CALL (866) 832-9315
Request a Quote
Common Uses of HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)

Common Uses of HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)

HDPE or High-Density Polyethylene is part of a widely-used family of thermoplastics, HDPE ‘Polyolefin’, which is produced through polymerizing ethylene and propylene for properties that are excellent in applications such as food handling, food preparation equipment, wear resistance, consumer goods, and much more.

Why this thermoplastic is so popularGlass bottles weigh 16 times more than plastic bottles

HDPE is known for its excellent strength-to-density ratio, as well as its strong intermolecular forces, high impact and tensile strength. These properties combine for a hard, durable plastic that is excellent for many applications from containers for consumer goods to chemical and structural tanks components. At the same time, HDPE is lightweight and highly resistant to stains, odor, moisture, chemicals, and abrasion. Most importantly, HDPE doesn’t contain harsh or toxic chemicals that could be harmful to users, making it excellent for a wide variety of consumer and commercial products. Specifically, HDPE does not contain: BPA, Phthalates, Allergens, Heavy Metals or Harmful fumes.

HDPE has excellent wear and chemical resistance. HDPE is a commonly used material for rub strips, chute liners and bottling plant components. An example of wear resistance is the yellow plastic playground slides which are made of HDPE. This versatile plastic material is often the choice for use for chemical and toxic containers and bottles.

The HDPE material is the common material used to make the one gallon milk jugs. These are easily recycled, and 8 – 10 milk jugs is equal to about one pound of recycled HDPE material. On average, over 115 million milk jugs are recycled each year.

Some common uses of HDPE

HDPE is FDA, USDA, and NSF compliant, making it especially popular for making components such as cutting boards, food preparation surfaces and equipment components. HDPE is often used in a wide range of food processing equipment, food containers and bottles, as well as valve and pump components. However, the Food processing industry isn’t the only industry relying on HDPE. Its excellent impact strength makes this plastic popular for everything from impact parts to dasher boards in ice rinks, to personal protection gear.

In addition, HDPE has excellent properties that make it perfect for heat-formed or vacuum-formed parts, producing food trays and containers and much HDPE can be recycled and made into usable plastic lumbermore. The plastic’s durability and impact resistance makes it an excellent choice for the linings of conventional freezers, bed liners for heavy trucks, and liners in silos. The marine industry is an active user of HDPE due to its toughness and very lightweight to size ratio.

As one of the most used plastics, HDPE has a density of just .941 – .965 per ASTM D792. While many think of Aluminum as a lightweight material, it actually is 2.8 times the weight of  HDPE plastic material.

HDPE also has been successfully used in a variety of cement molds and various types of transfer and storage boards. This plastic can be found in crates and bottles for holding not just food products, but also detergents and cosmetics. Industrial pallet wrapping benefits from HDPE film durability, while petrol tanks benefit from this plastic’s inherent chemical resistance.

Looking for a supplier of polyethylene thermoplastics?

Industrial Plastic Supply, Inc. is an expert in performance plastics, and has one of the largest material inventories in the World. To learn more, check out full line Performance Plastic materials on our website.

HDPE – LDPE

thick-plastic-sheet

Polyethylene (LDPE, HDPE)

Light-weight FDA grade, Natural and black are standard colors


HDPE and LDPE

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Low Density  Polyethylene (LDPE) are both materials in the Polyolefin family of plastics, along with Polypropylene (PolyPro) and UHMW (Ultra High Molecular Weight).

Manufactured by a variety of manufacturers under several tradenames: Polyboard®, Polymar®, Hostalen®, Polystone®, Hitec® HDPE, Corrtec®, Sanalite®, UltraEthylux®, Polycarve®, and Densetec®.

For great abrasion resistance, very low density, and FDA/NSF compliance, Polyethylene products are an excellent choice.

20"-rod

Why use HDPE/LDPE for your application?

  • Light Weight
  • Stain, Odor, and Moisture Resistant
  • FDA & NSF Approval for Food Contact
  • Vacuum and Thermo-Formable Material
  • Very Durable and Abrasion Resistant
  • Self-lubricating and a low coefficient of friction
  • Very High Chemical Resistance
  • Low Specific Gravity (Floats in Water)
  • Can be Heat Welded or RF Welded
  • High Impact Strength and Energy Absorption
  • Exceptional Low Temperature – Brittle at -110° F
  • Does not chemically bond
  • HDPE/LDPE are ITAR compliant, and HDPE/LDPE are RoHS compliant

Main Differences: 

HDPE – Harder material, little to no flex, better tensile strength
LDPE – Softer, very flexible, lower tensile strength 

 

Applications – HDPE:

  • Cutting Board and Food Preparation Surfaces
  • FDA, USDA, NSF Compliant Machined Parts
  • Heat Formed and Vacuum Formed Parts
  • Dasher Board For Ice Rinks – Impact Parts
  • Welded Tanks, Hoppers, Silo Linings and Slide Chutes
  • Chemical and Structural Tanks and Covers
  • Food Processing Equipment, Valve, and Pump Components

Other applications include cement molds, body boards, transfer boards, death beds, mortician boards, cooler storage boards, spine board, tank liners, wear guides, and many, many more.HDPE is used in thousands of applications, from interiors of freezers, bed liners for trucks to personal protection gear.

HDPE is available in stock in natural (milky white) and black. Other colors are available with minimum runs.

Applications – LDPE:

  • Packaging Applications
  • Industrial bags, produce bags, garment bags
  • Blow Molded Bottles
  • Toys
  • Hot Melt Adhesives
  • Wire Insulation
  • Prosthetic appliances, Medical equipment, Semi-flexible tubing

Extruded Sheet:
.030 – 2.0″ in 48″ X 96″ Smooth Surfaces Natural Sheet in HDPE, 1″ max. for LDPE
Black available in many sizes of HDPE

Film:
.015″ – .060″ in 48″ wide Natural

Rod:
.250″ – 10″ diameter in Natural HDPE – 96″ lengths
From 12″ and up to 30″ diameter in 48″ lengths or 39″ lengths in HDPE

Black is available in many sizes of HDPE

Tube:
.250″ OD – 10″ OD in various wall thicknesses. Most available in HDPE and many in LDPE

Special Formulations:
Conductive, Static Dissipative, Custom sizes, Formulations, Profiles or Colors.

General PropertyASTM
Test
Typical Value HDPETypical Value LDPE
Specific GravityD792.941 – .965.91 – .925
Tensile Strength YieldD6383,800 – 5,5001,400 – 2,000
Izod Impact – NotchedD2562.0 – 3.5>16
Vicat Softening TempD1525257 degrees F219 degrees F
Hardness – RockwellD785D60 -70D42 – 50
Continuous Use Temp-100 – 180 degrees F174 degrees F
Deflection Temp @ 66 psiD648171124
Co. Thermal ExpansionD6967X10-54.6 -5.5X10-5

Playground HDPE is UV stabilized for outdoor applications that is available in a variety of colors.

Sunboard and King StarBoard® are UV stabilized HDPE materials for marine applications.

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.

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

Large Plastic Sheet and Plastic Rods from Gehr Plastics

Large Plastic Sheet and Plastic Rods from Gehr Plastics

Large engineering plastic from Gehr Plastics

One of our secret claims to fame

Since 1975 we have provided large diameter plastic rods and thick plastic sheets, plates, slabs and blocks. One of our long time ‘secret’ sources has been Gehr Plastics. Since 1932 the Gehr family has owned and operated the Gehr Plastics company. They are a worldwide leader in semi-finished plastic shapes in thermoplastics, primarily sheet and rod. The headquarters for Gehr Plastics is in Mannheim, in south western Germany. For almost 30 years, Gehr Plastics has had production facilities in the Philadelphia area, providing the USA with the same high quality plastic shapes. When we mention large diameter rod, we mean it! Gehr can produce plastic rod up to almost 20″ diameter in several grades of plastic. They also produce sheet plastics up to 8″ thick, and make the largest materials of most manufacturers of plastic sheets and rods.

At Gehr Plastics, Quality Engineering Plastic Comes First

Our first purchases with Gehr Plastics was in the PVC rod family. Once again, they make huge cross sections in many materials, including the PVC rod. Many manufacturers struggle with large sections of PVC rod because keeping it void free throughout the large diameter is very difficult. Not for Gehr Plastics, they specialize in engineering plastic materials. We have chosen this high quality manufacture for their exceptional product quality. We know the demands of our client base, and only choose the best factories to supply our products. Gehr is definitely one of the premier plastics producers in the world. While the quality of the PVC rod is excellent, the rest of the Gehr Plastics product line is also some of the best plastic semi-finished shapes available in the market place. Here is a list of some of the many materials that Gehr Plastic produces:

Large 14" Diameter Polypropylene rods

14 inch Natural Polypropylene Rod produced by Gehr Plastics, the largest domestic plastic rod currently in production. 12″ diameter UHMW rod from Roechling Plastics, Industrial Plastic Supply is master distributor for both of these manufacturers.

Many of the above items are also available in sheets, plates, slabs or blocks.

Gehr Plastics – one of our engineering plastic partners

We have been proud to offer the complete line of plastic rod, sheet, slab, plate and block from Gehr Plastics, and consider them a highly valued partner in supplying these engineering plastic materials to you, our valued client. For more information on the size range, availability and pricing on these and other plastic materials, click here or call us at 866-832-9315

Topic: Gehr Plastics – Supplier of engineering plastic materials

Which plastic materials are recyclable?

Which plastic materials are recyclable?

Which Plastics are Recyclable?

Over the last 50 years or so since plastic became more and more prevalent, over one billion tons of it has been disposed of and that number only continues to grow. Plastic, because of its molecular structure does take along time to decompose and cannot be burned due to it releasing harmful toxins and pollutants into the air. However since the mid 1990’s, plastic recycling has become more advanced and a greater awareness has been established. Since this time though, new technologies have been implemented making it easier to recycle and making people more conscious to do so. Curbside containers and designated recycling stations have vastly improved the way we dispose of these materials. These programs helped pave the way for a new era where plastics are less likely to be littered on the side of the road and to make it easier to be reused over and over again saving money, energy and helping the environment.

Some of the main plastics which can be recyclable are:

Polyester or PET carries the number 1 symbol. This plastic is primarily used for soft drink bottles. It is the easiest to recycle plastic and can be reground and reused time and time again.

The plastic with the number 2 symbol on it is HDPE which is a plastic primarily used for grocery bags, milk jugs and laundry detergent bottles.Identifying Plastic Recycle Triangles

PVC has the number 3 symbol and is used for pipes, fences and non-food containers.

LDPE is number 4 and is used for tubing, caps, rings and shrink wrap (coffee can lids).

Polypropylene has the number 5 symbol and its uses are for automotive parts, food containers and dishware.

Polystyrene is number 6 and is used for food containers and cups (including Styrofoam).

7 is other material such as Acrylic, fiberglass and Polycarbonate. These plastics are used for lenses, glasses and shields.

ABS is the number 9 symbol and is used in automotive, model building and molded parts.

Join the grass roots groups to recycle

Many schools and organizations work to collect and recycle materials, including plastics and aluminum cans. The biggest problem with plastic recycling is that it needs to be so meticulously carried out and requires painstaking time to sort properly and to go through the plastics. This is why the resin identification coding system was implemented in 1988 to help better identify plastics. The number in the middle has no real significance and is just there to help name the plastic the item is made from. This system has greatly improved the way plastics are handled and recycled leading to greater efficiency and better consistency when sorting through plastic resins.

There are, however, some plastics that cannot be recycled. These plastics are called thermosets, which are plastics that cannot return to their original form. The best example of this type of plastic is Phenolic which was the first commercially available plastic back in 1907, and was originally called Bakelite. It is primarily used for electrical and mechanical purposes. Unlike thermoplastics which can be formed and returned to their original shape, thermosets cannot due to their chemical makeup and they frequently have additives or fillers. Thermosets form above the melting temperature so when they are heated, the decomposition temperature is reached before the melt point.Many of our Performance Plastic materials are fully recyclable, simply ask us

Many of these thermoset materials replace other, much more expensive materials, and generally out last the former material by as much as 20 times. In practice, these material reduce the usage of natural resources and the ‘carbon footprint’ used to produce the items. One such material is the Nylon bushings used in large ships. The Nylon replaces a large Bronze bushing that used to be replaced once a year, and required the ship be put into dry dock to remove and replace the bushing. The new Nylon bushings out perform the bronze, and will last over 12 times longer. Dramatic savings in materials, casting new bronze bushing and the loss of sailing time of these ships.

Thanks to recycling improvements in the last 25 years, recycling has become much more efficient. Because of these programs better care has been taken to insure that plastic is not littered or discarded lightly, and that the programs created are easily accessible so people can take better care of their trash and better care of the earth. Plastics manufacturer commonly work to reuse and recycle materials during production. Many materials are available as ‘reprocessed’ or ‘commercial grade’ materials, meaning they contain a percentage of material that has been processed before. The first time a plastic resin is sent through the manufacturing process, that resin is referred to as ‘virgin resin’. Any further processing, the material must be referred to as reprocessed.

Want more information on the recycling of plastics, click here for recycling information. You may also contact us if you have a specific material question at: 866-832-9315, we are happy to assist.