Plastic Angle

Out of the many parts and plastic profiles requested of Redwood Plastics and Rubber, plastic angle keeps coming up. This is typically plastic bent at a 90 degree angle halfway. This is primarily used for protection of a surface or object if machined out of UHMW or nylon plastic. However, much stronger (more rigid) fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) angle is available and stocked by our supplier. A common example of a FRP angle application would be to bolt it in on the edge of a platform at a train station. FRP angle is available in a variety of widths and thicknesses with 1/4″ and 3/8″ thick being the most common. It is available in all three primary EXTREN resin types (general purpose polyester, fire-retardant polyester, and vinyl ester). These angle profiles are more expensive than steel or aluminum angle; however, for certain applications such as those that demand electric or radio non-conductivity, plastic angle may be your only choice.

To get a quote on an angle profile is easy. Firstly, we need to know the width of each side of the angle, they are not always the same! We then need to know both the thickness and the material required. If you need assistance selecting a material, just ask, but me sure to be ready to answer questions about your application such as what the angle is doing, if there is any chemical or high heat exposure, etc. Angle profiles of all plastic types are typically sold by the 10 foot length; however, there are cases where we can supply shorter or longer profiles.

For a quote on your plastic angle needs, please contact us today.

 

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Space Shuttle Challenger and Rubber: A Cautionary Case Study

The space shuttle “Challenger” explosion in 1986 was a seminal moment for many Americans. The launch was shown on live TV and there was a high amount of interest in teacher Christa McAullife being on the flight. The shuttle exploded 73 seconds into the flight resulting in the deaths of the entire crew. An immediate investigation was launched and it was determined that a failed rubber o-ring system used as seals on the solid rocket boosters led to the explosion. The launch was on an unusually cold day – the o-ring seals were qualified for use at no less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit but the temperature got as low as 18 degrees Fahrenheit the night before.

Prior to launch several engineers attempted to warn against launching due to this reason. The engineers believed that the cold temperatures would weaken the rubber and also lead to a poor seal, which would allow hot exhaust gases to potentially escape the boosters and cause catastrophic damage. It had already been determined that the o-rings were being damaged even on successful flights. The engineers were forced by NASA management to try to prove that the application would fail at low temperature, something the engineers could not do because of a lack of testing data.

Your application with rubber will likely not be as critical as the space shuttle o-ring seals; however, even with our applications there is much to learn.

Firstly, is you need to pick a rubber that will work within the parameters of your application. You need to know what chemical exposure and temperature range the part will need to operate in.

Secondly, once you get the parts you need to use them within the parameters that you have specified because if you introduce, for example, new chemicals or operate the part outside of the prescribed temperature range, it may fail!

The third and final thing we can learn is to listen to the product experts who helped recommend a rubber solution to you. If they strongly believe a certain material is required and can give you concrete reasons, you should consider this thoroughly before going in another direction. This is particularly a concern where a desired price may be a determining factor for a purchasing decision, rather than if the rubber is actually suitable or not.

Redwood Plastics and Rubber has rubber experts standing by to help recommend the best product for your application so contact us today.

Weathering and Exposure Concerns

There is unfortunately some misinformation in the plastics world regarding weathering, exposure, and UV-resistance. In some cases where applications go wrong, customers simply did not consider how a certain plastic might handle being exposed to certain environmental factors. One of the largest pieces of misinformation is that reprocessed-black UHMW often called “UHMW black” is UV-stable. It is not; however, and has only some limited UV-resistance due to the addition of carbon black in the resin. The following are examples of weathering and exposure concerns for some popular plastics and options to mitigate these issues.

Nylon:

-Brittle in cold temperatures (below -15 degrees C)

-Absorbs water

Solution:

-Switch to acetal or Tuffkast

UHMW/Polyethylene:

-Poor UV-resistance makes it prone to cracking with UV-exposure

Solution:

-Procure a fully UV-stable grade

Polyurethane:

-Certain varieties weaken and break down in wet environments (hydrolysis)

Solution:

-Work with a plastics expert to select a polyurethane variety not weakened by hydrolysis

Polycarbonate:

-Poor weathering resistance, will yellow and crack with exposure

-Poor scratch resistance and tends to become cloudy with small marks when used in outdoor applications

Solution:

-Request sheets with UV stable and/or scratch-resistant masking. These will be typically unstocked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dura CRIB vs. Dura STAT

The two most popular products of our cribbing and blocking line are Redco “Dura Stat” and “Dura Crib”. Customers often request quotations on both, or confuse each product, but the differences are distinct and important enough to create a write up. The “Stat” is Dura stands for “static” it is designed solely for cribbed storage of equipment that is not dynamic, IE. no movement. An example of a Dura Stat application would be lowering an engine onto the cribbing for storage. The Dura Stat set up should not be moved after the load is placed.

It is very important for Dura Stat that what is being cribbed is loaded vertically. The product is not resilient to sheer pressure and could break. Also, as a non-interlocking product, there could be slipping issues as well. Dura Crib on the other hand, is meant to be stacked and is commonly available in interlocking forms it is designed to handle applications where there may be a little dynamic movement. An example of this application would have Dura Crib providing cribbing for a railway maintenance vehicle’s outrigger feet. The stack of cribbing will endure vibration and oscillation as the load shifts on the feet while the vehicle works.

For more information on our cribbing products please check out our First Responders literature available here.

Super-Crib

New Product: Foamlite P Polypropylene

We have a new product available in our mix: Foamlite P Polypropylene. This is a lightweight plastic that offers 30% weight savings over other materials commonly used in similar applications which include everything from tank cladding, washdown areas, cargo crates among many others. Additional benefits to the product include excellent chemical resistance, UV and moisture resistance. The product is weldable and adhesives can be used (this is not the case for all plastics). One of the better rules of thumb for Foamlite is to use it as a replacement for wood, where wood’s deficiencies (rot, moisture absorption, cracking) are unacceptable.

Important to know as well is this is a European manufactured product meaning it is manufactured under metric system measurements not the imperial system like most North American made plastics. The sheet is available in thicknesses from 6mm (approximately 1/4″) to 21mm (approximately 7/8″) and in one size only that is 2000mm x 3048mm. We are not stocking this product at our locations but bringing it in from our supplier as necessary, therefore a 1-2 week delivery is typical. Lastly, Foamlite is available in three colors: black, grey, and white only.

If you’re interested in Foamlite P Polypropylene please contact us today.

 

Budgetary Expectations And Lifecycle Cost

One of the most important topics that comes up in a plastic application are issues of cost, budget, and expectations. Most commonly the request we get is to provide a better better performing plastic at less cost. In the vast majority of situations, frankly, this is unreasonable. Plastics, like any quality product, generally follow the old cliche “you get what you pay for” and a better performing, longer-lasting, plastic will almost always cost more money. There are rare exceptions, for example everything being equal, reprocessed (“repro”) UHMW will actually outperform the slightly more expensive natural grade in wear applications specifically. However, these are very rare exceptions to the rule.

It is important to know your budget up front. If there is no ability to fund a higher priced solution you may simply need to make due. However, if you have room in your budget then we have some room to work. Most commonly, a premium grade of the same material would be suggested. For example, switching from reprocessed UHMW to Redco Titanium or Tivar 88. This is generally the first step to take as the premium product provides all of the properties of the lower grade, just much improved. For example, slicker, better wear properties, and UV resistance or weathering.

At times, the application may require a jump to a new plastic. For example, if a nylon part is failing due to being brittle in cold temperatures or moisture swell, then a switch to Redco Tuffkast may be in order. Similarly, most plastics cannot hold tight tolerances; however, acetal is perhaps the best at doing so and bears a similar load to nylon. Were a nylon part to fall out or be unable to retain tolerances, acetal would be an excellent substitute in most applications.

However, the most important point of all is this: selection of the optimal material for an application will almost always result in a lower lifecycle cost and therefore cost-savings. Reduced maintenance costs, replacement, and downtime, will all save the customer money in the long run. It is this critical factor which is often overlooked in the decision to switch to a premium grade of plastic or a more expensive, but ideal, plastic for an application!

For assistance in choosing the best grade or plastic for your application please contact us.

Redco Outrigger Pads: 10 FAQs

Redco Outrigger Pads are perhaps our most popular product we manufacture ourselves and they have a proven track record of success for customers in various industries all over North America. From construction, to power utilities, tree service firms, green energy installers, and others. Frequently asked questions often come up regarding this product and today we’ll answer some of them.

1.) Are custom sizes available?

Yes! Our literature only provides sizes and loading for the most popular sizes. But we can fabricate them in any size from 12″ x 12″ to 48″ x 60″.

2.) Is an anti-slip option available?

Yes! But actually two options of anti-slip are offered. There is the ‘scuffed’ version, which is done in our shops at each branch and uses sanding equipment to rough up the smooth surface. There is also a premium-grade of anti-slip pad using an embedded clean coal slag surface. However, minimum orders and longer lead times do apply to the clean slag surface variant so please inquire.

3.) Can I customize the pads to have extra handles or corners left on?

Yes again, as we make them this can all be customized. Extra handles (beyond two) will add a nominal cost of $5.00/pad. Corners are regularly removed as standard for square pads, but leaving them on if you prefer, obviously has no cost.

4.) Is there a price difference between square and round pads?

Yes, round pads are substantially more difficult to manufacture and require much more labor.

5.) Do you carry stock?

No, due to the wide range of profiles and thickness for the outrigger pads that are requested from us, we do not carry any stock. All pads are made to-order.

7.) What is your lead time to ship an order?

That depends on both stock levels of the base plastic at our branch and the current branch’s overall lead time to ship an order. In general it’s about 3 weeks.

8.) Are your outrigger pads guaranteed?

No, they are not. We understand that a guarantee puts some customer’s minds at ease but this is a high-load product that will take abuse in operational environments we have no control over. It’s unfair to offer a standing guarantee as the customer may incorrectly use the pads (such as not using them on a level surface) or may wear them out by using them on abrasive substrates for a few years and then asking for a replacement. In addition, issues with too much flex are often due to a customer purchasing pads that are not thick enough as a cost-saving measure and we cannot be liable for that. There is not a single case we’ve ever had where a pad has broken, however.

9.) Can you quote with a shipping cost?

Of course, but to do so we require your full address (if in Canada) or zip code (if in the U.S.). Often customers will simply give a city name and state (or province) and unfortunately that is not enough for the freight companies we work with to provide an accurate quotation. We also need a firm quantity of pads to quote, as the shipping cost is based on weight.

10.) Can I get our name or logo engraved on the pad?

Not for a nominal fee. Most of our branches do not have the capability to provide engraved outrigger pads. This engraving can be done by our Canadian and U.S.-based central machine shops, but the costs of transporting the pads to and from those facilities, the cost of the engraving itself, and the additional delivery adds so much expense that it’s not worth it to the customer who isn’t absolutely insistent of this requirement.

For a quote on your outrigger pad needs contact Redwood Plastics.