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Exploring The Versatility Of Acetal In Manufacturing

Transforming Manufacturing Efficiency

In the manufacturing sector, you need strong materials that can withstand repeated movement over many years, have high-temperature ratings, and are resistant to damage from fluids and chemicals. In everything from pulleys to gears, manufacturers use the right material to keep their facilities running smoothly or send operations to a grinding halt. Acetal can fit this need well.

In addition, manufacturers often turn to acetal as a raw material for the items they make. It’s high strength and low friction, combined with the fact that it’s easily machinable compared to other plastics, make it an ideal material to machine a wide range of products.

If you are curious about acetal and its properties, this guide will show you the benefits of acetal for your manufacturing processes, both for parts for your equipment and the products you manufacture.

Overview of Acetal: What Is It, and How Is It Made?

Acetal is a modern thermoplastic that is strong with a low coefficient of friction. Thermoplastics are polymers that retain their properties over repeated heating, melting, and solidifying cycles. This makes them recyclable materials and means that manufacturers can use acetal for processes like injection molding. Acetal is a thermoplastic with a semi-crystalline chemical makeup that creates a rigid structure with low water absorption rates. It also has strong electrical properties. This thermoplastic is sold under several names but has the same properties regardless of the brand name.

Another name for acetal is polyoxymethylene or POM. It has repetitive, orderly structural units that give it its durability. Unfortunately, this structure also gives it a high melting point.

This versatile plastic is available in two formulations: homopolymer (POM-H) and copolymer (POM-C). Manufacturing these involves distilling hydrocarbons into fractions, then combining them with catalysts to cause polymerization. The choice of catalysts will determine if POM-H or POM-C structures form.

These two types of acetal have slightly different properties. For instance, POM-H has a melting point of 347 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius), and POM-C has a melting point of  323 to 343 degrees Fahrenheit (162 to 173 degrees Celsius). As a result, POM-H is stiffer, more rigid, and more slippery than POM-C. Still, POM-C has better dimensional stability and resists chemical and impact damage better than its counterpart.

The Advantages of Acetal Over Other Plastics

Acetal’s properties make it ideal over plastics in many applications. Its tensile strength and high chemical resistance make it a good choice when manufacturers need to protect against chemical and solvent damage. Yet despite this strength, acetal is easily machinable, making it into various shapes and designs. This customizable nature means manufacturers can use it for

Acetal also has low water absorption rates, which works well for marine applications. It has high heat and wear resistance as well. In tests of strength and durability, it outperforms nylon four-to-one. It can also replace metal parts and provides a more lightweight option. Finally, it has low surface friction, making it ideal for applications requiring smooth movement.

Key Properties of Acetal That Make It Ideal for Manufacturing

Several of the properties of acetal make it a popular choice for the manufacturing industry. These include:

  • Low friction: Conveyor systems, gears, valves, and pump parts all benefit from the low friction of acetal, allowing smooth operation.
  • Strength: The overall strength of acetal is another reason it is ideal for moving parts in manufacturing and construction applications. It can glide smoothly over other acetal pieces, resists damage from repeated use, and does not break or dent easily.
  • Easy machinability: Even though it is quite strong, with the right conditions, acetal is easily machinable. This means manufacturers can mold it into the exact shape they need
  • Colorization: Acetal appears white in its original form, so manufacturers can color it to any shade they want, making it ideal for applications where color coding or visual appeal is important.
  • Low water absorption: Acetal resists water absorption quite well, making it a good choice for wet applications in the manufacturing sector.

What Is the Temperature Range of Acetal?

Another perk of acetal is its ability to resist damage at high temperatures. The material has a continuous use temperature range of up to 179 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius), allowing it to remain strong and stiff even when used at high temperatures.

Shop for Acetal with Piedmont Plastics

Acetal is one of the most popular plastics in the manufacturing sector. If you are interested in finding the right acetal formulation for your application, contact the experts at Piedmont Plastics for help.