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 service
Very short, often instant throw away
Little to no physical properties
High Heat Resistance
Very low melting point
Very light weight
Can be Very UV Resistant
Very Long Life
Extremely short life
Tough and Durable
Very High Impact Strength
Flimsy, 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.
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.
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
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.
Use the best available tools to narrow down the best plastic sheet material for your application.
What are the best methods to pick the proper plastic sheet material? Use the tools that the professionals use to find the best plastic material for your application.
Where To Begin
The process of picking the proper plastic material starts with determining the ‘must have’ physical properties needed for your application. Designing a part with the minimum performance factors in mind will help to eliminate an overly expensive part.
Critical factors to consider are:
Temperature requirements (short term and long term)
Chemical or Environmental Requirements
UV resistance (Will it be in direct sunlight)
Color or Transparency
Strengths (Impact and Compression)
Compliance Issues (Certification for FDA, NSF, Dairy, etc.)
Review The Plastic Property Comparison Guide
The first tool suggested is a chart produced by the IAPD (International Association of Plastic Distribution – http://iapd.org/) linked in picture below, and listed on this chart are the most common plastic sheet and plastic rod materials that are commonlyavailable. In addition, the chart compares the physical properties of these common plastic materials. Click on picture to access chart.
Included in this chart is a relative cost comparison, which will assist in limiting the materials to proper plastics for a application without over-designing and using an expensive ‘over kill’ material. Some common plastic sheet materials can be very expensive. Materials like PEEK (PolyEtherEtherKetone) can be in the $100 per pound range or more.
Start Search With Temperature Resistance
After looking over the IAPD (International Association of Plastic Distribution) Physical Properties Chart above, now it is time to evaluate specifics for your application. The critical factors listed above are ranked by most important to least important. If your part needs to handle a continuoustemperature of 300 degrees F, this is a critical physical property. Picking a material that softens at 250 degrees is a recipe for disaster. Pick a material that can handle the temperature first.
Will Part Have Chemical Exposure
Next, look at environmental requirements. Parts exposed to chemicals are important to research. Find the chemical make up and the concentration of the chemical to insure the material you pick can handle this solution. Many plasticshave excellent chemical resistance as evidenced by evaluating the container the chemicals are stored in already. Acommon plastic that is chemical resistant is Polypropylene, the same material used for automotive batteries. While Polypropylene and HDPE sheets are excellent in chemical resistance, their temperature range is quite limited. Also,these two plastics can not be easily bonded or glued, and would require heat welding for assembly.
Does Your Part Live In The Sun
Most plastics do not handle long exposure to direct sunlight without an additional UV additive. The one exception is Acrylic, which is the most UV resistant plastic sheet available. Some plastics handle UV well if they have a carbonblack additive, or a extra UV package added at time of production.
How Critical Is The Color
The most common colors in many plastic sheets are Natural (white to tan) and Black. While other colors are available with a special run, this may require a large minimum order. Some plastics, like HDPE are available in many colors andtextures for use in marine, playground and food processing applications. In many plastic applications, a machined partis being made, and the color is the least important factor. If it is an internal part of a machine, no one really cares about the color of the part. Some clients look for materials in a specific color to help ‘brand’ their parts for easy replacementand identification.
How Much Stress Will The Part See
Strength is a wide range of physical properties covering many stresses a part may be exposed to. From impact to compression, expansion to tensile strength, all of these can be critical in designing a plastic part. There are otherfactors in the ‘Strength’ realm, like Notched Izod and water absorption. If your part will be exposed to crushing pressure, pulling apart force or impact, these are critical things to consider prior to picking your plastic part.
PTFE is asoft and slippery plastic, but will ‘cold flow’ under high pressure, and High Pressure Laminates like G-10 FR 4 sheetcan withstand some of the highest pressures. The Notched Izod tests for materials that break easily if a scored mark has been made in the surface. Acrylics break very easily if scored, but UHMW will not break at all under the same test.
What Agency Approval May Be Required
In many applications a part may require approval or testing to meet a third party certification. One such common application is for materials in food processing applications. Common requests included UL ratings, Fire Ratings, Military specifications and many more. Food contact is a popular request, covering material that is either FDA (Foodand Drug Administration) or NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) approved. These agencies insure that materials are rigorously tested and comply with their requirements for safety. Some common materials used in food processing that meet the FDA certification are Acetal Copolymer – Acetal Homopolymer, HDPE, UHMW and Nylon, plus many others. Once these steps have been completed, several materials should present themselves as meeting your criteria andphysical property requirement. Unfortunately there is no one perfect plastic that works in all applications. However, for almost every application, there is a material that will work, and work better than most other substrates.
Things you should know about Polycarbonate Sheet, Sheets and Panels
A common misconception is that ‘all polycarbonate sheets are the same’. This is not true, as a matter of fact, it is far from a fact. While most manufacturers of polycarbonate sheets start with a similar base resin, this is where the similarities normally stop. Most polycarbonate sheet extruders run a base material far different from what the standard has been for the last 30 years. Most polycarbonate sheet is now made without the flame rating it had in the past. Polycarbonate Sheets are sometimes called ‘polycarbonate panels’ or ‘polycarbonate plates’, they are still made from the same high quality resins. One of the best known manufacturers of Polycarbonate resins and sheets is Sabic Polymers®, the manufacturers of Lexan® resin and Lexan® Sheet products. Over the last several years, Sabic has quietly discontinued the UL ratings on their Polycarbonate.
Industrial Plastic Supply And Tuffak GP (formerly Makrolon GP)
For more than 30 years, Industrial Plastic Supply has relied on the high quality Polycarbonate Sheets produced by Sheffield, now part of Plaskolite (formerly Covestro and Bayer MaterialScience). Plaskolite produces a crystal clear, ultra high impact strength polycarbonate resin, this Makrolon resin is the finest in the industry. Plaskolite has also chosen to continue to produce this high quality material in general purpose, and the Tuffak GP meets the UL 94 V-0 rating, the only supplier to continue this expensive, but extremely valuable service. Take a moment and look at your requirements, see if perhaps somewhere on the blue print is a note that states your polycarbonate material needs to be UL 94 V-0 approved or rated. If so, Tuffak GP is your only and best choice!
How is Plaskolite Tuffak GP Polycarbonate available
We stock Plaskolite (formerly Covestro – Bayer MaterialScience) Tuffak GP in flat panels, considered Polycarbonate Sheet or as Polycarbonate Sheets. We can cut theses sheet Polycarbonate materials to strip or strips, blocks, or just a cut to size piece. At Industrial Plastic Supply we have stocked large quantities of these materials, and continue to keep Tuffak GP (formerly Makrolon GP) and Tuffak FI (formerly Makrolon FI) sheets in stock. With a wide range of thicknesses ( .030″ – .500″ thick) and sheet sizes of 48″ X 96″, 60″ X 60″ and 72″ X 96″ as standard in .118″ – .500″, we can fill all your requirements.
Why you should use Plaskolite Tuffak Polycarbonate Sheet
Superior clarity, quality, surface finish, flame retardant and full USA factory technical assistance are just a few reasons. Buying polycarbonate sheets imported from somewhere half way around the globe, from an unknown manufacturer with little or no technical support can be very risky. Plaskolite (formerly Covestro/Sheffield) manufacturers this premium quality polycarbonate sheet right here in the good old USA, in Sheffield, Massachusetts. They produce this crystal clear sheet on the latest and most technologically advanced extruders available, and have several warehouses for us to get material quickly for you. Why settle for an unknown? Can you afford to ‘try’ the other guys? Step up to the finest quality, and yet still competitively priced polycarbonate sheet, get Plaskolite Tuffak GP Polycarbonate Sheet(formerly Covestro Makrolon GP) for your next project.Industrial Plastic Supply also carries the Westlake Zelux M Polycarbonate Sheet and Zelux W Polycarbonate Plate. The Zelux M is a machine grade Polycarbonate Plate from .375″ – 4″ thick sheet, and the Zelux W is a clear – Window Grade thick Polycarbonate Plate in the same thickness range. Contact us for more information on this thicker material. We also supply other manufacturers grades of Polycarbonate Plate, including, but not limited to: Ensinger Plastics, Polymer Industries (formerly Nytef Plastics), Roechling Plastics and more.Contact us for more information or technical assistance on Polycarbonate or any other quality plastic sheet, rod or tube. Call us at 866-832-9315 or send us a quick note here.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) has shown its versatility and durability for decades. Its use in piping, sprinkler systems, the construction industry and other areas has made it a popular commodity. The industrial-grade PVC sheet has numerous applications in the manufacturing area. Its low cost, workability, easy bonding, corrosion and weather resistance make it an all-round choice of industry.
PVC is Easy To Work With
Regardless of the application, working the PVC sheet is easy and cost-effective using simple tools that are common in other applications such as wood and steel. The chemical composition of the PVC sheet makes edging and machining simple and straightforward, and usually makes cooling unnecessary. However, when cooling is needed, compressed air, water or other liquids can quickly cool the material. Industrial PVC can be shaped and formed by:
Drills (Hand-held or drill presses)
Standard CNC Equipment
It is also easily sealed and bonded to itself or using common industrial adhesives. The easy working and bonding of PVC sheeting make it an excellent choice for use in manufacturing and industrial applications. Couple that with its relative low cost and ability to use common tooling methods and PVC is an indispensable choice, and can replace more expensive materials such as: ABS, Acetal, Nylon and many more.
Several PVC Grades Available
PVC is available in several grades. The most common is the Type 1 Gray PVC – the standard commercial grade PVC for machining, bonding and painting. CPVC (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride) is also available, and sometimes called Corzan® or Lam 2000®, and is a higher continuous temperature resistant material. The CPVC is normally a blue tinted clear color, and is also available in a FM4910 approved grade.We also supply the Type 2 PVC which is used for improved impact strength applications. This Type 2 material is available in a White or Light Gray color.
PVC Sheet Comes In Standard Sizing
Storage and transport of PVC is also an advantage. Its 48″ x 96″ size makes it a uniform size with plywood and other building products. The range of thickness is: .062″ – 3″ thick and thicker. There is no need for special storage or handling equipment. Common storage areas that can store drywall, plywood or other standard building materials can easily store these sheets. Forklifts and existing conveyor systems never need retrofits to handle the PVC.
Finished products using PVC sheets are long-lasting. The material is highly impact resistant, durable in extreme temperature swings, weather and corrosion resistant. Its use for storage of corrosive chemicals in extreme conditions make it an indispensable material for chemical coatings and other storage containers.
The ease of bonding and shaping are just one of the best features of industrial PVC sheeting. It also accepts painting and screen printing. Materials such as wood, other plastics, fabrics and paper can be bonded to the surface to enhance the aesthetic value of whatever is created. Coatings such as vinyl or acrylic lacquers can be used to turn the object into attractive household items. Scratches or etchings on the surface of the raw material are easily removed using fine sanding and buffing equipment. The versatility of PVC in standard sheets makes this product an excellent choice for virtually any type of machining and manufacturing application. For more information on the impact and corrosion resistance properties of these sheets, visit: Industrial Plastic Supply for PVC Sheet. Find out about all the qualities that make using these standardized sheets an attractive choice for industrial use.For information on this or any other plastic sheet, slab, rod or tube product – call us at: 866-832-9315 or click here to send us a request.