While the “poly” based plastic materials only date back some 60 years, and are therefore the youngest materials in the Smiths range, they include some of the most widely used and successful plastics used in manufacturing industry today
Nevertheless, some of the earlier types of plastic are still in demand and they too are included in this catalogue. Modern plastics can be divided into three basic groups.
Here you will find polyethylene, polypropylene and PVC as examples of the wide range of plastics with useful properties but they do not necessarily have the maximum capability that might be found in other grades. They frequently have good chemical resistance, some can be fabricated by welding, and they have a reasonable range of operating temperature.
These are the hard working plastics. Generally stronger, with higher temperature resistance and better bearing properties than the Industrial Plastics, these plastics are designed for a long trouble free service life. Nylon’s, Acetal (and Delrin), PTFE, polycarbonate, acrylic and resin bonded laminates are just a few of the Engineering Plastics in every day use.
High Performance Plastics (HPM’s)
These plastics have been developed to have the ultimate combination of performance properties. They push conventional boundaries by having the capability to survive long periods at extremes of temperature, chemical attack, radiation bombardment and high stress. Victrex? PEEK? is a well-known example but new materials are continually “in the pipeline.”
As with the core products from Smiths’ metals range, Engineering Plastics are offered as Machining Stock in a wide variety of economical forms to minimise waste. Straight lengths of round bar, which up to 50mm dia can also be Precision Ground to close tolerances on request, are typically produced up to 3 mts long. Some of the less rigid materials, such as PTFE, are limited to 2 mts so they are easier to handle without becoming damaged. Sheet and plate often starts below 1mm and it’s not uncommon to find a manufacturer’s range rising to 200mm or more. They come in a huge variety of length and width combinations, some of which are “traditional” formats that suit specific industries using particular materials. Tubes to save material, thin strip for stamped parts, and some solid and hollow sections are also available.
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To find out more about Smiths Metal Centres extensive range of engineering plastics, click on one of our products on the side menu of this web page.