Although not every business with a conveyor belt deals with material handling and packaging, this time of year is certainly a stressful one for those who help fulfill orders around the world. Our society today has quickly attached themselves to the idea of fast-paced deliveries and having their orders satisfied within just a few days. In today’s highly connected marketplace, it is vital that material handling operations work quickly and efficiently to provide customers with the materials and products they want now. As a result, businesses and operators depend heavily on the reliability of their machines, so it’s only natural that they would want to use performance plastic solutions to keep their equipment running smoothly. Our team at Piedmont Plastics is knowledgeable in all of our product offerings and we can help find the right materials for your material handling or conveying applications.
Why Plastics Should Be Used in Material Handling & Conveying Applications
It’s no secret that material handling and conveying processes utilize machines with many moving parts. Over time, these parts can wear down and cause issues that interrupt production. Performance plastics are extremely durable and have a long lifespan, thus reducing the amount of maintenance time required to keep these machines running. In addition, performance plastics are lighter than metals, meaning there is also a reduction in the amount of electricity needed too power and operate the machinery. However, there are other benefits that come with using performance plastic parts. Some of these benefits include reductions in noise, improved employee safety, and less contamination. Furthermore, there are numerous parts to these machines and each plastic material is unique, so it’s important that the right solution is selected for the application.
Common Plastics and Applications for Material Handling & Conveying
UHMW is highly durable, cost-efficient, and versatile. It is commonly known for its extremely low coefficient of friction, inherent lubricity, superior impact strength and chemical resistance. Natural virgin UHMW has an extremely high molecular weight, making it extremely resistant to abrasion and moisture absorption. UHMW can also be used for applications such as chute liners, conveyor systems, star wheels, thrust washers, valves and fittings, and wear strips.
HDPE is a versatile product with low moisture absorption, excellent impact resistance, high tensile strength, and good chemical and corrosion resistance. HDPE does not splinter, rot, or retain harmful bacteria. It is recyclable, and extremely resistant to the harsh chemicals of cleaning solutions. HDPE can be used for applications such as bottling lines, conveyor systems, and material handling wear strips.
Polyurethane is a unique material with formulations covering an extremely wide range of stiffness, hardness and densities. Polyurethane also features superior tear and abrasion resistance, substrate adhesive abilities, excellent load bearing and flex fatigue, and compression resistance. In addition, this material can be fabricated, machined and thermoformed and can be UL, FDA, and/or RoHS compliant. Polyurethane can be used for applications such as wire harness fixtures, conveyor systems, and bottling lines.
ABS is an impact resistant and durable product with low moisture absorption rates. ABS materials boast a highly heat tolerant design allowing for ease of thermoforming and sonic welding on wood, epoxy, ceramic, and aluminum. Parts made with ABS can be joined with machine screws, bolts, nuts, rivets, and spring steel fasteners. ABS can be used for applications such as packaging materials and electrical enclosures.
Clear Plastic Machine Guards
In addition to ensuring material handling and conveying systems remain optimal, it is important to keep operators safe while they are working. Many industrial and manufacturing facilities are filled with dangers that can be prevented if the proper protection is installed. For example, machine guards made from polycarbonate sheets do an excellent job of keeping employees safe from projectiles and hazardous chemicals while also providing an unobstructed view of the machinery. Polycarbonate is a transparent plastic material with exceptional impact resistance, toughness, low moisture absorption, dielectric properties, and flame retardance. Polycarbonate is 30 times stronger than acrylic, and over 200 times stronger than glass, yet is lightweight, weighing six times less than glass. Lastly, the IZOD impact of polycarbonate can be between 15.0 and 17.0 ft-lbs/in notched. With that being said, all of these characteristics should be enough for any business to consider installing polycarbonate machine guards next to their higher risk applications.
At Piedmont Plastics, we offer a wide variety of performance plastic materials, solutions, and accessories for your applications. Contact us to inquire about our various solutions or call us today to speak with a plastics expert!