Industry Spotlight: Aggregate

The aggregate industry is defined by the processing and movement of extremely abrasive wet or dry materials, usually by a network of conveyors. This process may also include equipment to pulverize, shape, clean, or otherwise sort the aggregates. Due to the abrasive nature of these materials, wear is a major concern on expensive equipment. Redco products have supplied viable, downtime-reducing, solutions for this industry over many decades. The primary workhorse is Redco polyurethane. This elastomer has extremely high wearing properties and can thrive in abrasive environments involving virtually any wet or dry aggregates.

The applications are too many to name but conveyor and hopper lining are two of the largest. When used as a liner, urethane protects the metal equipment and handles the wear of being in direct contact with the aggregate. However, polyurethane can essentially be used anywhere this wear occurs, including the area the aggregate first contacts the conveyor to any discharge chutes. Contact us with details of your application in order to get a recommendation of the optimal grade of urethane. Some polyurethane products actually exist specifically for aggregate including the innovative Redco Switchblade belt scraper with its replaceable and Redco Green Screens.

A few more notes. Rubber has significant applications in this industry as well, primarily as belt skirting and in areas where constant vibration is a concern. For slurry applications specifically, the Redco VYPUR series of pipe sections and elbows provide exceptional service life above and beyond metal in abrasive or corrosive applications. It’s best if customers reach out directly to us for a consultation, so if you’re involved in the aggregate industry and are looking for some solutions to maintenance costs and downtime, please contact us today.

You can see pictures and read more about our aggregate solutions here:


Redco 90A Polyurethane Forklift Socks

Redco Forklift socks are an upgrade over traditional low-grade cold bonded rubber socks. A “forklift sock” is an elastomer solution that provides a covering to forklift forks, this makes them less likely to damage sensitive equipment being lifted. The problem is that the rubber sock covers easily delaminate from the forks and can also crack. This creates a situation where the loose sock causes an unsafe lift.

Unlike the cold bonded rubber, our solution uses a proprietary 90A polyurethane in a “hot bond” to the metal socks. This is a superior way of applying a sock solution and will vastly outwear rubber socks. In addition, our material is colored “safety yellow” for high visibility. The product reduces the risk of driver error and material damage while greatly improving grip when lifting. Redwood Plastics and Rubber can provide this service in two ways. Firstly, you can ship your existing steel forklift socks to our Langley, BC, Canada facility and we can re-coat the socks in-house. Alternatively, we can machine the complete new steel socks, coat them, and send them to your facility.

For a quotation on your forklift sock needs please contact us today.

Industrial Plastics and Custom Colors

A common question we receive is “can I get this in a different color?”. That is tough to answer in the world of industrial plastics! The short answer is many plastics are available in a variety of colors but price, availability, and minimum order quantity (MOQ) are often strongly affected by this choice. In general, industrial plastics are fairly bland, coming in white, black, or a shade of brown. Certain plastics can be colorful, such as nylons and polyurethane, but for the most part they come in black and white.

When Are Colors Feasible?

First of all it never hurts to ask, and we’ll always be straightforward. For the most part; however, we do not stock any plastics in custom colors. This can strongly affect the price if orders need to be brought in on special and in small quantities. Remember that we have to ship product all over North America to “land” it at one of our Regional Sales Offices (RSO). Often, this means you are paying much more for the same plastic just to have a non-standard color. How long you have to wait for delivery is context dependent on your order, but 4-6 weeks would be typical.

Polyurethane, nylon, and some profiles of UHMW are the easiest to get in non-standard colors.

When Are Colors Not Feasible?

The primary barrier to getting a product in non-standard color is when you have to stick to a certain grade of plastic or have a certain additive. For example, we get asked if the anti-static UHMW is available in colors: it is not, because the additive itself makes the plastic black. Also regarding UHMW, “clean” reprocessed UHMW in non-standard colors are much easier to get ahold of in rod or extrusion rather than virgin grade material and a colorant.

Specs given for a product might also confuse requirements. We recently saw a spec for a project that called for black virgin UHMW that was certified to ASTM D4020 but this is impossible as ASTM D4020 specifically excludes UHMW with any and all additives, including color. Natural UHMW is white so a black colored resin, or any additive, automatically cannot meet D4020.

In summary, if you want a non-standard color for your project you need to realize that while it is technically possible you will pay significantly for it in increased cost, delivery, and minimum order quantity.

If you have questions or a request for a non-standard colored plastic – please contact us today.


Industrial Plastic: Strengths And Limitations

One of the key questions we ask customers is “what is the application?” This question isn’t asked in order to steal your idea but to ensure that the plastic you’re looking for is optimal, or even workable in that application! Industrial plastics are excellent mechanical materials overall; however, like anything they do have both strengths and limitations. This article will review the core line of industrial plastics we carry, give the strengths, the limitations, and common applications/places where the plastic is wrongfully specified.

UHMW Polyethylene

Strengths: Well balanced properties, economical, and readily available.

Weaknesses: Poor dimensional stability

Specification errors: high load bushings, unrealistic tolerances, not compensating for thermal expansion.



Strengths: High load bearing strength, diverse formulations, suits a wide variety of applications.

Weaknesses: Absorbs water, poor impact and cold-temperature properties.

Specification errors: Impact parts, marine applications (without accounting for swell), using nylon bushings in high RPM applications.



Strengths: High load bearing strength, replaces nylon in “wet” applications, machines to excellent tolerances.

Weaknesses: Impact, temperature (especially steam) resistance.

Specification errors: Using black (copolymer) acetal in food processing applications. It is not food-safe, unlike the blue and white.



Strengths: Excellent impact, cold weather, bearing, and moisture-resistance properties.

Weaknesses: High cost, elevated temperatures.

Specification errors: Typically in applications that generate high internal heat, such as a hammer cushion for pile drivers. Tuffkast is also softer than nylon, which can lead to increased wear in certain applications.



Strengths: Extremely high impact strength.

Weaknesses: Very prone to scratching.

Specification errors: As glass/sight part without upgrading to a anti-scratch version of the plastic.



Strengths: Scratch resistant, economical, stronger than glass, fairly resistant to weathering.

Weaknesses: Difficult to fabricate, prone to cracking.

Specification errors: Using in “Do-it-yourself” projects without proper knowledge of fabrication procedures.



Strengths: Impact resistance, rebound, good bearing strength (bearing grades only).

Weaknesses: Water saturation degrades the plastic (especially softer grades), vibration degrades the plastic’s composition.

Specification errors: Vibration or moisture applications.



Strengths: Lots of choice between properties, cost, wide application variety.

Weaknesses: Polyurethane is superior in many applications, grades must be selected carefully.

Specification errors: Choosing an ineffective grade of rubber for an application to save on cost, assuming the lower grade will still function.

For more information about which plastic is best for your application, please contact us.

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!


Product Spotlight: Bushings and Bearings

Important note: Redwood Plastics does not stock many bushings or bearings. Customers view our bushing and bearing section and believe we have many off-the-shelf solutions and this is not true. What we can do, is take your available information on your application and try to come up with the best solution out of the many bearing-grade plastics we have available. Most commonly, these are the materials chosen:

Nylon: Handling 4000PSI and available in several grades with various fillers and performance enhancers, nylon is probably our most used bearing material. Nylon can be used in very large or small bushings, since nylon is available in cast or extruded forms. The extruded nylon can be made into very small bushings and larger bushings can be cast to net size and machined to completion.

Tuffkast: Nylon has drawbacks: water absorption, cold weather performance and impact. Tuffkast is a co-polymer that can provide the bearing properties of nylon with the impact resistance of polyurethane. The only reason it isn’t used more is that it’s still earning name recognition.

Polyurethane: Polyurethane is available in Redco 750 and 750 SXL bearing grades. The nice thing about urethane is if you need a mass-produced bushing because we can supply a precision-molded product, machining them to finish if necessary. Polyurethane has great impact resistance and can handle loads up to 2500PSI.

Phenolic/Composites: Composite bushings allow for the highest loads a plastic bushing can take. They perform extremely well high-load, low RPM applications. A benefit of composite bushings is that the material (or a liner on the inner diameter) is designed to create a lubricating film on the shaft, meaning no greasing in some applications. Some of these bearings can be purchased (though are not stocked) in finished sizes common throughout various industries.

Turnaround time for finished bushings varies, but is usually a few weeks. We can always supply just the bearing grade material to you in almost all cases to improve delivery or reduce costs if you want to machine them yourself. If interested in a finished bushing or bearing, unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, the first step is to complete our bearing design worksheet, available by clicking these links for a simple sleeve bushing or a flanged bushing. That can be emailed to and will be reviewed by the appropriate contact for quotation.

For more information on our bushing and bearing solutions, visit our website’s dedicated page here.


Plastic Bushing Solutions

Industrial plastics serve as an excellent bushing/bearing material in everything from needle bearings to large marine bushing applications. Since many industrial plastics are suitable for different bushing applications its best to know the advantages, and potential drawbacks, of each material. The following is not meant to be an extensive guide to selecting a bushing material, just a primer to the different options:

UHMW polyethylene:

UHMW-PE can serve as an excellent low-load bushing, 500-800 PSI is at the top of its limitations. UHMW has the benefit of being economical, self-lubricating and readily available. Customers tend to be very familiar with this particular plastic and trust it. Areas for concern with UHMW are its relative low-load, and high thermal expansion.

Nylon 6:

Cast nylon (nylon 6) is a widely used bushing material and can handle up to 4,000 PSI. Cast nylon is available in several grades including heat stabilized, Moly-filled and oil-filled. The primary area of concern with nylon is its moisture saturation: 4% in a water saturated environment. Impact and cold environments are also a concern for nylon. Nylon bushings can either be made with much more generous allowances in aqueous environments, or acetal may be a substitute.


Acetal is one of, if not, the best plastic to machine due to its hardness and ability to machine to tight tolerances. Acetal is often a good substitute for nylon in marine environments.

Industrial laminates:

Often just called “Micarta” or “phenolic” by customers, industrial laminates excel in high-load, low RPM applications. Certain industrial laminate bearings can handle in excess of 24,000 PSI. You do need to be aware that these bushings should be lubricated and that certain rotational speeds will not work. If you need to know the specifics, just ask.

Redco 750 and 750 XL

Polyurethane bushings are often an excellent choice. They handle abrasion, impact, and can be molded (perhaps with some machining to finish them). Polyurethane can handle up to 2,500 psi. Cold temperatures may be a concern, and tooling costs are often involved with urethane parts, but the end result are effective bushings that can be produced with low-lead times and in quantity.

For answers to your questions on our bushing or bearing material, contact us today.