Nylon For Specialty Applications

Nylon is a family of plastics with several different additives that make them suitable for applications where natural-grade nylon isn’t optimal or won’t be successful. There are three grades of nylon specifically that should be highlighted for their properties in applications with unique demands.

Firstly Redco SL which offers a low coefficient of friction with excellent wear resistance. It was developed for applications where external lubrication is either very difficult or impossible. Redco SL performs better than other nylons and many plastic where the part is rarely accessed for maintenance.

Secondly, Redco glass-filled nylon serves very well for prototypes. The glass filling results in a very dimensionally stable part which can be held to tighter tolerances. This part also has the lowest “cold flow” of any nylon. If you’re looking for a “proof of concept” part than Redco glass filled nylon is an excellent choice.

Lastly, Redco blue is a grade of nylon for high-heat applications, able to withstand up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit ongoing in application. This alone isn’t especially unique, as several plastics such as PTFE handle temperatures just as high. However, Redco blue nylon is the best “bang for your buck” for a heat-tolerant plastic. The alternatives such as the aforementioned PTFE, PEEK, ULTEM, etc. are all much more expensive. If you’re having trouble finding a heat-tolerant plastic and you know your application is 250 degrees F or less, then Redco blue may be an excellent choice for your application.

To see if the Redco nylon products listed above or another plastic is optimal for your application, please contact us today. 

Phenolic Laminates – We’ll Handle Them, Hassle Free

Industrial (“phenolic”) laminates are an odd part of our plastic business – many machine shops and fabricators don’t even know we carry them. Often we find this is because laminates do not look or feel like traditional “plastic” so our customers don’t lump them together with other thermoplastics we sell such as UHMW, nylon, PTFE, HDPE, etc. However, not only can we supply industrial laminates in sheet/rod/tube but we can do the fabrication work for you.

Why should that matter?

If you’ve worked with industrial laminates before, especially the glass-filled types such as G10/FR4, G11, G7, etc…You know how tricky they are to work with. Unless cut and machined using very specific techniques, laminates will get very messy, very fast. Dust can float in the shop for days or even weeks, sticking to your equipment and other surfaces. More importantly, laminate dust and debris can be dangerous as machining the material releases chemicals such as formaldehyde. You do not want yourself or your employees breathing that in!

If you’re uncomfortable with that prospect – bring us your application and let us do the work for you. We can not only supply sheet/rod/tube cut to size, but we can quote your parts complete to your dimensioned drawings or samples. We have an excellent network of suppliers that will allow us to provide quality parts while saving you the hassle of working with the laminates. Take that time and work on your other projects, sound like a plan?

For your questions on our industrial laminates or the services we can provide please contact us.

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Plastics – Myths and Reality

Redwood Plastics is part of the IAPD, the International Associate of Plastics Distribution (www.iapd.org). This organization was formed to develop the awareness of plastics as a solution across a large variety of industries but also to improve the perception of plastics. Recently, the IAPD opened an office in Washington, DC to promote plastics and more importantly, an accurate perception of the beneficial role plastics can play in society. Too often the media reports on masses of plastic floating in the ocean, on landfills brimming with plastic drink bottles and a general sense that the world is being filled with non-biodegradable, non-recyclable products made of a cheap material prone to breakage – or even toxic. Sadly, this does not represent the benefits plastics play in both industry and everyday life. We wanted to address some common myths that seem to prevail – and provide a response based on the facts.

Myth #1: “Plastic is cheap”

Reality:

While there is some reason for the public to hold to this myth – common everyday objects such as disposable cutlery and toys are made of commodity plastics such as polystyrene or ABS that cost comparably little – the plastics Redwood Plastics fabricates and sells, the plastics valued in industry, are anything but cheap. In fact, one of the most common battles we fight are to prove that our industrial plastics are a better choice than traditional materials such as metal or wood, when plastics often sometimes significantly more. Certain high-performance grades of plastic can reach hundreds of dollars per foot for rod or sheet stock.

Myth #2: “Plastic is not durable”

Reality:

Most industrial plastics are significantly stronger than metal. Many will hold up much better to impact, wear and abrasion better than metal. If metals were better – Redwood Plastics would not be in business. But switching metal applications over to longer-lasting, more efficient plastics is what we do.

Myth #3: “It’s just plastic”

Reality:

As a group of materials, plastics are very different from each other. Unfortunately we still receive requests for a variety of applications with different needs to be made out of “plastic”. When we inquire about the type needed, sometimes our customers wonder what we mean? Isn’t it all just the same?

Absolutely not! One example: PTFE is the third most slick solid known and is the high-performance plastic most often encountered by the public as it coats cookware. Customers new to plastic sometimes assume therefore that virgin “white” PTFE would make an excellent hopper liner for aggregate materials. However, PTFE can take very little load and is prone to deformation under load at room temperature. UHMW, a similar “white” plastic is conversely so strong that it tests as “no break” according to ASTM D256 – yet UHMW melts at 220f while PTFE can endure temperatures approaching 500f in constant operation. Could you see the possibility for failure in certain applications if any “white plastic” was used?

Myth #4: “Plastics just clog up landfills. They’re not recyclable”

Reality:

That’s not a plastic problem, that’s a people problem. Those clear plastic drink bottles are usually made of PET film. They are recyclable and the reason they may be filling up landfills is that people throw them in the trash. People also have discarded metal products regularly as well. But are metal products treated with the same destain for the environment? After all, heavy metals in a stream can be much more toxic to the biosphere than a plastic bottle in the ground. Furthermore, many plastics break down in a few hundred years – roughly the same rate as metal. It might also surprise you to learn that Redwood Plastics’ most popular material is our reprocessed UHMW polyethylene. This is a recycled material that offers excellent wear and impact properties with a very low-coefficient of friction. We sell more recycled UHMW than any other single product!

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We’ll address more myths later…

Please contact us for a quote or if you have questions:

E-MAIL: sales@redwoodplastics.com
CDN: 1 800 667 0999
USA: 1 866 733 2684

Plastics – Did You Know?

plastics-are-tough-01For those of us dealing in mechanical and high-performance plastics, the advanced properties and abilities of these plastics to provide solutions in various applications can be a big surprise as we learn about them. After all, most people’s experience with plastics are in consumer items: electronic casings, packaging and disposable products. People come to believe that plastic is “cheap” and are therefore surprised when they learn about the properties of the more advanced plastics. It is a prejudice the industry is constantly fighting to overcome.

On that train of thought, we wanted to share a few random bits of plastic trivia that may surprise you and might change your personal view of these remarkable materials:

-Did you know…PTFE is the third ‘slickest’ solid known?

-Did you know…PTFE is also the only known substance a gecko can’t stick to?

-Did you know…Fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) structural materials have 80% of the strength of steel, at 30% of the weight?

-Did you know…Plastics outwear metal 2-20x in many applications?

-Did you know…Plastics such as HDPE and UHMW can provide medical radiation shielding?

-Did you know…Plastic development helped fuel the post World War II economy?

-Did you know…Elastomers such as polyurethane always return to their original size after any impact?

-Did you know…Many plastics are recyclable?

-Did you know…”Circuit board” laminates used in electronics are a type of plastic?

-Did you know…Plastics such as Polyamide-Imide can continuously operate at 500 degrees Fahrenheit?

-Did you know…UHMW-PE is unbreakable in ASTM notched Izod impact testing?

We could go on and on with the trivia – but that should provide a glimpse into the potential bound up in those polymers. For help with your application, contact us:

E-MAIL: sales@redwoodplastics.com
CDN: 1 800 667 0999
USA: 1 866 733 2684

Armored Plastics

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Plastics offer many advantages over metals and wood in a variety of applications. Many plastics are both chemical and corrosion resistant and absorb little moisture leading to a longer lifespan, lower maintenance downtime and reduced costs. By the nature of their components they are “armored” for protection in applications that other materials cannot stand. However, three plastics are worth highlighting for their exceptional “armor”:

UHMW-PE:

Probably the most popular thermoplastic: UHMW is very resistant to most chemicals. It absorbs virtually no moisture and is very resistant to hydrolysis. UHMW that does not have the additive of carbon black is also an excellent electrical insulator. The only exceptions are strong oxidizing acids and halogenated or aromatic compounds. UHMW combines this resistance to chemicals and corrosion with a low coefficient of friction and a high degree of abrasion-resistance.

Fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP):

FRP materials used in structural applications are highly corrosion and chemical resistant. It is a common misconception that corrosion resistance on a Redco FRP product must be requested. In reality, the basic polyester resin is strong enough for many applications. In the case of a highly corrosive application our material is available in a vinyl ester resin. Similarly, the material is long-lasting and has 80% of the strength of steel. This is combined with low electrical and thermal conductivity. Click here for an in-depth example.

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE):

PTFE is one of the most inert plastics we have, resistant to all chemicals except a few alkali metals and fluorinating agents. In the past PTFE has been subjected to tough applications such as holding or transporting uranium hexafluoride. Furthermore, PTFE is one of the top three slickest solids known and is beneficial in a variety of applications. PTFE is also heat-resistant to the tune of 500 Fahrenheit: one of the best tolerances amongst plastics.

Please contact us for more information on the strengths plastics provide in a variety of applications

E-MAIL: sales@redwoodplastics.com
CDN: 1 800 667 0999
USA: 1 866 733 2684

PTFE – The Bridge Plastic

Polytrifluoroethylene (PTFE) is sometimes considered one of the “miracle” plastics created in the 20th century. Originally created by accident in the labs of DuPont™ it took 16 years until the material was first used (by French engineer Marc Grégoire) in the application where the material is most widely encountered – non-stick cookware. From that point PTFE’s strong reputation was born. Its usefulness in everyday kitchens has convinced the general population of the benefits of PTFE.

In engineering, PTFE and its “sister” fluoropolymers serve as a “bridge plastic” between engineering plastics and the higher performing (and more expensive) imidized plastics. PTFE has some advantages over many other plastics but also some deficiencies that need to be taken into account. We share these not to discount the material – but to provide you with the best possible information to assist in your material choice.

Advantages:

Slick: An extremely low coefficient of friction. Not just the lowest of all plastics, but one of the slickest solid materials known.

Operating temperature: PTFE handles up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit operating temperature which is above most plastics.

Moisture absorption: Essentially nil, sharing this property with Acetal and UHMW.

Disadvantages:

Impact strength:  Materials like UHMW, Nylon, Phenolic and urethanes would be a better choice.

Load strength: Only can handle around 500psi. In many applications where this is important Phenolic, Nylon and Urethanes are a better choice.

Hardness: PTFE is a soft plastic and this property factors into the properties above.

We hope that has shed some light on PTFE. For more information on Redco™ PTFE click here or contact us today.

E-MAIL: sales@redwoodplastics.com
CDN: 1 800 667 0999
USA: 1 866 733 2684

Customized PTFE Parts for Bottling Plant

Recently Redwood Plastic contacted a client who was restarting a bottling plant. The original equipment manufacturer was located in Europe and a variety of parts would need to be sourced via expensive and time-consuming shipping. After consultations with the Plant Operations Manager, 500 examples (100 each of five different parts) were produced with design modifications which ended up improving production. These new parts not only saved our customer costly shipping fees, but saved them time, and increased their production.

All parts were fabricated with Redco PTFE,  which has the lowest coefficient of friction in our current product line, is non-reactive, self-lubricating, and has excellent temperature tolerance (up to +500F). Redco PTFE makes an excellent choice for a variety of parts, especially when sliding between parts or on surfaces.

Contact Redwood Plastics for more information on innovative plastics solutions.

E-MAIL: sales@redwoodplastics.com

CDN: 1 800 667 0999

USA: 1 866 733 2684