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Isn’t Plastic Just A Cheap Material?

Isn’t Plastic Just A Cheap Material?

We have all heard the upset consumer angry about the ‘Cheap Plastic’, normally about a thin plastic bag or water bottle that just broke during normal use.

“I thought ALL Plastic Was A Just A Cheap Material?”

We do hear this question regularly. And, maybe, in years gone by Plastic was that Cheap material.

Back in the 50′s and 60′s, plastics were very inexpensive, and were very limited in types, grades and availability.

What caused this to change?

Plastics are primarily produced from Oil and several Oil by-products. As oil pricing has skyrocketed from the 50′s, so did the low end plastic material pricing.

In addition, a new generation of high tech, mechanical and engineering grades of plastic we developed. These performance plastics replace metals and other substrates in manufacturing. They out live and out perform most materials at a fraction of the cost of the material it replaces. broke chair - I Thought Plastic Was A Cheap Material...

Isn’t Cheap better?

All materials are not designed to the same standard. This is true with plastics as well. Choosing the wrong plastic for a project can be a costly mistake. All engineering perimeters should be considered: strength, impact, sunlight, water absorption, electrical resistance, temperature range, etc. We’ve all witnessed the ‘cheap’ plastic kids toy that lasts but a couple of days, the clip or cover in your car breaks off, the inexpensive outdoor furniture and so on. These are examples of under designed or choosing a material for its resin cost, not its physical properties. Thus, no, cheaper is not better. Cost should be just one of your decision criteria. The overall ‘performance’ of the material you require will dictate the type, grade and overall cost of the material. We supply materials from very inexpensive to some that are very expensive. These price differences are based on the significant differences in many of today’s high performance plastic materials.

What Should You Do?

The answer is really quite easy. Ask.

Talk to one of our experienced ‘Plasticologists’ and tell them your requirements. You’re input, and a little time to answer some questions could save you enormous time and expense in your finished parts. All plastics are not created equal, and neither are all plastic suppliers. Give us a try, and take the guess-work out of choosing the right material for your job. Most Performance Plastic materials outlast other raw materials, even metals. Check the physical properties, and using the right material for the application, could mean your parts may last decades without needing maintenance or lubrication.

Some of our lower cost materials: HDPE, PVC, Styrene – are less expensive, but not cheap. Each with very specific strong points, and yes, weak areas as well. Contact us with any questions you may have about the best material for your project as ‘one size does not fit all’.

‘Cheap plastic’ is most likely not the best plastic for your application.

Ask Us, we are happy to guide you on your Performance Plastic Material search.

Is Ultem™ the Ultimate Performance Plastic?

Is Ultem™ the Ultimate Performance Plastic?

The Advantages of Using ULTEM™

Industrial Plastic Supply has a large inventory of performance plastic materials to offer, each with its own unique advantages and applications. In this article, we feature one of the many quality performance plastics that we supply, Sabic ULTEM™ sheet and rod.

Sabic ULTEM® is the brand name for the thermoplastic polyetherimide (PEI), this unique commercially available resin has the ability to retain mechanical integrity even at extremely high temperatures. There are various types of this thermoplastic available, based on their formulation and the particular strength and resistance requirements of the end use it will serve. The most common is the virgin unfilled ULTEM™ 1000 sheet and rod. Our second most common version is 30% Glass Filled ULTEM™ Sheet and Rod, also known as ULTEM™ 2300.

Excellent Stability

The main advantage of ULTEM™ is its dimensional  stability and strength, even when the material is exposed to extremely high operating temperatures. The Sabic ULTEM material is incredibly rigid and dimensionally stable as well, with better physical properties compared to similar performance plastic materials like Acetal or Nylon. It has excellent tensile strength and flexural strength, and is especially popular for applications that require plastics with improved stiffness and/or electrical properties.

Machined ULTEM 1000 rod

Broad Chemical Resistance

PEI/ULTEM™, regardless of which grade is used, has exceptional resistance to a wide range of chemicals, including the fats and oils found in foods, alcohols, acids, service fluids for various vehicles, and those found in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. Its resistance to such a wide range of chemicals has made this plastic popular for use in reusable machined components in Medical Equipment manufacturing and Pharmaceuticals, as well as in commercial Aerospace applications. The Ultem – PEI material is produced into sheet and rod by a variety of Performance Plastic manufacturers under trade names, including: Tecapei®, Unitem®, Tempalux®, Sustatec®, Mechetec® PEI, and others.

Wide-ranging compliance

PEI / ULTEM™ is one of the few thermoplastics that can meet several of the strictest quality and performance standards in the world. It is FDA/USDA and USP class VI compliant. The thermoplastic is also ITAR compliant for use in firearms applications as well as RoHS compliant for use in electrical equipment. In addition to being resistant to many different chemicals, Sabic ULTEM™ is also highly flame resistant, which has made it very useful in various parts of the commercial aerospace market. This high performance plastic material also is available with factory lot and batch certification from this ISO-9001 certified supplier.

Looking for a quality supplier of ULTEM™ and other thermoplastics?

Industrial Plastic Supply has been in the business of plastics since 1975, specializing in the wholesale engineering, mechanical, and high-performance plastics for any industry.

For more information about this or any other performance plastic material, please check out our website today.

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.

PETG / Vivak®

PETG / Vivak®


PETG – Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol

Tough clear plastic sheet, used frequently in vacuum forming

PETG is a plastic resin of the polyester family that is used to make thermoforming applications. PETG is a clear resin that can be extruded into sheets. One of the most common applications of this plastic is in POP Displays, molds (food, candy, soap, candle), medical face shields, and more commonly seen in drinking water bottles.

Why you should use PETG:

  • Has excellent bending and Vacuum form properties
  • Is very easy to fabricate
  • Excellent impact strength
  • Standard material is not UV stabilized
  • Tougher than Acrylic, but not quite as impact resistant as Polycarbonate
  • PETG is ITAR compliant, and PETG is RoHS compliant
  • Formerly called Vivak® Sheet, Spectar®, Ultros® or Copolyester Sheet
  • PETG is the abbreviation for Polyethleneterephtalate Glycol

Formed and cut PETG sheet, Vivak, Copolymer Part

PETG material is an excellent material for fabrication of Point-of-Purchase (POP) displays, forming of 3-D parts and and bending.

  • Excellent fabrication
  • Low cost material with high impact strength
  • Easy to form, punch, rivet and cut
  • Paintable, printable, and silk screens wellVacuum Formed PETG sheet Part

Material Available As:

Thin Sheet and Sheets:

.020″ -.500″ Thickness in 48″ X96″ Sheets

Film: Special Order – Please call with your Requirements

PETG - Vivak Typical Resin Properties

These properties are for evaluation purposes only. This information is not to be construed as a warranty, guarantee or assurance that you may achieve the same results. Materials made from different resin types, manufacturing techniques and manufacturers will react differently. The information should be used to compare against other materials only, and each user should make his own tests to determine suitability. No warranty as to this materials suitability are either expressed nor implied.

We are ready to ship your materials

Laminates – Phenolics

Laminates – Phenolics


Laminates and Industrial Thermosets (Phenolics)

Thermosets (Paper, Canvas, Linen), Epoxy, G-10, FR-4, FR-5 , GPO, Melamine, Silicone and more

These materials were originally invented by Dr. Leo Baekeland in 1907. First called Bakelite, it is claimed to be the first synthetic thermoset plastic material. Several other base and resin materials are also available; Polyester, Melamine, Nylon and more.

This high temperature resistant material has been used in numerous applications for over 100 years. Other laminate trade names: Phenolic, Micarta®, Phenolfab®, Phenolkraft®, Ryertex®, Garolite®, Spauldite® and Texolite®. Please call with additional questions or specification assistance, or contact us here.

Canvas, Paper and Linen based Phenolic sheet

Grades Available:

Paper Base Laminates;

(X, XX, XXX, XP) – Composed of layers of paper base impregnated with a phenolic resin binder. It has excellent electrical properties with fair mechanical strength. Outstanding for use as a template material or backup stock material. It can certify to NEMA XX (in XX Grade), and MIL-I-24768/10 or 11

Canvas Base Laminates;

(C and CE) – This grade is composed of a continuous cotton woven cloth impregnated with a phenolic resin binder. This grade contains a medium weave canvas fabric and is known primarily for it’s mechanical properties. Not recommended for primary insulation. It can certify to NEMA C/CE, and MIL-I-24768/14 or 16

Linen Base Laminates;

(L and LE) – This grade contains a fine weave linen, and like canvas phenolic, is known for it’s mechanical properties. The finer weave allows for machining more intricate details than the Canvas, ie: small gear teeth. It can certify to NEMA L/LE, and MIL-I-24768/13 or 15

G-10 / FR4 Laminates;

(G-10 and G-10 FR4) – The most versatile all-around laminate, this grade is comprised of layers of a continuous glass woven fabric base impregnated with an epoxy resin binder. It has extremely high mechanical strength, good dielectric loss properties, both wet and dry. Extremely abrasive while machining, diamond tooling is recommended. It can certify to NEMA FR4, and MIL-I-24768/27

Phenolics and Laminates are ITAR compliant, and Phenolics and Laminates are RoHS compliant

Laminates Applications

Relays Switches Sockets Standoffs Washers
Test boards Terminal strips Condensers Coils Arc Shields
Circuit boards Gaskets Fuses Transformer Panels

Phenolic Applications

Pinions Aircraift Seals & Gaskets Motor housings Radio terminal boards
Bushings Insulating washers Marine switchboard panels Thermostat housing Auto ignition components
Punch parts Communication instruments Handles for pots and pans Knife handles

Laminate Availability:

Sheet, Rod and Tube:

.005″ -4″ thick,

From .125″- 10″ diameter
Tubing – Call us

A huge variety of sizes are available depending on grade. Call for detailed availability on your requirement.

Also available: Polyester, Nylon and Melamine Resisns and other Specialty Grades.

Grade Certifies To Industrial Type of Material
X Mil- I- 24768/12 PBM Industrial thermoset (Paper Grade Laminate) Superior Mechanical Properties for paper grade
XX Mil- I- 24768/11 PBG Industrial thermoset (Paper Grade Laminate)
XXX Mil- I- 24768/10 PBE Industrial thermoset (Paper Grade Laminate) Best Electrical Properties for paper grade
C Mil- I- 24768/16 FBM Industrial thermoset (Canvas Cotton Grade Laminate)
CE Mil- I- 24768/14 FBM Industrial thermoset (Canvas Cotton Grade Laminate)
L Mil- I- 24768/15 FBI Industrial thermoset (Linen Grade Laminate)
LE Mil- I- 24768/13 FBE Industrial thermoset (Linen Grade Laminate)
G-10 Mil- I- 24768/ 2 GEE Industrial thermoset (Glass-cloth reinforced Epoxy)
FR-4 Mil- I- 24768/ 27 GEE-F Industrial thermoset (Glass-cloth reinforced Epoxy) Fire Retardant Grade of G-10
G-11 Mil- I- 24768/3 GEB Industrial thermoset (Glass-cloth reinforced Epoxy)
FR-5 Mil- I- 24768/28 GEB-F Industrial thermoset (Glass-cloth reinforced Epoxy)Fire Retardant Grade of G-11
G5 Mil- I- 24768/8 GMG Industrial thermoset (Glass-cloth reinforced Melamine)
G9 Mil- I- 24768/1 GME Industrial thermoset (Glass-cloth reinforced Melamine)
G7 Mil- I- 24768/17 GSG Industrial thermoset (Glass-cloth reinforced Silicone)
GPO-1 Mil- I- 24768/4 GPO1 Industrial thermoset (Glass-mat reinforced Polyester)
GPO-2 Mil- I- 24768/ 5 GPO2 Industrial thermoset (Glass-mat reinforced Polyester)
GPO-3 Mil- I- 24768/6 GPO3 Industrial thermoset (Glass-mat reinforced Polyester)

These properties are for evaluation purposes only. This information is not to be construed as a warranty, guarantee or assurance that you may achieve the same results. Materials made from different resin types, manufacturing techniques and manufacturers will react differently. The information should be used to compare against other materials only, and each user should make his own tests to determine suitability. No warranty as to this materials suitability are either expressed nor implied.

Kynar® –  PVDF

Kynar® – PVDF


PVDF – Kynar®

Kynar® 740 and HD1000 have excellent chemical resistance

Polyvinylidene Fluoride

PVDF – Arkema Kynar®

This extremely chemical resistant material is used in high purity fluid handling systems and parts.

PVDF material has excellent abrasion resistance, nuclear radiation resistance, and unsurpassed chemical resistance.

Used extensively in applications for extremely low moisture absorption and resistance to virtually all chemicals and solvents.

The most popular trade name is Kynar® and Kynar® 740 – made by Arkema®. The material is also available as: HD1000, Ensikem®, Tecaflon®, Mechatec® PVDF, Polystone® PVDF, Unitar®, Sustatec®, Kytec®, Symalit®, Foraflon®, Solef®, Trovidur®, and others.

PVDF materials are FM-4910 rated materials, with excellent heat and flame resistance.

We Specialize in Engineering Plastics, Mechanical Plastics and PVDF – Kynar® High Performance Plastics

PVDF and Kynar 740 sheet and rodWhy you should use PVDF – Kynar® brand:

This material has excellent abrasion and exceptional chemical resistance. Has high dielectric strength and very good mechanical strength.

  • Excellent corrosion & chemical resistance at ambient and elevated temperatures
  • Chemically inert and extremely high purity
  • 300 degrees F continuous use temperature
  • Low permeability to gases and liquids
  • Excellent balance of strength, toughness and abrasion resistance
  • FDA, USDA, 3A, FM4910 and USP VI compliant
  • Offers excellent strength, rigidity and machinability
  • PVDF is ITAR compliant, and PVDF is RoHS compliant

Frequently used in:

  • High Purity Fluid Processing Systems
  • Fluid sensors, manifolds and valves
  • Chemical processing and storage parts
  • Liquid chromatography components
  • Bearings and bushings
  • DI water systems

Materials available as:

.250″ – 4″ in Natural (Ivory – Tan) in 24″ X 48″
375″ – 6″ diameter in Natural (Ivory – Tan) up to 120″ lengths (.250″ – 2.50″)

Typical Resin Properties for Kynar - PVDF

These Properties are for evaluation purposes only. This information is not to be construed as a warranty, guarantee or assurance that you may achieve the same results. Materials made from different resin types, manufacturing techniques and manufacturers will react differently. The information should be used to compare against other materials only, and each user should make his own tests to determine suitability. No warranty as to this materials suitability are either expressed nor implied.