Not every plastic is suitable for industrial applications or construction. The heavy-duty plastics that are, however, can help manufacturers save money, improve workflow, and produce high-quality, durable goods consumers can rely on.
Heavy Duty Plastics
Some heavy-duty plastics often used for industrial purposes include ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), plastic sheets often used for machine housing, vehicle instrument panels, and protective coverings for construction equipment. It’s impact resistant and straightforward to form and machine.
Also popular is HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic. This material is known for being robust, easy to fabricate, and can be used in a wide range of temperatures from as low as -50° F to as high as 180° F. HDPE is resistant to chemicals and high low water absorption. This makes it ideal for pipe systems, chemical containers on industrial sites, and everyday uses such as children’s toys and containers for foods and beverages.
One of the most recognized heavy-duty plastics on the market is, of course, specialty acrylic. Popular as a clear, transparent material, acrylic is strong, durable, and easy to form. It’s often used as a substitute for glass on industrial sites where breakage and shards of broken glass would be a severe safety hazard. Acrylic is also a popular material for canopies, safety helmets, windows, and aquariums.
But what heavy-duty plastic is considered the best?
Most would agree the answer is polycarbonate.
The Advantages of Polycarbonate
Two hundred times stronger than glass, polycarbonate is virtually guaranteed not to break or crack. Its high impact strength makes it ideal for structures, vehicle components, and manufactured goods that are subject to harsh conditions, whether they be caused by rough weather or usage.
In construction, polycarbonate can be drilled and hammered without risking damage and, due to its flexibility, can undergo extreme deformations without breakage.
Because polycarbonate expands and contracts with temperature change, it doesn’t suffer long-term shrinkage or permanent alterations in dimension. Polycarbonate can be used without any concern for deforming, melting, or flowing at temperatures up to 240° F.
Due to its excellent insulating properties, polycarbonate can also be used in electrical applications and has exceptional heat and flame resistance. Industrial components made from polycarbonate are essentially fireproof.
Polycarbonate has a multitude of applications. It can be used to create audio CDs, Blu-ray discs, room dividers, greenhouses, aviation canopies, safety eyewear, and much more. Polycarbonate is the safest material for riot shields, face shields, and bulletproof glass.
In addition to various uses in industrial applications, it’s the material of choice for a wide range of electrical, optical, and agricultural applications.
Is There Anything Stronger Than Polycarbonate?
As far as plastics go, not really. Polycarbonate is often compared with acrylic for many applications because it is stronger and lightweight than glass, with polycarbonate being the stronger of the two. They can both be shaped and formed to suit many purposes, can be made completely clear, and are easy to clean.
Acrylic, however, is more rigid and prone to cracking and chipping when drilled.
How Workable Is Polycarbonate?
Drilling a polycarbonate sheet is not difficult if you have good tools and the correct polycarbonate sheet.
There are two varieties of polycarbonate—solid and twin wall. Since it can crack or break due to internal forces, the twin wall type is less ideal for drilling. It’s possible, but extreme caution is required.
Drilling solid polycarbonate is relatively simple. Just place the sheet on a flat surface that supports it well and which the drill can run into, such as a wood board. You can drill polycarbonate with a standard steel drill or an HSS drill.
Also, polycarbonate sheets can be cut easily using a common circular saw. Thinner sheets can be scored and snapped with just a hand-held blade and a securely mounted cutting surface.
The ability to drill and cut on-site offers significant convenience and fewer instances of cutting errors and waste.
Polycarbonate From Piedmont Plastics
Polycarbonate sheets have a clear advantage over acrylic and other heavy-duty plastics due to their durability, chemical and fire resistance, low water absorption, and various safety features.
The polycarbonate sheets from Piedmont Plastics are often the best solution for various industrial, construction, agricultural, and consumer goods applications. Piedmont Plastic’s online pricing and ordering system make it convenient to acquire precisely what you need for the best price possible.