When we think of plastic, we think of plastic bags you get at the grocery store or maybe your child’s toy that’s made out of cheap throw away material. If you stop and think about it, plastic is everywhere and it’s uses are almost infinite. Take Acetal Copolymer, it is a plastic that replaces metal in numerous applications and is used to make gears, screws and other hard working parts. Consider PTFE for instance which is used to coat your frying pan to make it non-stick, make steam valves and fittings, and chemical resistant parts. Another material is Polycarbonate or Lexan® (a SABIC brand name -formerly G.E. Plastics) which is used to replace glass because it is shatter resistant and is also used for bullet resistant glazing and riot shields. Even the cup of coffee you grab for every morning is made of foamed Styrene – Styrofoam. But plastic has shaped our lives in countless ways, many of them you might not even think of or notice.
Plastics play a big part in the world of medicine. Some other advancements in the area of medicine include assisting people with debilitating injuries and serious afflictions, helping them feel more comfortable and move easier. Prosthetic limbs and joint replacements have come along way since the old days of metal and wood. Since the late 90’s UHMW or (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) has become the standard in hip and joint replacements. With plastics like UHMW, which has great wear resistance, excellent strength and very low co-efficient of friction (very slippery), it has made people who need these surgeries have better mobility and better quality of life. These plastics also make prosthetic limbs lighter and stronger for athletes who wish to compete and lead near normal active lifestyles due to the use of plastic polymers (derived from the Greek meaning ‘many parts’) mimicking human flexibility. Prosthetic devices date all the way back to the ancient Egyptians where they used leather and wood for toe and foot replacements. But thanks to today’s technologies and advancements in as plastic, most amputees and athletes can regain their quality of life and enabling them to do what they love.
What has Medical Plastic Done For You Lately?
Another plastic material that has changed the medical field is PEEK (Polyetheretherketone). This material is a newer plastic which has high chemical resistance along with excellent high continuous temperature resistance of up to 480 degrees fahrenheit. PEEK has replaced many metal devices in the medical field, because PEEK is one of the only thermoplastics (plastic which can be bent or shaped) able to withstand high doses of radiation over an extended lifetime. In addition PEEK is used to help many people awaiting kidney transplants because it is used to make a critical component in dialysis machines. These machines need to clean the blood over a period of several hours and because of this, PEEK is the natural solution, as it can be steam cleaned time and time again with little effect on the material. Along with its great chemical, temperature, and fluid handling stability, PEEK is USP Class VI, making it ideal for these types of medical applications. The natural color of PEEK is a beige to tan and is available in sheet and rod. One of the largest manufacturers of PEEK resin is Victrex and their 450G resin.
Plastics In Medicine – Everyday
Plastic materials have become apart of our lives and has changed the way we take care of the sick and injured, how we protect our foods from germs, and prolong the storage of foods. Plastics protect medical instruments and insure they are sterile. It has made people’s lives better in both the short and long term. It has helped reduce pain, gain better movement and has given people their confidence back. The values of plastic can not be understated and in the future, hopefully plastics will save or prolong many more lives through advancements in technology and the limitless possibilities it presents.
For more information on these and other medical grade plastics like: Clear Nylon (look for blog post on this), Ultem, Polysulfone, Radel and more, contact us. E-mail us or call 866-832-9315
Choosing a PTFE – TFE Sheet Supplier can be difficult, confusing and potentially costly. There are many industries and applications where PTFE – TFE Sheet materials are used, and many providers that want to fill this need. However, it can be difficult to find a supplier that meets all of your business’ PTFE – TFE Sheet needs. To help you choose the supplier that is right for your business, we have compiled this list of 7 things you must know when picking PTFE – TFE Sheet Suppliers.
1. PTFE – TFE is available in many shapes and sizes
Polytetraflouroethylene (PTFE) can be ordered in many different forms, including rods, sheets, blocks, strips, slabs and tubes. As your business grows, you may need access to one or more additional configurations – or perhaps your business is already using multiple configurations. Choose the proper PTFE Sheet Supplier that can meet not only your current needs, but future needs as well. You can view further information about the shapes and sizes as well as and resin properties on our PTFE – TFE information page here.
2. There are a variety of PTFE – TFE Sheet thicknesses to choose from
It is important to have access to multiple sheet thicknesses, and convenient and cost effective to access them all from one Sheet Supplier. That’s why Industrial Plastic Supply offers sheet thicknesses ranging from .005″ to 3.0″, and rod diameters from .125″ to 6.0″. Film is also available. As with in stock availability, your PTFE Sheet Supplier should also be able to meet all of your Sheet thickness needs. Standard sheet sizes are 48” X 48”, and films generally are stocked in 12” wide rolls.
3. Not all PTFE materials are created equal
Some PTFE – TFE Sheet Suppliers order materials from ‘who ever they can get it from’ on an as-needed basis. This brings the question of quality and consistency to mind. There are many manufacturers, including some from China and Russia with questionable quality ratings and machinability. Before committing to a quality PTFE Sheet Supplier, make sure that the supplier is using a reputable manufacturer, and that the quality of material meets your needs. Getting stuck with a poor quality, difficult or impossible to machine block of PTFE can be time consuming and costly.
4. Minimum material order amounts matter
Large Sheet Suppliers and other plastic suppliers often have high minimum order requirements. This makes sense for high volume applications, but for small businesses, or any business in the clutch, it may be necessary to request a smaller total order. Rather than work with multiple PTFE or Plastic Sheet Suppliers based on order size, choose a supplier that can service any order whether large or small. Industrial Plastic Supply has a low minimum material order of $20.
5. Many suppliers do not keep inventory in stock
Just like Grandpa used to say, “You can’t sell from an empty cart”.
Buying your materials from a plastic ‘broker’, means you may have to wait while they try to find the materials to fulfill your requirements. It may also mean that you get the quality of material that they can find quickly. While this may be acceptable for materials that are rarely ordered, your PTFE Sheet Supplier should have your business’ most commonly used materials on hand. This avoids delays and ensures the quickest possible turnaround times on your important orders, and materials from stock means a quality product for your parts.
6. Industry knowledge is critical
You want a Sheet Supplier that not only can deliver your materials, but answer any questions you may have, including the tough ones – whenever they arise. Finding a quality PTFE Sheet Supplier with expert knowledge and great availability will save your business headaches in the long run. Industrial Plastic Supply’s highly trained staff has an average of nineteen and a half years of experience in the plastic industry, and are only a phone call or e-mail away.
7. Choose a supplier with focus
A focus on industrial grade plastic supplies ensures that a supplier is specialized and knowledgeable enough to be your PTFE Sheet Supplier. By focusing on plastics, such a supplier will be dedicated to your mechanical plastic Sheets, Rods, Tube and other shape needs, no matter the application, and no matter how your business changes. Your important orders will be processed timely and efficiently. Since 1975, Industrial Plastic Supply has focused on the mechanical and machinable plastics market, and nothing else. For more information on PTFE Sheets or other plastic materials, contact Industrial Plastic Supply, 866-832-9315. We will work to earn your business.Also, compare PTFE with UHMW or read our post UHMW Sheet versus PTFE Sheets; or read our post How to use PTFE Rod for ideas.
Gehr Plastics has been a major global manufacturer in the plastic sheet and rod industry since 1932. During this period, Gehr has become a leader in a variety of product lines, and also become known for very large sizes in both sheet and rod. Currently Gehr can produce Acetal rod up to 20″ in diameter and sheets up to 8″ thick. Some of the many plastic materials the Gehr produces:
Radel Rod is produced in many medical grade colors
Being innovative also means looking forward. Gehr was selected as the Bioplastics manufacturer of the year in 2008, partly for the new line of plastic materials which have a bio base. These materials have a variety of bio based forms, including: a PLA base, Cellulose based, Polyamide and Wood – Plastic Composite (WPC). One such material is ECOGEHR PLA-L which is a blend of polylactic (polylactic acid), some lignine, fatty acid and wax. This biopolymer is new to our industry and can be used in temperatures ranging from -22 °F to +140 °F.This complete line of materials is one of the only available in the plastic industry to be comprised of many renewable raw materials. Gehr leads the way in this exceptional and innovative product line.
ClearGehr Polyamide Rod
This brand new product is a Clear Polyamide rod. The outside surface is as extruded, and can be polished. This enables the production of a relatively clear sight glass quality material with most of the high end properties of Polyamide – Nylon material. We have supplied this material for small machined parts where neither Polycarbonate nor Acrylic would work well. Because of the natural inherit chemical resistance of Polyamide, this high end ClearGehr rod can out perform all normal transparent plastics. Give us a call to see if this new innovative product will work in your difficult application.
FDA Approved Wear Grade Acetal
Have you been looking for an extended wear Acetal material (like the PTFE filled Acetals – Delrin AF), but need it to be FDA approved? Then perhaps you should consider WearGehr. This proprietary filled Acetal material has excellent wear resistance, and retains the FDA approval of the base Acetal, unlike the PTFE filled Acetal materials which are not FDA approved. It is made in a blue color for easy identification, also it remains very machinable. Contact us for more information on this excellent high tech material.Call us at 866-832-9315 or send us a note here.
A newly released form of Filled PEEK is now available. This PEEK is filled with PTFE and is called Unitrex Lf20, and it is filled with 20% PTFE. This new grade of PTFE Filled PEEK plastic was originally produced by Nytef Plastics. It is an extruded thermoplastic that comes in both rod and sheet form. This grade has significantly improved properties over the standard unfilled grades of PEEK. The PTFE filler provides excellent wear properties and has a very low co-efficient of friction, which makes this a great material for sliding and wear applications, and is made to last for long periods of abuse. Unitrex Lf20 has great machinability and dimensionally stability. It has a wide range of uses in such fields as medical, semi-conductor, and aerospace seals, where standard PEEK is too rigid. These properties enable this material to replace Polyimide (Vespel®) and PCTFE (formerly Kel-F) in many applications of high chemical resistance and the ductility for use in seals. This Filled PEEK works extremely well in Medical, Semi-Conductor and Aerospace Seal applications.
PTFE Filled PEEK vs. PTFE Filled Acetal
Comparable to Lf13 which is 13% PTFE filled Delrin® (Delrin® AF), which is also good for most of the same types of applications but cannot withstand the high temperatures than that of Unitrex Lf20. The PTFE Filled PEEK has a melting point of 650 degrees F while the PTFE Filled Delrin® – Unital® Lf13 has a melt point of 347 degrees F, making both materials high temperature plastics.
Because the Nytef Unitrex Lf20 is filled with PTFE (which has the lowest co-efficient of friction of any plastic), it is ideal for sliding and wear applications. It also has a kinetic and static friction resistance of 0.1 which makes it the perfect choice for jobs were heat from friction should not be generated and part longevity is critical. Unitrex Lf20 offers superior properties to many other plastics, such as high heat and chemical resistance but also great friction resistance along with improved properties to make it a great plastic for a wide spectrum of uses.
Why Change from Vespel SP-1 or PCTFE to Unitrex Lf20?
While this new PTFE Filled PEEK will not replace the Vespel SP-1 and PCTFE in all applications, it certainly will in many applications (see table for comparison). The main reason to make a change is, drum roll please, COST. The Unitrex Lf20 is up to 30% less expensive that the other materials. With similar and comparable properties, consider making the change.
Unitrex® Lf20 also exhibits a far superior chemical resistance to that of its Acetal counterpart due to PEEK having a far better range of chemical resistance to aqueous and organic environments as well as acids and alkalines. Acetal Copolymer tends to degrade when exposed to such chemicals like sulfuric acid and chlorine while PEEK only tends to be attacked by halogens and hydrocarbons such as in crude oils. For additional properties and to compare the Unitrex LF-20 to Dupont Vespel SP-1 and PCTFE see the table below. Here is a copy of the full data sheet on Nytef Unitrex Lf20.
Standard Properties Table
UnitrexLF20 Nominal Value
PCTFE(Kel-f) Nominal Value
VespelSP-1 Nominal Value
2.1 – 2.14
4,800 – 5,300
45 – 60 E
410 – 415
Kinetic Coef. of Friction
Static Coef. of Friction
For additional details on these and other materials, please contact us here or call us at 866-832-9315
Unitrex and Unital are registered trademarks of Polymer Industries Delrin and Vespel are registered trademarks of E.I. Dupont