Product Spotlight: Redco ULTEM

High performance plastics face extra challenges other materials do not. Because of the prevalence of consumer grade plastic, unfortunately plastic with much of the public has become synonymous with “cheap” – low price and low quality. Unfortunately, this is a complete myth for the three grades of plastics (engineering/industrial, high performance, and imidized) that are above consumer grade plastics. In fact, at the higher tiers of quality plastics widely outperform metal and other traditional materials in most applications. And this does come with a subsequent increase in product cost (though usually a lower “lifecycle cost”). But for your money you get quality in a phenomenal material.

ULTEM (polyetherimide – “PEI”) in its virgin form has an interesting amber/translucent color. It handles hot water and air well, up to 332 Fahrenheit in continuous operation. Its resistance to repeated steam sterilization makes it a prized material for medical tools and devices. ULTEM is also very useful to the electronics industry due to its dielectric constant and arc resistance. It is also resistant to gamma radiation and does not absorb water. ULTEM is considered a dimensionally stable plastic with high strength and rigidity allowing it to be machined precisely to tighter tolerances than other plastics would allow. It is also available in 10, 20, and 30% glass filled grades to offer even higher dimensional stability.

If you have a high heat application requiring a precisely machined part ULTEM may be the optimal plastic for you. To discuss this or other plastics please contact us.

Solution Spotlight: ULTEM Emergency Valve Replacement

As people involved in performance plastic solutions, things often move slow. Consultations, material tests, and products that sometimes involve several weeks lead time to manufacture. But every now and then that pace is broken up with an urgent situation. Recently one of our sales people was contacted by a client in the food service industry. They had a valve that was seizing up and could only run the plant at 1/2 speed. The OEM of the equipment gave a 5 week lead time for a replacement valve, which would have cost our client an enormous amount of production. Our sales person went to work, first quoting a replacement for the under-performing acetal valve, made out of higher performance Redco ULTEM. ULTEM is a high-performance plastic that has excellent physical properties, is very tough, can handle high temperatures, and machines very well.

After some quick back and forth verbal quoting we received the go-ahead to rush the valve with less than 48 hours to get our hands on the ULTEM, machine, and get it to the customer. The valve was installed and was a total success. In fact, the customer who has multiple machines using this valve, will be converting over to the Redco ULTEM version exclusively.

Redwood Plastics reps are committed to doing their best for our customers. And while we can’t always work miracles, we will give it our all when circumstances such as this emergency come up. To contact a Redwood Plastics representative click here.