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.
People in the plastics industry have known for over 50 years that Polycarbonate Sheets are tough. This clear plastic sheet material is commonly used to replace window glazing. The best known property for this polycarbonate sheet material is that it is break resistant, or in many cases, unbreakable. This is a great benefit for areas where window glass is broken easily.
Recently some cities have passed ordinances to change out the plywood window coverings on abandoned homes, and they are installing clear polycarbonate sheets instead. This is a very attractive replacement, and is a big step in fighting the blight of abandoned homes.
Polycarbonate is produced under several trade names, including Plaskolite Tuffak® GP, Covestro Makrolon®, SABIC Lexan®, Cyrolon®, Zelux® and many more. These materials are available in sheets, plate, slab, bar and rod.
Read more on this material below.
Excerpt from AZCentral, The Arizona Republic:
Property owners and banks in Phoenix had begun outfitting windows with sheets of polycarbonate, a thin, nearly indestructible plastic that mirrors the appearance of glass.
And last month, the city became among the first in the U.S. to make polycarbonate windows a matter of municipal law.
Phoenix now requires all window and door openings visible from the street to be secured with the material if the structure has been unoccupied for more than 90 days. The 90-day provision is also new, replacing the previous deadline of 180 days. The measures were the result of an abandoned buildings task force that Gallego spearheaded.
No one likes living next to abandoned buildings with boarded up doors or windows. So the city of Durham started replacing the plywood eyesores with a clear, durable plastic.
The city is working to reduce the number of abandoned houses by helping owners fix them up. But for houses that still need boarding up, the city has found that plastic not only improves the overall appearance of a neighborhood, it may reduce crime by discouraging squatters and making it easier for police to see inside vacant buildings.
“I can’t stress enough how the elimination of the boards has a tremendous positive impact on neighborhoods and communities,” said Faith Gardner, housing code administrator of the city’s department of neighborhood improvement services.
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/durham-county/article20778429.html#storylink=cpy
These communities have fought back against vandalism and crime, as well as enhanced the value of local homes by changing from Plywood to Clear Polycarbonate Sheets. Tuffak GP is a super tough glazing grade clear Polycarbonate Sheet material is the same kind of material that Police Officers use for face shields and banks are using for bullet resistant glazing.
The premier manufacturer of Polycarbonate Sheet in the USA is Tuffak® PG made by Plaskolite and made from Covestro® (formerly Bayer MaterialScience) resins, and they produce Tuffak® GP Polycarbonate Sheet. Polycarbonate is also available in rod and thick plate for machined parts.
Consider using Polycarbonate sheet for your next glazing material.
A common standard item in the metals industry is ‘strip’. Strip is normally a piece of material that is 1/16″ – 3/8″ thick and 1.0″ – 4.0″ wide, although thicker and wider materials can also be referred to as strip. The metals industry produces various metals in these sizes of strip. In the plastics industry, strip is something we cut from larger sheets. The sizes are the same as listed above, but are cut from 48″ X 96″ or 48″ X 120″ sheets.
The a few of the most common plastics materials we cut to plastic strips are:
Most plastics can be cut to these strip sizes, with various lengths available depending on type of material. In some materials and in some sizes, depending on quantity, special run to size plastic strip is available. These special run plastic strips can be run to almost any length. Specifically, in the UHMW and PTFE materials, much longer lengths are available in rolls of material. The UHMW can be purchased in standard and adhesive back varieties. This UHMW with adhesive is a commonly used item in the wear strip applications because of its ease of installation. A large market for this kind of strip is in the food processing industry for all wear points and to reduce noise in the plant. Some of these same sizes with adhesive on the back are available in the PTFE, and are available in long tape style rolls. In some cases, colors other than natural are available, contact us for details.
Plastic Strip and Strips are available in special sizes
With the massive range of plastics available, and most of these materials available to be cut to strips, the nearly unlimited amount of choices in plastic strip availability make this post difficult to be all inclusive. Great material for the industrial, food processing, material handling, automotive and recreational industries.
Most plastics are available in large sheets, and we can cut these sheets to strip for you. Also, depending on the material, size and quantity, we can custom extrude your strip in longer lengths and to your requirements. Decide on a type of plastic, determine the size and quantity, and give us a call. Use your imagination, we can help.
If you have a project where strips would be ideal, please contact us to see if the type of material you need is available in the strip configuration that would be beneficial. Call us at: 866-832-9315 or drop us an email and we will be happy to go to work on your requirement.
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, Nytef Plastics, Rochling 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.Google+
What is the Strongest Plastic – Polycarbonate Sheet?
Many plastics are durable and have good impact strength. Acetal Copolymer – Acetal Homopolymer for example is a very durable and strong material, but compared to some other materials the impact strength is lower. The Acetal is the best machining plastic around, it is used to make long lasting and good wearing parts for machines. Another great plastic that holds up to wear and tear is UHMW. With its high molecular weight and low friction resistance is ideal to take abuse over long periods of time.
However, one of the strongest materials in the plastic family is Polycarbonate. Commonly referred to Lexan® (SABIC) or Makrolon® (Bayer) Polycarbonate Sheets. Polycarbonate is by far one of the strongest (highest impact resistant) plastic materials, and is warranted against breakage. With its high impact strength, it is ideal for jobs were the ability to absorb abuse is a factor and in some cases may even need to save lives. A common material for high impact is Polycarbonate Sheet and Plate, but amazingly also Polycarbonate Rod.
Polycarbonate Sheets considered ‘unbreakable’.
Polycarbonate sheet is a valuable plastic due to its impact strength, temperature resistance and wide range of uses. It is commonly confused with Acrylic or Plexiglass which has similar properties but Polycarbonate is 25 times stronger and has a wider temperature range. Acrylic is better used for display purposes and is a brittle material. Polycarbonate is so strong that you can drill or hammer a nail right through it without breaking the material. It also can undergo large deformations without breaking while Acrylic cannot. Polycarbonate also can be used for electrical applications because it is a great insulator. It also has great safety properties due to it being flame retardant and because it has good heat resistance. Another way Polycarbonate exhibits its safety properties is through bullet resistant glass. Polycarbonate is the most commonly used material for bullet resistant glass, riot shields and face masks. In these situations, the Polycarbonate has a very high impact strength which is invaluable. It protects and saves lives and is able to stand up to abuse in dangerous situations.
Polycarbonate Has Many Uses
From audio CDs to Blu-ray discs, airplane canopies to protective eye gear, Polycarbonate is a great thermoplastic (a material that can be formed and returned to its original shape) material for many different applications. Because of its impact strength and wide range of uses, Polycarbonate makes an ideal material for those who need peace of mind when designing or fabricating and need it to hold up to abuse and be virtually unbreakable. Polycarbonate is one of the toughest plastic materials around and everyday new products are being made from it. Whether using it for electrical, optical or for its impact properties, Polycarbonate is an ideal choice for many plastic needs.
Polycarbonate sheet (Makrolon) is available from .032″ – .500″ thick
Polycarbonate Plate, Slab, Block is available up to 4.0″ thick
Polycarbonate Rods are available from .250″ – over 8″ diameter.
Not all Polycarbonate Sheet or Plate meet all approval ratings. Zelux Polycarbonate Plate is available in a machine grade and an optical grade. Zelux Polycarbonate Rod is also available – as a machine grade rod – not optical.
Typical Polycarbonate Resin Properties:
Tensile Strength Yield
8,900 – 9,000
Izod Impact – Notched
Hardness – Rockwell
Deflection Temp @ 264psi
Deflection Temp @ 66 psi
Co. Thermal Expansion
We stock a large variety of thickness and sheet sizes in Makrolon GP sheet. For more information on this or other plastic sheets, please call us at 866-832-9315 or click here to contact us.