Product Spotlight: Redco Tuffkast

Nylon applications are very common and alongside UHMW-PE, cast nylon is probably the most well-known industrial plastic. The issue is with nylon, as most plastics, is that it’s ideal in some applications but performs poorly in others. No plastic is a complete panacea: they all have advantages and disadvantages. However, in most applications where nylon has problems, Tuffkast can solve them.

Where is nylon not ideal?

That’s the question you have to ask and there are three areas. Firstly, nylon does poorly in submerged or “wet” applications. Unlike most plastics, nylon readily absorbs water and will swell about 4% of its size in 24 hour saturation. This makes it a poor choice for marine applications unless tolerances are taken into account. Secondly, nylon is brittle especially in the cold. While nylon can take lots of pressure (4000 PSI) it is poor in taking impact. Nylon should not be used in impact applications. The final area of concern with nylon is what was just hinted at – cold. Nylon’s properties get worse in cold exposure, about -12 degrees Celsius is the lowest you can comfortably go.

How does Tuffkast solve these problems?

Tuffkast is a “copolymer” meaning it’s a mix of different plastics. While it is “nylon-like” is performs much better in areas nylon is deficient. It has significant benefits to impact resistance and in fact is an excellent impact and shock absorbing plastic. In addition, Tuffkast absorbs much less water (about half) as much as nylon does. In addition, it does not weaken in the cold like nylon does. Customers rightly wonder what the “catch” is with this material as it would seem to be easiest to just use Tuffkast in every nylon application but that isn’t so. The main difference is cost, depending on the grade Tuffkast can be 50-80% more expensive than nylon. The other potential drawback of Tuffkast is that it is softer than nylon, this can lead to increased wear or susceptibility to wear. An example would be use of Tuffkast as a wheel on a railed track. Tuffkast will deform more quickly due to imperfections in the rail and will wear more quickly in general.

If you have more questions about how Redco Tuffkast or nylon might be ideal in your application please contact us today.



Tuffkast: The Problem Solver

Plastics solve problems and they can overcome issues that plague traditional materials such as metals and wood. But for the most part a plastic still has some weak spots that under certain situations can create a trade-off in properties: the optimal material but not perfect. Redco Tuffkast; however, is our material with the fewest weak points and therefore can solve problems that other plastics simply cannot.

Tuffkast is most commonly a replacement for nylon in areas where nylon suffers deficiencies: water absorption, impact, and low-temperature performance. In each case Tuffkast’s properties are superior to nylon: it absorbs much less water, is an excellent impact and low-temperature material. This means in applications where nylon is commonly used Tuffkast can be substituted, applications such as bearings and sheaves. To reduce the coefficient of friction, Tuffkast is available in both oil-filled and dry lubricant grades. Tuffkast has excellent wear abilities and impact resistance that is over double that of nylon.

Any drawbacks to Tuffkast are minimal. It does have a higher cost than many plastics of the engineering-grade tier but this is offset by its excellent performance. The higher coefficient of friction than materials it replaces (such as UHMW) needs to be considered but again, this can usually be offset by getting one of the lubricant filled grades. In general, Tuffkast is an extraordinarily versatile engineering plastic that is able to solve many problems other plastics simply cannot. For more information on Redco Tuffkast please contact us.



When To Choose Tuffkast

Redco Tuffkast has been designed for use in “extreme” applications. But what exactly does this mean? In order to answer that question you need to first consider the properties of regular nylon 6. Nylon 6 can take a lot of load (4,000PSI in operation) and is suitable for a variety of load bearing applications such as outrigger pads, bushings and sheaves. But nylon has three key limitations. Firstly, nylon starts to get increasingly brittle in cold around -10 Celsius (14 Fahrenheit) and many parts of North America exceed that during the winter. Secondly, nylon 6 does not handle impact and shock well and is not well-suited to applications such as impact or bumper pads. On precision parts, especially those with flanges or thin edges, care needs to be taken when handling the part even at room temperature. Finally, nylon absorbs water causing it to swell and making it not the optimal material in marine or “wet” applications.

Tuffkast counters many of these deficiencies in nylon 6. Tuffkast performs well in cold applications and absorbs about half as much water.  However, the area Tuffkast really shines is in abrasion and impact-resistance, notably, Tuffkast marine fenders in British Columbia, Canada helped prevent massive damage to a ferry dock in 2006, a story you can find here. It is this combination of resistance to the elements with the impact and abrasion resistance that makes Tuffkast an excellent choice for many very demanding applications.

If you want to inquire about Tuffkast’s suitability for your application then please contact us today.

Sawmill tuffkast gear

Tuffkast vs. Nylon

Redco™ Tuffkast and Nylon have similar applications in the world of plastics such as bushings, bearings, sheaves, pulleys and even outrigger pads. Some customers get confused between the differences in the material and still others are wary of Tuffkast because, as a Redwood Plastics proprietary plastic, it is not nearly as well known as nylon. Nylon is a plastic developed around the time of the Second World War, whereas Tuffkast is a co-polymer (made of different plastic types). Tuffkast is much newer and is slowly penetrating the plastic industry. Many of Tuffkast’s properties counter potential weaknesses of nylon material.

There are three major advantages of Tuffkast over nylon:

1.) Nylon has some of the highest moisture absorption among industrial plastics at 4% on average (after 24 hours saturation). Tuffkast on the other hand will only absorb up to 0.5% moisture in the same time frame.

2.) Nylon does not handle shock or impact well, but this is a strength of Tuffkast.

3.) Nylon gets brittle in cold temperatures while Tuffkast has much better low temperature properties.

As with any comparison there are tradeoffs in selecting Tuffkast. Tuffkast is too “soft” for some applications meaning nylon would still be the optimal material choice. Tuffkast is also more expensive: about 30-50% more than nylon by weight. Regardless, as a company we see applications every week that are better served by Tuffkast. Be sure to consider it for your next project.

For questions on our Tuffkast, nylon or other plastic materials contact us today.


No Ordinary Nylon

In the breadth of Redco™ products, certain plastics stand out for different reasons. When it comes to “strength” and “resiliance” Redco™ Tuffkast certainly has a niche. Tuffkast is a co-polymer and improves on many of the inherent qualities in nylon. Excellent impact values, wear resistance and rigidity. But Tuffkast also improves on nylon’s major deficiency – water absorption. In comparison to regular cast nylon, Tuffkast absorbs moisture minimally. Also, in comparison to other nylons, Tuffkast’s properties in low temperatures have been improved.

Tuffkast currently comes in four grades:

 TUFFKAST 025 – Unfilled or natural grade of Tuffkast

TUFFKAST 020 – Carriage Wheel Material – Special formulation for sawmill carriage wheel applications.

TUFFKAST 015 – Oil Filled – Liquid lubricant impregnated. Offers excellent surface lubricity for wear resistance and reduced co-efficient of friction.

TUFFKAST 010 – Solid Lubricant – Typically used for dynamic friction applications that are subjected to extreme stress and impact.

Perhaps one of the best application case studies with Tuffkast are the dock fenders installed at the B.C. Ferries terminals in Tsawwassen, BC. In a massive storm in 2006 the ferries repeatedly crashed into the fenders over an almost 24 hour period. The result? The fenders held up needing no repairs – minus one tile of one fender that required replacing, due to damage from a protruding ferry part but not due to impact. A post-storm analysis revealed that were it not for the Tuffkast pads, the wooden docks would have likely been destroyed.


Certainly “no ordinary nylon”

CDN: 1 800 667 0999
USA: 1 866 733 2684

Tuffkast and the Storm of 2006

Redwood Plastics has been in business for over 40 years with a long track record of success across a variety of applications. One of our proudest moments was our installation of Redco™ Tuffkast fenders at the B.C. Ferries terminals in Tsawwassen. These were essentially huge rubber-backed shock pads with Redco™ Tuffkast bonded to rubber. The large Tuffkast pads were actually a collection of smaller Redco™ Tuffkast “cells.” 

Not long after their installation they faced the harshest of tests.

On December 14, 2006 the Hanukkah Eve Wind Storm slammed the Pacific Coast. The storm caused over 356 million dollars of damage on the coast and resulted in 18 fatalities. Over 1,000 trees in Vancouver (many in Stanley Park) were uprooted and at it’s peak B.C. Hydro reported 250,000 customers without power.

B.C. Ferry service was disrupted and the ferries at dock were at the mercy of the wind. They repeatedly slammed intoTuffkast-Dock-Fenders their docks. When the storm subsided; however, only one cell of one fender was damaged. Not by simple impact, but by a sharp protruding part of the ferry and even then the cell was easily repaired and not detached from the fender. B.C. Ferries employees noted that were it not for the Redco™ shock pads the wooden docks would have likely been destroyed.

So what is this stuff?

Redco™ Tuffkast is actually a mix of Type 6 and Type 12 Nylon. It has high impact and abrasion resistance, combining the tensile and compressive properties of Type 6 Nylon with the wear resistance of polyurethane. Furthermore, it is much more moisture resistant than regular Nylon, which is why Tuffkast was a good fit for a marine application such as the ferry dock.

Redco™ Tuffkast is available in three grades: Regular 025, 020 grade (carriage wheel grade), 015 oil-impregnated and finally the purple 010 solid lubricant grade. Tuffkast is a good choice for a variety of applications including gears, sprockets, valves, impact pads, sheaves and many more. Also very important is Tuffkast’s increased performance in cold, cold being the Achilles’ heel of regular Nylon.

For more information on this amazing plastic or any of our other plastic solutions please contact us today.

CDN: 1 800 667 0999
USA: 1 866 733 2684