Manufacturing is a term that can encompass many different industries and types of products, but the reality is that all manufacturers need good materials in order to produce their products.
Sometimes, manufacturers even need special materials in order to achieve specific tasks. These materials can be used to build and create many different products and parts. Having the right materials to work with can be the difference between a good and a great end product. While there are many types of manufacturing, there are six high-quality materials that manufacturers need to know more about.
This is one of the most frequently used materials in manufacturing. Polycarbonate is great because it can be injection molded to create many different parts, including gears, cams, and even small engine pieces. Manufacturers need these high-quality materials when they are building anything that needs a lightweight material that does not corrode or rust. The use of abrasion resistant polycarbonate, which usually has a coating that makes it more resistant to wear, is becoming more common for heavy use manufacturing parts. Polycarbonates are a family of thermoplastic polymers containing carbonate bonds in their chemical structures. Engineering polycarbonates are strong, resilient materials that have some degrees of optical transparency. They can be readily molded, machined, and thermoformed which makes their use versatile.
Plexiglass is a material that has many different names, but the important thing to know is that it can come in sheets or as cast acrylic. Plexiglas sheet is an excellent choice for manufacturers because of its clarity and durability. Cast acrylic, which also goes by the name Acrylite or Lucite, gives off a great light transmission and gloss. Plexiglass is used in different types of manufacturing, including the automotive manufacturing world. Some pet enclosures, such as aquariums and terrariums are often made with this material. Automotive windshield substrates are usually made with high technology acrylic adhesives or resins to give automakers more flexibility during installation and assembly operations.
While many people use the terms plexiglass and acrylic as synonyms, originally, plexiglass was the name of the material, while acrylic was a brand name for this plastic. However, both terms have become so ingrained in everyday jargon that there is no longer any distinction between the two.
3. HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)
High-density polyethylene, also known as HDPE, is a plastic material with many uses. It is often used for food-related products such as cutting boards and is perfectly safe for container and bottle manufacturing. However, it is also used by the construction industry for things like piping and fittings because of its durability and flexibility. There are different kinds of HDPE sheets, and some of them are even used in boats. The material is highly resistant to different chemicals, moisture, corrosion as well as stains.
This material is so safe it is even used in baby products, such as high chairs and tableware. HDPE can have different grades of hardness which are labeled with numerical values. The higher the number, the harder the material will be. However, the price of the material will also vary depending on the hardness, so it’s always a good idea to check what kind you need, so you don’t have any unnecessary expenses.
4. UHMW-PE (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene)
Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, also known as UHMWPE is a material that has many different uses. It’s perfect for manufacturing parts that need to be resistant to chemicals and water and is often used in the creation of gears, slides, and runner tracks because of its low coefficient of friction. This material can also resist a lot of stress and abuse, which is why it’s often used in the manufacture of push pads for doors and windows or safety buffers.
UHMWPE is resistant to abrasion as well as impact, which makes it an excellent choice for heavy-duty use products such as snowplow blades and scrapers. You can mold this material into any desired shape to create things like knife handles, however, the flexibility it provides doesn’t mean that it’s also susceptible to breakage. Even though it is flexible, UHMWPE is resilient and strong which makes it perfect for frequent use products. The material meets USDA compliance standards, which says a lot about its quality on its own.
5. Engineered Plastic (Acetal, Nylon, Polypropylene)
Engineered plastic is a broad term that refers to different plastics being mixed together. These materials have been used in the manufacturing world ever since the early 1950s and have evolved over time to become one of the high-quality options for manufacturers around the world.
One of these types of plastics is Acetal, which has a wide variety of uses. It is often used in the automotive industry to create items such as gaskets, valve components, dowels, and fasteners because of its resistance to extreme temperatures. The material is also resistant to chemicals which makes it perfect for use in pumps, gears, valves, and other different types of equipment that are used daily in manufacturing facilities.
Nylon is another engineered plastic that has many different uses. It’s often used for creating gears because of its material strength and longevity. It’s even used to create modern fishing rods and tennis rackets because of its extreme durability. Nylon can be molded into any desired shape to create products such as gears, spacers, brackets, and washers, among others,
Polypropylene is also a commonly used type of engineered plastic, perfect for creating items such as buckets and containers with high resistance to corrosion and chemicals. It’s so strong that it can even be used in the creation of safety equipment such as crash helmets, protective footwear, and different kinds of tools.
Silicone doesn’t corrode or absorb humidity which makes it perfect for creating items such as rubber seals, O-rings, gaskets, insulators for wet environments, EMI/RFI shielding gaskets, and adhesives. This material can also be used in different types of coatings in the form of silicone resins, or inks. It’s an integral part of many different engineering processes. Among other things, it can also be used in construction projects, since it can stop air infiltration and water vapor, while also preventing the growth of mold, mildew, fungi, and algae. Silicone can be used in roofs, ceilings, walls, flooring materials, bathroom fixtures such as sinks and bathtubs.
Manufacturers use these materials because of their durability, flexibility, and resistance to different types of chemicals. If you plan on manufacturing your own products in the future, it’s important to know what kind of materials are used so you can choose which ones will work best for your project. Of course, aluminum, different kinds of metals, and other materials can also be used in manufacturing, and if this is a subject you would like to learn further about, there are plenty of online resources that can help you out.