the snow removal contractor. The damage is extensive and will be a huge headache to fix! How much money will it cost to repair? What will happen to the reputation of this snow removal vendor?

And it was a completely avoidable disaster that never needed to happen.

Industrial plastic plow blades (or “cutting edges”) have been used for years to prevent this sort of issue. The cutting edges, made of polyurethane, rubber, or UHMW, are simple rectangular strips that are bolted to the bottom of a metal plow or bucket. Therefore it is this softer, non-damaging, plastic surface that actually touches the ground as the equipment scrapes and pushes the snow instead of the metal blade. There are multiple ways the metal-on-pavement contact can cause damage as besides creating potholes the blade can also destroy things like lights or reflectors embedded in the asphalt. Such as is common at airports for example.

The blades are an investment: even the least expensive blade will be at least a few hundred dollars. But how much is that few hundred dollar investment compared to losing contracts, a hit to your reputation as a contractor, and even potential lawsuits? The simple fact is you are “playing with fire” if you don’t have a high-quality plastic cutting blade – it’s an investment that must be made! Several plastics with different prices, properties, and suitability to applications are available so please contact us with the details of your application.

And save the paving!

pave3

Product Spotlight: Second Skin Hose Wrap

Hoses on your equipment being worn or abraded? Are you having issues with kinks, weathering, or chaffing which results in premature hose wear? Redco Second Skin may be an affordable solution. Redco Second Skin Hose Wrap is a polyurethane product that stretches around your vulnerable hoses with its unique expanding design. It’s available in several colors with black being the most popular. The wrap serves as an armor: absorbing the UV-light from the sun and taking the abrasion and wear that would otherwise be applied to your hoses and it helps keep them from tangling.

The light duty version of the wrap is available in diameters of 1/8″-1″ with each of those being available in a 100 foot coil only. The heavy-duty wrap is available in diameters of 1/2″-6″ and the length of the coil in the box differs based on how large the hose wrap is. Orders on the heavy-duty wrap also have free shipping anywhere in the continental U.S. as an added incentive. Most profiles have plenty of stock and ship 1-2 days after receipt of order. To view our Redco Second Skin Hose Wrap brochure, click here.

To contact us for a quotation on your hose wrap needs email us today.

hosewrap

 

Flying High With Plastics

We stumbled on a really neat article recently about a new patent by Windspeed, an aerospace company. The patent is for a bubble-type viewing area on the top of an airliner, where a couple of seats would move up into the bubble giving the passengers an unobstructed 360 degree view. To see pictures and a video on CNN click here (clicking will not take away from this article). This bubble will almost certainly be plastic and plastics have a long history in aerospace applications dating back to the 1930’s and 40’s.

One of the first acrylic applications was World War II aircraft canopies. Acrylic had been developed around 1930 and was found to be easily processed and shaped. It was about 8x stronger than glass and had natural UV-resistance to weathering (unlike many other plastics) and so was suitable for aircraft where strength and being lightweight was key. As much of a revelation as acrylic was, it still had some deficiencies – namely its impact strength was less than desired, and certainly not bullet-resistant, and it also scratched easier than conventional glass. Fortunately, there was another plastic available which could correct some of these deficiencies: polycarbonate. Polycarbonate had extraordinary impact-resistance and yes, could be made bullet -resistant (modern “bullet proof” glass is polycarbonate). Polycarbonate; however, had deficiencies of its own: it was prone to scratching and worst of all, would yellow and crack with sun exposure affecting visibility and even structural integrity.

Canopy manufacturers appear to have solved this problem with an innovative solution. Canopies are now often laminates, in that they have an outer acrylic shell (which can handle UV-exposure) with a polyurethane film (for absorbing UV-light) and polycarbonate underneath. This provides the “best of both worlds” as the polycarbonate core can provide its strength without the threat of scratching or weathering which would otherwise disfigure the canopy. Given the application would require strength and optical clarity, it’s very likely the new dome manufactured for Windspeed’s bubble will be a similar laminate.

For a quotation on your acrylic or polycarbonate needs, please contact us.

Canopy

Polyurethane Centralizers

Oil and gas development is booming in North America. This has caused an increased demand for premium parts using engineering plastics with one such application being urethane centralizers. These centralizers play a key role in the oil and gas extraction by keeping centering the equipment traveling down the borehole. These parts are custom and often different firms we work with will purchase their tooling along with their centralizers. In general, centralizers are made from either Redco™ 750 or occasionally, 60D. The benefits of urethane mean these centralizers are easily molded to any desired shape polyurethane itself has an excellent reputation as a workhorse of the oil and gas industry – urethane is able to take a beating and resistant to oils, chemicals and solvents.

centralizers

Please contact us for assistance with our Redco™ centralizers.

More information on our other oil and gas products can be found here.

Polyether vs. Polyester

 

Polyurethane is a versatile material available from eraser soft to bowling ball hard and suits a variety of applications for dipper door blocks to deadplate to lubricated bearings. Critical to the properties of the urethane is whether it is polyether or polyester based. The two have different advantages and disadvantages and are suitable for different applications.

 

Polyester:

 

Typically used in the softer urethanes, polyester has strong cut and tear resistance combined with better oil and heat resistance than polyether-based materials. Typically the hardness of a polyester urethane is below 90A on the hardness scale, with “A” representing the rubbers.  Polyester materials have poor resistance to moisture and have worse low temperature performance than polyether materials. Polyester performs very well in a number of applications including wear and bumper pads, rollers, scrapers and applications involving impingement.

 

Polyether:

 

Typically the harder urethanes (above 90A), polyether materials have better moisture resistance and dynamic properties than the polyester urethanes. They also have better low temperature properties. However, polyether materials have less abrasion resistance and are more likely to tear. Proven applications involving polyether based urethanes include bearings, idler rollers, elevator wheels and sprockets.  

 

A full list of available Redco™ Polyurethane is available here.

430-Impeller

 E-MAIL: sales@redwoodplastics.com
CDN: 1 800 667 0999
USA: 1 866 733 2684

Urethane or UHMW Liners?

Sometimes clients are surprised when they request UHMW lining for a solution (such as a hopper liner) and, after questioning the application, we suggest for them to select urethane instead. This sometimes comes as a shock and we are forced to explain ourselves. In order to save ourselves some future awkward situations we want to discuss the differences between the two types of liner.

UHMW – Very likely the best known engineering-grade thermoplastic, Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMW-PE) has developed a very positive reputation. While “UH” is indeed a great balance of cost, versatility and low co-effecient of friction (important for a liner!) it does have its weaknesses. Impingement, which is material hitting on an angle, could be called the “Achilles Heel” of UHMW.

In applications where abrasive material impinges, even material made of small particles, such as grain, UHMW is not a good option and will quickly wear or chip. This is in contrast to its great strength in non-impinging wear guide applications. People often do not know UHMW will be strong in one situation but weak in the other. The height the abrasive material falls onto the liner only makes the situation more acute.

Polyurethane – While not as slick as UHMW, Polyurethane does have outstanding impingement resistance – especially the mid-grade durometers such as Redco™ 430. This resistance alone in some applications is well worth the trade-off in coefficient of friction. That is not to say polyurethane’s coefficient of friction is bad – its not and obviously could not function as a liner if material stuck.

A general rule of thumb is that as the urethane becomes harder the lower the coefficient of friction becomes. In fact, we manufacture a black lubricated bearing-grade urethane (750SXL) which is very slick and can run for long dry periods without lubrication. Not saying it makes a good lining material – but we are trying to change your perception of polyurethane.

The best thing you can do is approach your Redwood rep with the application and trust their recommendations. We do care about the selection of the right material and we will get second opinions from other experienced co-workers to ensure the best material is chosen. That does require you as the client to keep an open mind, which is perhaps the best way you can help us to help you.

For assistance with your lining needs please contact us today:

E-MAIL: sales@redwoodplastics.com
CDN: 1 800 667 0999
USA: 1 866 733 2684

Urethane 101

At times in the plastic industry it seems like certain engineering plastics such as UHMW-PE and PTFE get all the attention as far as properties and applications. While those polymers certainly are worthy of attention, other plastics have outstanding characteristics, which should not be overlooked.

Redco™ Polyurethane is one of the most versatile and remarkable plastics available and can be used in a wide array of applications that perhaps no other material can compete with. The following is a primer on the unique characteristics, grades and possible applications for Redco™ polyurethane.

Why Polyurethane ?

Versatility: RedcoPolyurethane comes in a wide range of hardness’s – from bouncy ball soft to bowling ball hard. This opens up a breadth of potential application – from shock pads and deadplate on the “soft” end, to heavy-duty bearings on the “hard” end that will outwear traditional brass and bronze.

Memory: Perhaps the most unique properties of Redco™ polyurethane is its memory. It can absorb impact and dent, only to rebound and regain its original shape. Other plastics do not have this ability. This makes urethane the ideal material for shock absorption and deadplating.

Other properties:

  • Unlimited molded shapes
  • High-load bearing
  • Oil and solvent resistant
  • Resistant to Aging
  • Heat resistant (250 f)
  • Cold resistant (-60 c)
  • Exceptional impact strength
  • UV stabilized

What is the “A” and “D” scale?

Urethanes are classified to a hardness scale called the “Durometer” rating. This is an often confusing scale to those unaware of polyurethane classification. For example, Redco™ produces polyurethanes in grades of 70A and 75D – don’t be fooled – those are vastly different materials. A classification of “A” denotes a soft urethane (on same scale as rubber) and a Redco™ 70A polyurethane would be commonly used as shock pads. A Redco™ 75D polyurethane ,on the other hand, is bearing-grade material with high impact strength designed to replace metals in applications. “D” refers to the plastic scale, which in this case denotes a hard urethane.

Sample Grades: 

To illustrate the wide variety of Redco™ polyurethane available we’ve provided a few examples below.

Redco™ Deadplate was designed for maximum energy absorption. It is commonly used in sawmills as a bumper for  incoming logs that impact a part of the machinery. Deadplate has a rating of 52A and would feel like a “tough” rubber pad to your touch.

Redco™ 430 is an abrasion resistant material with outstanding impingement resistance. As a mid-grade material in the range of urethanes, it can be classified by hardness ratings of 90A or 43D. This grade has a variety of uses from shock pads to seals, couplings, valve gates and wear slides among many others.

Redco™ 750 SXL is used in sliding, low temperature, and gritty environments. It is an excellent bearing material and has great self-lubricating properties. Its durometer rating is 75D and is used in bushings, bearings, diffusers and retainers. 

Redco™ urethanes are an excellent material for an impressive breadth of applications. If you have questions regarding your application please contact us today.

E-MAIL: sales@redwoodplastics.com
CDN: 1 800 667 0999
USA: 1 866 733 2684