BRAXX Anti-Slip Surfacing

After decades research and design, several “anti-slip” plastic options are now available and BRAXX should not get lost in the shuffle. BRAXX is a standardized UHMW based anti-slip plastic which comes in 36″ x 108″ sheets that are 0.30″ thick. The material comes in two forms “BRAXX Sand” which has a base color of blue dotted, with a sand-impregnated surface and “BRAXX Luns” which has a high-visibility safety yellow colored base and is dotted with LUNS clean coal slag anti-slip grit. BRAXX serves as a heavy-duty replacement for anti-slip tapes and paints. Both types of BRAXX are comparable in price and effectiveness, it comes down to personal preference for color and grit.

Applications for the two materials have few limitations. At 0.30″ thick, BRAXX is non-load bearing and is meant to be placed on top of another surface, typically flooring, stairs, etc. As the plastic is UHMW nothing sticks to it and mechanical fixation is required: you will not to bolt or screw into the substrate. Advantages of BRAXX are that it will not rot, rust, absorb moisture, or otherwise corrode. It is impact resistant and easy-to-install on top of other substrates such as wood, aluminum, or steel. Originally developed for the U.S. military, BRAXX is now available to the general public.

For pricing or information on what BRAXX can bring to your application, please contact us today.

 

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Application Spotlight: Redco HDPE “Play” As Outdoor Tabletops

Recently Terrapin Brewing Co (www.terrapinbeer.com) approached us with an interesting application. They wanted to create a plastic table surface for use at their brewery but this offered some unique challenges. For one, the tables were outside which meant that a UV-stable plastic was in order. Secondly, a variety of properties were important: wear, impact, anti-slip and non-fading color would be desirable. But most importantly the color had to be green and a green that was fairly close to the branding of Terrapin Brewing Co. This is difficult in the world of industrial plastics where custom colors can mean extra costs, long lead times, and minimum order sizes. In addition, an industrial plastic such as UHMW would be overkill for this application and would even have some undesirable characteristics, such as being very slick.

But our representative working on the application made an intuitive leap. We had access to a specialized HDPE material Redco “Play” board designed for playgrounds. In our world of sawmills, mines, and heavy construction this isn’t something we focus on! Nevertheless, Redco Play satisfied all the requirements of the application: it was green, UV-stable, impact-resistant, wear-resistant and had an “orange peel” textured surface so glasses wouldn’t slide around. They were supplied pre-cut into 24″ x 24″ x 1/2″ (thick) squares with a minimum order of 16. Terrapin quickly installed these and you can see a picture they sent us below. They have said they are very satisfied with the material and this application.

For assistance with your applications contact us today.

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Specifying Outrigger Pads

When customers consider a switch to plastic outrigger pads they sometimes don’t know where to start in how to get their quotation. Often we’ll be told that the customer has a certain piece of equipment and to spec a pad size and thickness for them but this over-complicates things a little. Regarding the size of the pad the simplest way is to just get the plastic pads with the same dimensions as the stock pads that came with your rig. If you don’t have your stock pads we can help you out but we do need to know the area of your outrigger feet (length x width and are the feet square or round?).

Thickness is a little trickier to specify. UHMW plastic, commonly used for outrigger pads, is virtually unbreakable but having a pad that is too small and thin may lead it to bend around the outrigger foot as it is more flexible than wood and this may destabilize the rig. A general rule of thumb for most vehicles in the 20-50 ton range is to go with 1.5″ thick pads. 2″ thick is usually good for 50-70 ton but using 2″ pads for lighter equipment will result in less flex with the pad and a more stable lift. Above 70 ton 3″ thick pads are strongly recommended. To reiterate: the plastic will most likely not break on a thinner pad; however, the amount of flex may be undesirable. This is partially dependent on where the pads are being used – we have certain customers who only ever lift on concrete surfaces and thus can use a thinner pad because it has more support. Customers who lift on soggy soils may need thicker pads. As always, we refer to OSHA in that lifts should only ever be done on stable, level, ground.

For questions about our Redco Outrigger pads or to get some pricing please contact us for a quote.

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

UHMW Extrusions vs. Machined Lengths

Requesting a quote on a UHMW extrusion is a common request but the option of getting the part machined should not be discounted. Each type of manufacturing process has its pros and cons and a custom extrusion is not always the best method for parts where it is requested. An extrusion is best when you 1.) Have time to permit tooling and initial run manufacturing (8+ weeks) and 2.) Have a very high, ongoing volume of extrusion needed (24,000+ feet per year). If you do not require such a high amount of extrusion than machining can be an option in certain cases, particularly with larger, simple extrusions like rail caps or channel. In regards to channel, we’ve had success adapting our sawmill chain channel extrusions (commonly stocked by our branches) for different applications. A list of our channels can be found by clicking here.

Machined UHMW profiles will likely be more expensive per-piece than extruded profiles. However, the lead time will be less and you will save on tooling costs. The tooling costs of a custom extrusion – often in excess of $5,000 – can make small runs impractical. In those cases, even at a higher per-piece cost, a machined profile will save the customer money. For more information or to discuss a UHMW extrusion or machined profile contact us today.

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Anti-Slip Multipurpose Plastic

Slipping is a major hazard. According to the National Safety Council injuries from falls account for 20% of workplace injuries. In many cases, if you’re an employer, you could be liable for damages that can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars. Redwood Plastics offers three anti-slip plastic sheet materials which may help prevent injury. Redco “LUNS” is a UHMW based plastic sheet with a clean coal-slag surface. The surface is non-toxic and wears extremely well: the first application ever was as the floor of a US Navy tank carrier in 1989 – the floor is still in use and has not required replacement or significant maintenance!

Redco BRAXX is another, similar, product. Redco BRAXX is also UHMW based and is available in yellow with LUNS slag surface “buttons” and blue with sand buttons. Both products (BRAXX and LUNS) are available in just one size: 36″ x 108″ and 0.3″ thick. But what you can do with the product, besides using it in load bearing applications, is almost up to the imagination. Potential applications include:

-Subway/Bus stop curb top

-Stair treads

-Floor covering

-Boat deck surface

-Trailer bed cover

-Flooring top surface in wet environments

For answers to your questions on Redco LUNS or BRAXX’s anti-slip properties and suitability for your application, please contact us today.

We also can supply gritted, soft anti-slip interlocking matting for other applications. For details on that product click here.

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When Is A Custom UHMW Extrusion Feasible?

Redwood Plastics regularly receives inquiries regarding custom UHMW polyethylene extrusions. In some cases, an extrusion is the most feasible choice, but in many cases an extrusion may not fit the budgetary requirements, especially for smaller runs. One often overlooked factor is that you need to consider tooling costs. Tooling can reach several thousands of dollars and in addition, our pricing has to factor in several hundred feet of wasted material as we calibrate the tooling. Tooling can also take 5-6 weeks with the extrusion run adding about 2 weeks onto that. Factor in shipping and you could be looking at 7-8 weeks to get your first run. There are also limits on extrusions, for example, we get many requests for very thin thicknesses of perhaps 1/16″ (almost like a ‘tape’) and this poses a few problems. First of all, we cannot have a tool done for materials so thing but even if we could, UHMW is not a dimensionally stable material and both expands and contracts due to heat and cold. It’s very possible that you would be delivered an extrusion that is out of tolerances, simply because of the ambient temperature.

A custom extrusion is a good idea; however, if you will have ongoing need for a certain profile and those needs are several thousand feet at a time. Then the tooling charge and run quantities may be a fit. If a custom extrusion is not a fit what are your options? Firstly, many standard profiles exist that could be adapted by machining. For example, 3″ x 3″ UHMW angle could be machined down to 2.6″ x 2.6″ if that were needed. Another option is having us advise on the closest standard profile to what you’re looking for and see if your application may be adapted for that profile (minimum order runs would still apply on standard extrusion, usually a few hundred feet). Secondly, if you do not have very tight tolerances and are looking for strip we may be able to manufacture that out of standard 4′ x 10′ UHMW sheets for an economical cost. We do this often machining custom U-Channels.

In conclusion, UHMW extrusions can provide an economical price per-foot cost for large, ongoing runs of material. However, due to tooling costs and minimum orders it may not fit many budgets. But that does not mean a solution cannot be found, simply that you may need to be creative in either adapting your design around existing “standard” profiles that are available or going the route of machining out of sheet stock. We would be glad to give you honest advice on any potential project you may have, so feel free to contact us today.

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