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.

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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.

Anti-Slip Matting And Tiles

Redco anti-slip matting and tiles are a versatile and easy-to-install solution for slippery areas. The tiles are made of tough, wear-resistant plastic and are made of 100% recycled materials. In fact, the system is a “closed loop” wherein recycled tiles are made into the new product. The tiles are not degraded by heat, cold or sun exposure and come in a variety of colors and with or without grit surfacing. The tiles are resistant to most chemicals and fungicide. They are also manufactured with an interlocking system on all four sides to connect with each other or sloped plastic edging which is available to make your tiles into an eyewash station, for example.

The most common tile profile, commonly referred to as the “standard” is 12″ x 12″ x 3/4″ thick but tiles are also available 12″ x 24″ and 36″ x 36″ and in 1/4″ and 1/2″ thicknesses. Common applications for the tiles include anti-slip walkways besides pools, industrial facilities, wet food processing areas, showers, locker rooms, ramps, the only limits are a sturdy substrate and your imagination. To see our brochure for the anti-slip matting please click here.

For a quotation on these tiles please contact us today.

The #1 Myth About FRP Wall Panel

FRP wall panels are used everywhere: from gas stations, to food processing facilities, to mud rooms at home. Customers are curious about the accessories, colors, and installation methods but one “speed bump” usually comes up that gives the project a pause. Customers who are looking into an FRP wall panel project tend to request smooth panels because they believe the smooth panels will maintain a cleaner, longer lasting, vandalism-resistant surface. This is a myth!

In reality, the textured FRP panels are superior. They are designed so that dirt, grime, mud, liquids, marker, etc cannot imprint. The smooth panels, while they might look a bit more attractive for the first few months, will eventually become permanently stained or defaced. The smooth surface allows filth, marker, biological waste and other contaminants to stick and gather on the surface. The textured panels on the other hand were specifically designed to resist all these contaminants. The pearly, asymmetrical surface compels grime and liquids to drain off or at least bead for easy cleaning. The bumpy surface doesn’t allow for vandalism such as graffiti as those liquid-based contaminants will also bead.

There is no catch. As the textured surface was designed to be the new ‘standard’ in FRP wall panels it is more available, and less expensive, than the smooth panels. While there are many variables to consider in your FRP wall panel project, do not waste time or money on smooth panels unless this is absolutely necessary (and you know the consequences!). For a quotation* on our Redco FRP wall panels and accessories please contact us today.

*FRP wall panel from Redwood Plastics is only available for sale and shipping within Canada.

Product Spotlight: Redco VHMW

While we’ve been able to supply VHMW for a few months now, only recently have we updated our website with a separate Redco VHMW section that can be found by clicking here. VHMW holds a new “middle ground” in the polyethylene family between HDPE and UHMWPE. Redco VHMW, which stands for “very high molecular weight”, can be substituted in applications where UHMW is considered to be “overkill”. The price on VHMW will be less than equivalent UHMW; however, only if you require several sheets of material. We do not currently stock VHMW and therefore freight costs, minimum orders, and small order fees may apply.

Compared to UHMW, VHMW has similar wear properties at a less expensive cost. It also has a better surface finish and is smoother than the typically skived UHMW sheet. Like UHMW, Redco VHMW performs very well in cold applications and is quite durable. It is also FDA and USDA approved for applications with food contact. Typical manufacturing tolerances on UHMW permit a (+-) 10% variance on sheet thickness; however, VHMW is manufactured with a variance of only 5%. The standard sheet size is 4′ x 8′ in 1/8″-1″ thick but custom sheet sizes are available on request.

For more information on Redco VHMW please contact us.

5 Tips To Ensure The Success Of Your New Plastic Application

When selecting a plastic for an application its very important that you do not get “tunnel vision” with your selection. For example, focusing on the properties of UHMW in cold temperatures (which are excellent) while ignoring the fact that your application is outdoors and the UHMW natural material you selected has poor UV resistance. Asking the right questions about your application, and knowing your budget and timeline, before you approach us will speed up both the quotation process and help to ensure that your applications matches your goals. The following are our five best tips to help you along this process with a new plastic application:

1.) Understand Your Operational Environment

The best way to ensure you are going to use the optimal material is to know everything about the environment the plastic will be subjected to. What is the operational temperature range? What chemicals may it come in contact with? How much sunlight exposure does it have? Is it a wear application? What is wearing against the plastic? How fast is it moving? What pressure is being put on the plastic? We could go on and on but the point is that a fundamental understanding of the operational environment your plastic is going to be in is critical to that application’s success – and knowing the environment will help guide your search, or help us select, the best plastic for your application.

2.) Have Your Firm Budget In Mind

Our most disappointed customers are those that do not have much experience with industrial plastic materials and fabricated parts and come to us solely with the expectation that plastic will be cheaper than metal – because it is cheaper for the most part with cheap consumer products. That is not true when it comes to industrial grade plastics! But we also get disappointment from customers who don’t have a firm budget, yet it somehow needs to be low-cost, yet want something very high performance. Obviously, this is often impossible to deliver! But the problem is the customer is demoralized as several materials are quoted repeatedly and the price seems to be “too high” – even though there isn’t a set amount for what “too high” is. We often find ourselves having spent hours to discover that the application simply isn’t feasible for the customer.

We care for two reasons. First of all, as your distributor we can add value with our honesty: setting you up with the best available material, on the first quote. We can also be honest with the drawbacks, if any, compared to the optimal material for your application. It also saves both of us time as we are not re-quoting different materials to try to go lower and lower on price to fit a budget that never existed in the first place. So come up with a budget with a firm range, and let us know.

3.) Be Willing To Test

We’ve been in business since 1971 and so you might think we’ve seen everything – not true! New applications are brought to us daily, if not weekly, that surprise us with their creativity and goals. That means that often it’s unreasonable to suggest that we can supply a “turnkey” solution guaranteed to work the first time. Our preference in many cases is to have you purchase a small amount of material or parts and test it, perhaps against a couple other plastics. While this is the best way to figure out what is the optimal material in most cases, too often the expectations are too high for a solution right out of the gate or not enough time is given to permit a test and this is to the customer’s detriment.

4.) Be Willing To Take Advice

The counterpoint to tip #3 is that when we do have experience with an application, let us make suggestions. One of the best examples of this are custom UHMW extrusions. Customers with small quantity needs may think they need an extrusion (with long leads and expensive tooling fees) where often we can supply a machined solution. Is the per piece price more expensive? Yes. Is it less expensive for your quantities since you will save on tooling and very long delivery times? Yes also! There are a wide variety of applications in many industries we are confidant with so be willing to check your preconceptions if we believe we can offer value in our suggestions.

5.) Plan Ahead For Delivery

If the potential of a new application falls apart due to customer dissatisfaction with price than the second most common cause for disappointment is delivery time. To be frank, we’re a busy company, and you will find that with most distributors or fabrication shops. It is unrealistic to expect fabricated products to be manufactured within a day or two. In fact, fabricated parts can often exceed 3 weeks delivery and that is just to ship from the point of origin. Rush orders add cost and can’t be done often anyways, so the best idea is to get your application moving as soon as possible but expect that it may take several weeks to get the the parts into your hands. If delivery is critical, know in exact terms “I need it by this friday” orĀ  “I need it within two weeks” and we’ll be honest and upfront on our ability to deliver.

If you need help with your new plastic application contact us today.

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PET – The “Forgotten” Plastic

In the world of mechanical/industrial grade plastics PET-P commonly known simply as “PET” is the underappreciated soldier. PET performs every day in harsh environments: farming machinery, food processing, and medical industries in particular. It’s constantly dirtied, steamed, soaked and coated with all sorts of substances every day – but it doesn’t get any respect!

PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is a crystalline, high-molecular weight plastic that is notable for its balanced properties. It is most similar to acetal and is an excellent substitute for it in many applications. In particular vs. acetal, PET can handle a higher operating temperature – 230 degrees Fahrenheit constant – and is not affected by chlorine cleaners or wash downs (unlike acetal). In addtion, PET is very dimensionally stable – a significant advantage it holds over more popular plastics such as UHMW and nylon.

Another important note is that PET is FDA approved for direct food contact. It serves as a “bridge” between plastics with a lower temperature threshold such as UHMW and acetal and more expensive heat-tolerant plastics such as your virgin and filled PTFEs.

Redwood Plastics can quote PET parts complete or material alone; however, none of our branches stock PET so please be very specific about your requirements as minimums may apply.

If you have interest in this product or other Redwood Plastics products contact us today.

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