Placeholder canvas
CALL (866) 832-9315
Request a Quote
Finding a Quality Performance Plastic Sheet Supplier

Finding a Quality Performance Plastic Sheet Supplier

Best Methods for Choosing a Quality Performance Plastic Sheet and Rod Supplier

Finding a plastic sheet supplier might seem like a monumental task with all the different suppliers out there – but there are a few ways that you can narrow down your choices.

Here are five key factors to consider when you’re looking for a quality supplier of plastic sheets.

1) Where do they source their plastic materials?

With many dozen manufacturers through out North America, and many more in far off lands, it is important to know who makes your material. Material sources from North America has been considered the premier quality in Performance Plastic materials. Not only is the quality of extruded or molded sheets and rods important, but also the long process of secondary annealing. This removes residual stress from the material, and this will produce a better finished part with reduced warp and twist and even center-line cracking. Not only should the materials look good, they must machine well without cracking. Quality matters.

2) Do they carry what you need?

This might seem straightforward, but it is one of the most important things to keep in mind, especially if you’re looking for large-scale products or highly specialized resins. Often, different plastic suppliers will specialize in resins with similar end uses as well, so it’s important that you find one that understands the requirements of your particular industry. Many suppliers are actually ‘brokers’ and don’t really have a warehouse with material ‘in stock’. Look for a supplier that has a wide variety of quality performance plastics in stock and ready for you to pick up.

3) Do they meet your quality standards?

Many plastic suppliers have to meet particular certifications and regulatory compliance standards, especially if they want to maintain a professional and accurate business. The bare minimum for a quality plastic sheet supplier is an updated ISO 9001 quality management system and ITAR compliance, but there are several other standards and material certifications available as well, such as ANSI and RoHS compliance, which ensure that the supplier does not sell or consume unethical products in the course of their business. Are the customer service staff members certified by an outside agency?

4) Don’t forget communication and customer service

Good communication is important in any supplier-customer relationship. A quality plastic sheet supplier will communicate professionally and quickly with you, and they will be transparent about their products, quality certifications and compliance, and their capabilities. Many suppliers have reviews or testimonials on their websites that you can read to get a better idea of their service–or you can contact them directly as well. The best customer service companies have trained staff, in the plastic industry one of the keys to a trained staff would be are they IAPD (International Association of Plastic Distribution) certified?

5) Balance quality and price

Huge in stock inventory of Performance Plastic Rod

With all of the plastic suppliers out there, it’s important to find one that not only meets your standards of quality, but also offers you competitive pricing. Balancing the quality of the material you receive with the budget set out for it is an important task when choosing a plastic supplier. Sourcing all High Performance Plastic materials from North American manufactures helps to insure quality products, and at a competitive price. While not the cheapest, the quality of North American Performance Plastic is second to none!

Choose Industrial Plastic Supply, Inc. for your Performance Plastic needs

If you are looking for a quality plastic sheet supplier, then you should consider Industrial Plastic Supply, Inc.  We have been in the business since 1975 and maintain a vast and varied inventory of performance plastic materials, all sourced from North American Manufacturers, and are proud of our trained customer service staff – all IAPD certified.

Industrial Plastic Supply, Inc. also Check out our website to learn more.  

Comparing HDPE and UHMW Polyethylene

Comparing HDPE and UHMW Polyethylene

HDPE vs UHMW: When to Use High-Density Polyethylene

HDPE and UHMW are popular and well known types of plastics across many different industries for their reliability, so much so that many people have started to use them interchangeably. However, their uses don’t coin cide nearly as often as many think–HDPE has different qualities that lend well to different applications. While both materials are very light, with a density of .94 – which means they both float in water.

When best to use HDPE

High-Density Polyethylene or HDPE is known for its versatility and low moisture absorption, which result from its high-density chemical makeup. Its chemical composition also makes it highly chemical resistant, so it’s excellent for applications that involve moisture or mild chemicals.

HDPE is also very easy to machine and shape. As a result, it has been used successfully to make plastic lumber, milk jugs, containers, cutting boards, and many other products.

In addition to being easy to machine, HDPE sheet and rod are also relatively lightweight, and can be NSF and FDA compliant. This very durable material can not be glued or bonded, and thus must be heat welded together or attached with mechanical fasteners. HDPE is excellent for applications where reduced weight and low costs are paramount. This, combined with its easy machinability, allows HDPE to be cut, drilled, routed and shaped for many different end uses. Food cutting boards, piping, storage vessels, marine components, and many more benefit from HDPE. It’s also been successful in outdoor furniture, signage, playground equipment, structural tanks, food processing equipment, vacuum-formed parts, transfer boards, tank liners–and this is just a small number of its applications.

When not to use HDPE

While HDPE and UHMW have similar properties, they are often better suited to different tasks. Both plastics do have high impact resistance, but UHMW (Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) performs better in applications where friction and constant impact are present. The UHMW molecular chain is much longer, thus giving UHMW the extreme wear resistance. This results in UHMW being used more often in functional components, like conveyor systems, concrete chute liners, mated parts, bumpers, and bearing applications. HDPE does not perform as well as UHMW under constant friction, making HDPE better for food processing surfaces, chemical resistant parts, decorative products, or components that will not experience constant friction. If a reduced friction application is needed, the use of UHMW with a coefficient of friction of just 0.08 (compared to HDPE with a coefficient of friction of 0.20) is much more suitable.

Find all your performance plastics at Industrial Plastic Supply

We are performance plastics experts, with a vast inventory available and the most experienced customer service team to offer our customers. Contact us today for more information about what we can do for you.

Acetal Copolymer Provided by Industrial Plastic Supply, Inc.

Acetal Copolymer Provided by Industrial Plastic Supply, Inc.

High Standards And Procurement From Reliable U.S. Manufacturers

Industrial Plastic Supply Inc. is ISO-9001:2015 certified. This benefits our customers since this certification communicates that we take quality and consistency seriously. We distinguish ourselves by providing Acetal Copolymer rods and sheets of exceptional quality over and over again so customers don’t have to wonder what they are getting when they do business with us.

American sourcing is another point of pride. In a time of global trade, a distributor may choose to do business with suppliers outside the U.S.. However, we believe that American quality and standards are top of the line. As such, our Acetal Copolymer is sourced from U.S. manufacturers. Our business partners – customers and vendors alike – can take pride knowing that their investments and dealings with Industrial Plastic Supply benefits U.S. customers, employees, and communities.

U.S. Sourcing Advantage

The benefit to customers in sourcing plastic from U.S. producers is more than patriotic or sentimental. Fact is, supply chains are more delicate than many of us imagine. Whether due to natural disasters, materials shortages, or politics, supply chains can fray and even snap. When that happens, price predictability and long-term supply/shipping agreements are thrown into disarray. Customers don’t want to hear excuses and “maybes” after they have signed contracts, paid money, and anticipate Acetal Copolymer products.

We pride ourselves on stocking and providing quality North American made Acetal Copolymer produced under the trade names: Tecaform® AH, Sustarin® C and ZL® 900. Each of these quality brand names are widely known for exceptional quality, consistency and durability.

Why Acetal Copolymer Is A Good Investment

Acetal Copolymer Sheet and Rod

Acetal Copolymer Performance Plastic

Acetal Copolymer is FDA compliant, opening up its use for food processing and packaging. The material is also stiff, resilient, and abrasion-resistant to a very high degree. Industrial Plastic Supply provides Acetal Copolymer materials in natural (white), black, and blue. Its stiffness and ability to hold shape under harsh conditions means that Acetal Copolymer sheets and rods can be shaped with standard cutting tools. This quality Copolymer Acetal material is FDA and NSF approved.

There are several special grades of Acetal that are formulated for tough food processing applications. Acetal Copolymer is available in a food grade blue for optical detection during food processing. This eliminates broken parts from getting into finished food products. There are also ultra detectable grades that are visual, x-ray and metal detectable for high end food processing applications. Contact us for more information on these special materials.

Automotive, Aerospace, and Medical Use

This plastic has exceptional ability to hold shape under stress, making it an excellent product in automotive and aerospace hardware. Gears, rollers, fuel lines, pumps and medical equipment all make use of Acetal Copolymer. However, care must be taken that the Acetal Copolymer is not exposed to temperatures above roughly 230 Fahrenheit (110 Celsius).

Safety Considerations

There are several factors to keep in mind when handling Acetal Copolymer:

  • Upon intense heating, Acetal Copolymer releases formaldehyde and carbon monoxide.
  • If machining or grinding, small Acetal Copolymer dust particles pose an inhalation and explosion hazard.
  • Prolonged exposure to UV light degrades Acetal Copolymer exposed surfaces and may change physical resilience.

Therefore, proper procedures must be taken when handling and machining this material. This is something Industrial Plastic Supply Inc. takes very seriously, not just for compliance reasons but also for the health and well being of our employees, customers, and ultimately the end-users.

Contact Industrial Plastic Supply for Acetal Copolymer

Industrial Plastic Supply Inc. is proud to be a distributor of Acetal Copolymer and other polymers. Contact us today for a quote and details about products, delivery, prices, and more. Call us @ 866-832-9315

Got Milk… jugs? Now made from HDPE

Got Milk… jugs? Now made from HDPE

Why food safe HDPE plastic replaced glass as the go-to milk container.

Many of you, should you be older than 60, may remember the “Milk Man”. This delivery service from decades ago, was a most common way of transporting milk to the consumer. Back then, suppliers used glass bottles, delivered by this milk man, right to your front door.

HDPE is Food Safe

When looking at alternatives, the milk processing industry found a use and benefit from replacing the glass with a plastic called High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). But what is HDPE, and what are the benefits of using it?

Why HDPE replace Glass Bottles

Glass is heavy, HDPE plastic is light

One of the characteristics of this thermoplastic is the weight of the material. The reason this is so beneficial brings us back to the milk jug. Old style glass milk containers could hold 32 oz., with the empty glass weighing 1.25 lbs. An empty gallon water or milk jug (128 oz.) weighs in at only 0.25 lbs, and holds 4 times more volume. When full, the milk jug can hold more volume than the glass bottle without compromising the strength, especially when being transported. This lowers the overall transport time and significantly reduces the cost of shipping.

This drop in weight and large increase in capacity is why the industry made the switch. The attribute of high durability in plastic materials like HDPE is known as the “strength to weight ratio”. As already mentioned, this was a huge benefit from switching to HDPE containers – the impact it has on transport costs. The high impact resistance of the material allows for easy transport. The HDPE jugs can withstand the jarring and bumping that is a natural part of mass transit, with almost zero wear or breakage to the product. Compared to the glass bottle, too hard of a turn or a pothole in the road could lead to the disheartening sound of shattering glass… not an ideal result for the distributing company. The HDPE impact resistance still holds true through out the supply chain, and even when the containers enter a store or home. If a HDPE milk jug should fall, the plastic container may spill, but it won’t cause the harm or damage that glass would. Broken glass poses a hazard and a risk, whereas plastic in this case can be easily cleaned, recycled, and used again.

When discussing this topic, the argument of recycling and sustainability sets its sights on plastics. In reality, the carbon footprint of plastics is much smaller than that of glass. The amount of heat necessary to heat up plastic for recycling is dramatically lower than that of glass, making it more sustainable in the long run. Yes, both are 100% recyclable, but the amount of fuel necessary plays a big factor. The temperature needed for melting and processing HDPE is between 248 and 356°F depending on grade. Whereas glasHDPE is 100% recycables materials requires a minimum temperature of 2,600°F, according to SeattlePI. As you can see, these temperatures are very different, and shows why the life cycle of plastic is more eco-friendly and a better option to preserve our environment.

Immensely versatile HDPE applications

HDPE has many more uses, like in structural tanks, FDA approved cutting boards and industrial piping systems. This material outweighs most alternatives in benefits due to it’s cost and performance, and is produced in sheet and rod by many major manufacturers in the USA. HDPE plastics are FDA and NSF approved for food applications, making HDPE a food safe product for most food processing and packing applications. For more details on HDPE and it’s benefits see Industrial Plastic Supply or call 866-832-9315

What other applications could benefit from newer and improved materials to make our world safer, cleaner and more efficient?

Co-author: Graham Hess

Performance Plastic Vs Single Use Plastic

Performance Plastic Vs Single Use Plastic

What is a Performance Plastic?

The quick answer is: the opposite of single use plastic.

Performance plastics are a wide range of materials that are designed for use in mechanical, engineering, aerospace, food processing, and  many other applications. These performance plastic materials generally have superior physical properties, and frequently are used to replace other materials like metals, wood and glass.

Most performance plastic sheets and rods are machinable, and can be used to replace other substrates that can not stand up to the same demanding applications that these performance plastics can. Performance plastics are the natural choice when considering replacement for traditional materials, such as bronze, stainless steel, glass, wood and copper, for not just one reason but rather a combination of features and benefits.

Nearly all Performance Plastic grades can be recycled.

Because of their cost-effectiveness as well as their reliability, durability, and special characteristics like resistance to chemicals and corrosion the high performance plastic materials are steadily replacing metals in the oil and gas industry. The constant development of new and better high performance plastics is therefore closely linked to the development and economic production of the range of available performance plastic materials. High performance plastics can be divided in amorphous and semi-crystalline polymers, just like all polymers.

Performance Plastics properties

Single Use Plastic properties

Long life – up to 50 years of serviceVery short, often instant throw away
Wear ResistanceVery cheap
Self LubricatingLittle to no physical properties
High Heat ResistanceVery low melting point
MachinableVery light weight
Can be Very UV ResistantDeteriorates quickly
Very Long LifeExtremely short life
Tough and DurableConsidered disposable
Very High Impact StrengthFlimsy, low value

Why use a Performance Plastic?

Performance plastics are designed for repeated or multi-use applications and generate a smaller carbon footprint than glass, steel, or wood. High performance plastics are plastics that can perform well under extreme environments. Because most performance plastics are considered ‘self lubricating’, these materials can be made into parts that replace metals, and don’t require the continual maintenance and lubrication that metals require.

Over the past few decades Mechanical Plastics have increasingly replaced metals due to their strength-to-weight ratios, and resistance to wear have surpassed aluminum and steel, respectively.  When certain additives are blended with thermoplastic polymers, this performance plastic can meet code and compliance requirements for smoke, flammability, and even toxic gas release. Several high end performance plastics can meet the stringent FM-4910 flame and smoke rating.

Performance Plastic materials are not ‘cheap’

As opposed to ‘single use’ plastics, the performance plastic materials are not inexpensive or ‘throw away’. Rather these high performance materials are designed for specific applications, and out perform most other substrates. Other characteristics of high performance plastics can be extraordinary resistance to wear and tear, high purity or particular electrical insulation. High performance plastics are plastics that can perform well under extreme circumstances. High performance plastics are best known for their temperature, chemical and wear resistance.

Performance Plastics offers high performance plastics for high performance applications, at economical prices, made by quality American made engineering plastics manufacturers. High-performance plastics are formulated to operate under extreme chemical, high temperature and heavy load applications or any combination of these. Most performance plastics are used where the highest demands are placed on thermal or chemical resistance, product mechanics, or on the self-lubrication of products. Several of our key North American suppliers are: Ensinger Plastics, Rochling Plastics, Z/L Engineering Plastics, Simona-America, Plaskolite, and many more.

There are many materials that are considered high performance plastic. Several of the better known and popular materials include: Nylon (Type 6, Type 6/6, Type 6/12), Acetal (both Acetal Copolymer and Acetal Homopolymer), Polysulfone, PTFE, Radel R5500, Ultem (Ultem 1000 and Ultem 2300) and PEEK (Victrex 450g), and many more. Each of these materials have their own unique set of physical properties as well as strengths and weaknesses. Please review the data sheets for each of these materials, and then contact us with any questions you may have on suitability for your applications.

In the performance plastic market, one size does not fit all. With over 50 high performance plastics, each with its own physical properties, several materials may be proper choices for your performance plastic requirement. Please feel free to call one of our certified and trained customer service personnel for assistance in choosing the best performance plastic for your application.

New Performance Plastics Making Metals Obsolete

New Performance Plastics Making Metals Obsolete

Metals have been around for a very long time

The history of metals is thought to have begun with the use of copper about 11,000 years ago. Gold, silver, iron, lead, and even some brass began to be used before the first known appearance of bronze in the 5th millennium BCE High Quality Performance Plastics are replacing Metals

Artifacts made of smelted iron have been found dating from about 3000 BC in Egypt and Mesopotamia. In those times, iron was a ceremonial metal; it was far too expensive to be used in everyday life. Metals are commonly very stiff, tough and strong. However, they are also generally quite heavy. Also, the cost to heat metal to production temperatures is extremely high, over 5 times that of Performance Plastic materials. When metals corrode they get smaller, and many can decompose to yield rust.

In comparison, plastics only were first made in the early 1900’s. The world’s first known fully synthetic plastic was bakelite (now days considered Phenolic), and was invented in New York in 1907 by Leo Baekeland who coined the term ‘plastics’. Since this date, thousands of chemists and material scientists have synthesized dozens of plastic base materials. Plastic materials are currently available in over 80 types, and each of these are molded or processed at slightly different temperatures. The wide range of performance plastic materials will allow you to choose the perfect material for your next application.

Some of The Advantages of New Performance Plastic Materials

New Higher Temperature Performance Plastic Materials

New Performance Plastic materials like Victrex 450g PEEK and Sabic Ultem 1000 have much higher use temperatures over previous performance plastic materials. The Ultem 1000 unfilled has a continual use temperature above 400 degrees F, while the newer Victrex 450g PEEK materials work well at 480 degrees F on a continuous basis. In addition to the higher temperatures, they are still food grade materials.

Most plastic materials can typically be molded in a temperature range of 400 to 600 degree F. While steel starts to melt at 2,500 degrees F. This is five times the temperature, meaning it takes 5 times the energy to convert steel instead of plastic. Lower temperatures equates to lower costs of production.

New Lower Weight Materials

The average plastic weighs just 20% of the average metal product. Many plastics have exceptional weight to strength ratios, meaning that for the weight of the product they are very strong. This low weight means much less raw materials and less impact on the environment if using plastics over metals. This results in lower cost to manufacture parts from plastics over metal.

For instance, new UV grades of HDPE or High Density Polyethylene are very light, with a density of just .96, so light it floats in water. And yet, this new UV grade of HDPE is a workhorse in the plastic market, and is used to replace wood and metals in outdoor furniture.

New Detectable Materials For Food Contact Approved

Most Performance Plastic materials were engineered to be food contact compliant, and in most cases FDA approved for food contact. With the increase in food recalls, finding the proper materials to ensure that our foods are safe is imperative. Materials like Acetal Copolymer, Acetal Homopolymer, Nylon, Ultem 1000 and Victrex 450g PEEK are all FDA approved for direct food contact.

Which Performance Plastic Will Work The Best

Here are some new performance plastic material grades that include additives to make these materials detectable during food processing. These newly released detectable products include Tecaform AH UD (copolymer acetal base), Tecapeek UD Blue (PEEK based) and Hydex 4101 UD Blue PBT – Polyester base). Each of these new performance plastic materials comes in Blue color to be detected by color sensors during food processing. The “UD” portion allows these materials to be detected by X-Ray and Metal Detection scanners in food processing production lines. Using these new detectable performance plastic materials in food processing plants can help to eliminate food contamination issues and massive food recalls.

Recent Rising Costs Of Transportation

Changes in transportation rules and regulations since 2018 have made shipping raw materials significantly more expensive. Weight, size restrictions and surcharges for longer packages have more than doubled in the last year.

This has made one of the most expensive components of materials reaching the marketplace is transportation costs, and over the last several years the costs of moving materials across the country has skyrocketed. Metals are heavy, and this weight makes many items very expensive to transport.

Each step in the production of a finished good generally involves shipping to the next step. Raw material converted into base material, then base material converted into usable shape. Later this shape is turned into a component or part. Each time there is a conversion, there normally is shipping to the next processor. Metal weight can limit the amount of metal that can be moved at one time, where plastics can ship up to five times more product per truckload.

With performance plastics, often the conversion in small factories that can be located near final assembly of components limits the amount of shipping of plastic parts. Also, due to the light weight of plastics, trucks can hold up to five times the amount of plastic over metals for shipping. Many plastic parts are made very close to where they will be consumed, cutting logistics fees. This five times the weight also translates to five times higher cost to ship metals. This reduction of transportation costs moves more profit to the bottom line.

New Performance Plastic Materials Eliminate Need For Lubrication

Often, on large metal parts or assemblies, grease ports are added to make lubricating the metal parts easy. Metal on metal parts will wear out very quickly, and therefore require regular service and lubrication.

Newly released performance plastic materials have made lubrication obsolete. One such material is a new compounded Nylon material, called Nylatech PVM has FDA approved oil additives. This new Cast Nylon material runs well for extended periods without external lubrication. This material runs quieter and smoother than previously used metal parts due to a much lower coefficient of friction, and requires no regular maintenance.

Another new grade of Performance Plastic material that is rated as ‘self-lubricating’, and have excellent wear resistance is Lub-X UHMW, which now makes curves in bottling plants move smoother, quieter and require no lubrication. These long wearing and high strength materials outperform most other substrate for low cost, high performance, low weight and self lubrication.

Each of these plastic advantages yield cost savings and long product life. Along with these new areas of advantage, Performance Plastics are 100% recyclable, and can be reprocessed into high strength parts again and again. The plastic recycling industry is still in its infancy, and as it becomes more adept at recycling and reusing valuable plastic materials, our planet and our pocket books will benefit.