Category Archives: Plastics

Detectable Materials: An Important Piece of the Food Recall Solution

There is no one magic thing that will stop food recalls from occurring.  Ultimately it involves every aspect of a food business from Safety and Quality teams to maintenance, to people working on the line. Every little bit helps. When it comes to equipment in food processing facilities, whether it’s a chute, a conveyor, an oven or mixer, more and more often quality, maintenance, and engineers are turning to detectable materials as another avenue to help reduce food recall incidents.

Detectable materials have been designed by top engineering plastics manufacturers and extruders including Ensinger and Quadrant Engineered Plastics specifically for the food industry. Each one is FDA compliant for direct contact with food so they can be used in numerous applications. Download Ensinger’s white paper and our Materials Guide for the Food Processing Industry for more information.

Breaking Down Detectable Materials for Application Use

There are four main types of detectable materials: Visible, Metal Detectable, X-Ray Detectable and Ultra Detectable (this combines all three methods). As an engineering plastics distributor thyssenkrupp Engineered Plastics streamlines your selection process because we stock both Ensinger and Quadrant Engineered Plastics materials. In addition we train and work with our manufacturers on a regular basis and we work with customers like you everyday, helping you to solve your material selection challenges. Each detectable material has it’s own characteristics and properties, so its important to evaluate any potential plastic material on your equipment and in your environment to ensure it works as you need and expect it to. It can take time, but we can help to pare down the initial list of many materials to a few based on our experience and knowledge making the task easier for you. In addition we look not only at materials but, which is the best to balance performance and value for your application.

Free Downloads to get your started on plastics for food processing applications

Our materials guide is an excellent starting points if you want to learn more about these specialized materials, how they work, their compliance to FDA and other standards and more. Our guide also includes a comprehensive selection of materials for all sorts of food processing needs from cutting boards, clear plastics, materials for plant signage and more.

Along with Ensingers White Paper and our catalog onlineplastics.com is another excellent resource to materials for the food processing industry. It’s fast, easy and mobile friendly 24/7 access.

Most of all – give us a call at 877.246.7700. We are a team of real people with real hands on plastics experience and when it comes to pairing applications with materials that can sometimes be the best help of all. We know it isn’t about finding a plastic, it’s about finding the right engineered plastics solution for your application.

If you are interested in pricing, complete a request for quote here. Let us know which material, the size and quantity and we will get back to you with pricing and lead times.

Get the white paper now.
=

 

 

Machining Acetal Shapes

Highly precise acetal parts in a variety of sizes and complexities can be manufactured economically through machining. In the world of Engineering Plastics, Acetal (POM) stock shapes are considered to be some of the easiest to machine. On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the easiest, many manufacturers place acetal at a 1, compared to a PBI which is often seen as a 10. In fact, machine shops that traditionally make metal parts find they can machine acetal using the same primary tools used for most of the metals they work with. As with any material, there are some good guidelines that can help ensure your success.

Best General Practices for Machining Parts from Acetal (POM) Engineering plastic and Potential Pitfalls of Machining Thermoplastic Shapes

We love engineering plastics! So we are always touting the many benefits of replacing plastics with metals. But this does not mean they are perfect in every way in every situation. There are some differences between plastics and metals that can trip you up when machining. But once you know the potential problems of machining acetal stock shapes machining them can become as easy as the metals machine shops are used to working with now.

Watch out for the heat! As a general rule keep in mind that, due to heat, thermoplastics expansion can be up to 10X greater than metals. Thermoplastics also hold heat longer than metals. Acetal is a thermoplastic material and has a lower thermal conductive aspect than most of the metals it is used to replace. Heat may not be an issue for metals but in the case of an engineering plastic shape from acetal heat build up from machining needs to be monitored and taken into account. Thermoplastics are more elastic than metals. So in general, heat buildup during the machining process can potentially lead to thermal expansion which can distort acetal parts.

If this leaves you concerned about machining plastics, not to worry! Plastics like acetal have numerous benefits that often outweigh the challenges of heat buildup and once you understand how to work with acetal you can easily machine consistently accurate, detailed high quality parts that your customers will be happy with. Be mindful of heat buildup, but also know that acetal does not typically require a coolant (except when drilling or threading). Sawing and machining can usually be set up to minimize heat buildup. (See the table below for Quadrant Engineering Plastics general recommendations for tools and speeds.)

  1. If cooling is used on acetal, compressed air is the standard method. The great thing is this has two benefits. The air cools the part and it keeps chips blown out of the way and keeps the heat built up in the chips off of the part or tools where it can add to any heat buildup. Other options include spray mists and non-aromatic, water soluble coolants.
  2. Sharper tools = Less friction = Less heat. To help reduce heat buildup use extremely sharp cutting tools.
  3. Chipping. Acetal creates chips when being machined so plan for removal of chips as you machine. Removing chips is very important in deep hole drilling. As the chips add to the heat, hole walls can heat to the melting point and clog the drill.
  4. Pieces may be flexible. Make sure the acetal is supported in a way that the material is not distorted, bent, twisted or allowed to deflect away from the tool.
  5. Make sure machining equipment is running as smoothly as possible, reduce any vibration to help aid in accuracy and part quality.
  6. Acetal shapes can be clamped but be aware of how tight.
  7. Choose the right blade for the job. Start by asking yourself what the end product is going to be.
    1. Band saws are good choice for a support groove and for cutting acetal rod and tube. Heat gets dissipated over the long blade.
    2. Circular saws are a good choice for cutting acetal sheet or blocks that have straight edges. Watch the feed speed (most acetal manufacturers have a recommendation).
  8. Choose the right tool for the job too
    1. Opt for positive tool geometries with ground peripheries
    2. For best tool life use carbide tools with ground top surfaces
  9. Is post machining annealing needed? See our previous blog post on this topic.
  10. Choose a machining cycle that will allow for evacuation of the chips from holes and cutting surfaces. For example, when drilling holes choose a cycle that allows drill to ‘peck’ or withdraw at certain points to draw chips back out of the hole.

The following tables are a good starting point for how to set up machining of acetal materials. The information comes two US manufacturers of acetal materials – Quadrant Engineering Plastics and Engineer Plastics provide guidelines for machining the acetal materials they produce. Depending on the manufacturer acetal materials may go through a stress relieving (annealing process) as part of their manufacturing. This helps to ensure the highest possible consistent quality of materials. Testing and consulting with your local tkEP representative on manufacturer recommendations is always a good way to help prevent machining problems. tkEP representatives not only have a broad range of industry experience, many have worked hands on in the industry, and all tkEP representatives attend manufacturer training so we stay on top of current products and how to work them.

 

As you can see each manufacturer has their own insights into how acetal should be sawn, milled, drilled, or turned. Their are also some pretty broad ranges when it comes to the numbers they provide. This is because these are truly general guidelines that cover the broad range of acetal shapes. Acetal shapes can be acetal homopolymers, acetal copolymer. In addition there are filled acetals and unfilled acetals. Add that to other variations including thickness and size plus environment and it is easy to see that testing for individual applications is necessary.

To read more about acetal plastic shapes check out our online catalog. We have product information as well as a full range of shapes, sizes, and grades of acetal. Read More… For more detailed information on machining from Quadrant EPP and Ensinger Engineering Plastics we’ve included links to pdf files of their machining guides. In these guides you’ll find data for acetals as well as a broad range of other machinable engineering plastics. Last but not least, don’t forget about your friendly local tkEP representative. We are always happy to assist you with finding the right engineered plastics solution for your application. Contact us today 877.246.7700. this one number will put you in contact with your local tkEP branch, or send us a note.

Quadrant Engineering Plastics Machinist Handbook

Ensinger Engineering Plastics Machinist Guide

What Are Polymers?

What Are Polymers? What Polymers Occur In Nature?

iStock_000064384687_Double-Rotated

POLYMER: a chemical compound that is made of small molecules that are arranged in a simple repeating structure to form a larger molecule.

DNA, genetic sign, elements and icons collection

DNA, genetic sign, elements and icons collection

Naturally Occurring Polymers

To know what a polymer structure looks like, think of a chain with many links connected together. In nature our own DNA is an excellent example. DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid)  is a molecule that carries the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms. The diversity of how these chains link mean polymers exhibit a very broad range of properties making them an essential and vital piece in everyday life, no matter where we look.

How Are Polymers Created?

Polymers are created through chemical reactions known as polymerizations, and most polymers are made via just two basic reaction types.

Polymerization Type #1 – Condensation polymerization.

Condensation polymerizations occur when two monomers react to yield a repeat unit (a chain) and then along the way they lose small molecules as by-products such as water or methanol. In plastics one example of condensation polymerization is polyamide that comes from monomers with carboxylic acids and basic amines. A polyamide is a macromolecule with repeating units linked by amide bonds. In our business of engineered plastics we often think of DuPont Vespel®, a specialized engineered plastic. On the other end, naturally occurring polyamides are also the proteins that make up wool and silk.

polyamide_formula_v01

Synthetic Polyamides and the Birth of Nylon

Wallace Hume Carothers (April 27, 1896 – April 29, 1937) was an American chemist. He is most noted as the inventor of nylon, one of the most widely used and known plastics throughout the world because of is many forms and uses.

Carothers was the leader of organic chemistry at DuPont when he made the first nylon to be a synthetic replacement for silk. Most people also know this is where nylon stockings became popular as silk went into short supply, but nylon was so successful that it replaced many different products after silk became scarce during World War II. Most noted nylon was used in military applications such as parachutes and flak vests. After initial the commercialization of nylon as a fiber, applications in the form of shapes and films were also developed with demand.  Industries as diverse as packaging, electrical and electronics, consumer goods, appliances, and automotive are just a few of the areas that developed applications for nylon plastic in various forms.

Polymerization Type #2 – Chain-Growth Polymerization

Chain growth polymerization occurs when a monomer forms a molecule with an unpaired electron. The free radical reacts quickly with another monomer and causes a repeat unit with another free radical. A rapid chain reaction continues bringing about the polymerization, and the polymer chain continues to grow longer.

One example of a synthetic polymer made through a chain-growth polymerization is polystyrene, a polymer commonly found in disposable drinking cups. It is interesting to note that the original discovery of this polymer dates all the way back to 1839 by Eduard Simon.  As a traveling member of AIN Plastic Business Development I rely heavily on this synthetic polymerization… Since the discovery of this polymerization process, the advancements have been ever changing in the industry of materials like engineered plastics. For example, polystyrene itself comes in forms from clear and hard to a foam version invented by DOW in 1941. The end result simply depends on the particular catalyst and chemicals selected to create polymerization process.

Chemists have discovered new catalysts and developed new synthetic chains to join small molecules into long polymer chains with the right properties for almost any particular use….only time will tell what comes next, and I for one, can’t wait to see.

Montague-Sml-DSC_0304Kendall Montague
Industry Segment Manager, Oil and Gas

thyssenkrupp Materials NA
AIN Plastics Division

M: +1 (314) 502-0813, : +1 (877) 246-7700, Kendall.Montague@thyssenkrupp.com

See our catalog online at www.onlineplastics.com

Kendall Montague is a veteran of the plastics industry with 16+ years experience working with OEM and MRO engineers assisting in developing thermoplastics material selection as well as custom design and fabrication using CNC equipment.

Active Member with the Energy & Polymer Group – Houston
linkedin-logo-Icon

Sources for this article:

Introduction to Polymers  R.J. Young Chapman

Market Studies- Ceresena

Meriam Webster-dictionary

wikipedia

Machined Plastic Parts Provide Solutions for Noise Reduction

DSC_0193

The famous line from the 1993 Car-X commercial  “RATTLE RATTLE THUNDER CLATTER BOOM BOOM BOOM”** is a heads up for some people that improvements can be made to reduce noise. For engineers and operators these sounds on a manufacturing line or in a production environment are a trigger for to “investigate” the cause and dig into the field of tribology. In the field of engineered plastics, these noises can also be an opportunity to provide machined parts from thermoplastics as a solution for noise reduction and improved efficiency!

On the floor of production and manufacturing facility environments loud noises are an OSHA concern as they can be an issue for the health and safety of workers. In these situations, parts machined from thermoplastics can provide an design option that can greatly reduce noise levels and improve conditions. In addition, machined plastics can bring about increased efficiencies that reduce downtime.

“As with any occupational hazard, control technology should aim at reducing noise to acceptable levels by action on the work environment. Such action involves the implementation of any measure that will reduce noise being generated, and/or will reduce the noise transmission through the air or through the structure of the workplace. Such measures include modifications of the machinery”

Engineering Noise Control

Professor Colin H. Hansen & Dr Berenice I.F. Goelzer

Department of Mechanical Engineering – World Health Organization

(You can get a .pdf of their complete article on the topic of acoustics here)

Have you considered Thermoplastics, to reduce that noise and improve operational efficiency?

Key Characteristics of Plastic Components:

• Low weight – Easier handling, reduction in drive power required, improved lifting capacity

• Excellent price/performance ratio – Extended part life due to very high wear resistance

• Many are self-lubricating – Maintenance requirements can be reduced or eliminated

• Reduction of equipment noise and vibration

• Mating parts are not worn or damaged

• High mechanical strength, hardness and stiffness

• Impact strength even at low temperatures-cryogenic

• High mechanical dampening capacity

• Excellent fatigue resistance

• Good sliding and emergency running properties

• Outstanding abrasion resistance

• Dimensional stability and weather resistance

• Broad chemical resistance

• Will not corrode

IMG_0465 IMG_0496 UHMW-DSC_0056-2

Here are a few links to some other sources where you can learn more about the use of engineered plastics to help reduce noise and improve efficiency, plus a little link just for fun – in case you have never seen the 1993 commercial.

Connect with Vitrex on LinkedIn to see how a change to machined parts from PEEK helped to reduce noise caused by wind turbines.

Read more about tribology in one of an earlier AIN Plastics blog post by AIN Industry Segment Manager for DuPont™ Vespel® Paul Hanson.

If you don’t know the 1993 commercial we are referring to, no worries, you can find it on YouTube!

ASME (Americann Society of Mechanical Engineers) also has an excellent article that details the benefits many are finding as they replace metal parts with thermoplastic parts.

Finding the right thermoplastic for machined parts is not always a simple straight forward task of looking online or in a catalog. Today’s engineered plastics include thousands of options and many are specially designed with high wear applications in mind like bearing, bushings and more. As a provider of engineered plastic solutions we look to assist you in finding that just right plastic material that will meet the application specific needs and be the best possible value. In the end you may find benefits beyond noise reduction by changing from metal to plastic parts. If you have questions please contact me.

Montague-Sml-DSC_0304

Kendall Montague
Industry Segment Manager

thyssenkrupp Materials NA
AIN Plastics Division

Kendall Montague is a veteran of the plastics industry with 16+ years experience working with OEM and MRO engineers assisting in developing thermoplastics material selection as well as custom design and fabrication using CNC equipment.

Active Member with the Energy & Polymer Group – Houston
linkedin-logo-Icon

Bayer Material Science Now Covestro

As a distributor of Engineering Plastics AIN Plastics has had a long and great relationship with Bayer Material Science. Now, we here at AIN are pleased to be carrying on this same great relationship with Covestro. The company formerly known as Bayer Material Science is now a legally independent company that is still a full subsidiary of Bayer AG.

As a distributor we are looking forward to working with the same great materials and people and we are eager to see what the future brings now that Covestro stands on its own. Although some things remain the same, the change to Covestro is more than a pretty new logo. It is an opportunity that has been embraced by the Bayer team to reflect on it’s goals and it’s purpose and with that has come a new vision that Covestro released along with their new logo:

Covestro Logo Blk Txt CMYK“Making the World a Brighter Place”

In a recent press release Covestro’s CEO Patrick Thomas stated “We fulfill this vision by inspiring innovation and driving growth through profitable technologies and products that benefit society and reduce environmental impacts.”

As has been the case in the years leading up to the change, Covestro and AIN Plastics have worked with customers throughout just about every industry from high tech aerospace, defense and automotive to the demanding applications of medical device, food processing, orthotics and prosthetics and on into fine art preservation and architecture. It’s a broad range and Covestro has the high quality materials needed to supply them all. In addition, one of the things that has made the AIN Plastics / Bayer partnership so successful is our shared focus on continuous growth of industry knowledge that we bring to our customer service. As a company Covestro employs approximately 14,000 workers around the globe and according to news reports that number may be increasing soon. The US headquarters will remain in Pennsylvania where they are already sporting the bright new logo on signs around the property.

AIN Plastics is looking forward to our continued partnership with Covestro. As a top manufacturer of polycarbonate resins, sheets and shapes AIN Plastics is happy to continue stocking and selling their materials. Our team will be on the front line of learning about new Covestro materials and applications in the months and years to come, and as always, everyone at AIN Plastics will be eager to assist customers in finding that just right engineering plastic for their application.

 

 

 

For more information and articles about Bayer Material Science’s transition to Covestro see these links:

Bayer US Website

Pittshurgh-Post Gazzette

Wall Street Journal

 

See you in the blogosphere again soon!

Lisa Anderson

Marketing Manager
ThyssenKrupp Materials, NA
AIN Plastics Division


lisa_anderson_001CroppedAbout Lisa Anderson

Ms. Anderson has been ThyssenKrupp Materials AIN Plastics Division for over 3 years. She brings 20+ years of advertising, award winning graphic design, social media and marketing. She has worked in book publishing, advertising agencies, printing, manufacturing, and the apartment industry. Ms. Anderson has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts from Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI.

Hurricane Potential Reminds Us to Prepare

The US has had a few quiet years in terms of hurricanes, but now that we have Erika causing damage and we look back at the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina it’s time to review. Are we ready for a hurricane, or even a tropical storm? Lots of resources are available and we wanted to share a few to help.

Of course, The Weather Channel is a great place, either on TV, their app, or weatherchanel.com. They have a special section just for hurricane information.

If you have not visited lately. Ready.gov provides a whole series of great things from checklists to things like, how to talk to your children, how to plan and more like How to build a disaster preparedness kit. Even if a big hurricane does not hit this year, the peace of mind and the little time it takes up front is well worth it.

The Red Cross also has an easy to search library that is full of great tools to help you prepare for natural events such as hurricanes, snow storms (yes winter is on its way too), and much more. Plus, you can join in and help those affected by disasters by finding locations to donate blood or volunteer. We all want to help, but sometimes the best way is to join up with a long-time organization like The Red Cross who’s organized efforts have helped millions. Find out more by visiting their site.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) also has great information and an important reminder. In a disaster you may not have access to a computer, cell phone, tablet – all those things we’ve come to rely on heavily for fast access to information and storing information may not be availab le to you, so keep some old fashioned paper stuff on hand too.

Most importantly, start now. We’ve all seen the news reports of empty store shelves and people lining up to get gas, water, and plywood to board up windows and doors. Starting well ahead of time can save you time and reduce your stress level, knowing you won’t need to make that mad dash for supplies, or – what did you forget.

Lastly, take a look at your home and what you can do there to improve. Many residential homes and businesses use plywood to secure windows and doors, but AIN Plastics Florida has researched and found a better way that lets you put up hurricane protection on windows and doors ahead of time because it’s easy, reusable and it lets in the light! We call this material HurriGuard®

HurriGuard Panel

78aa237462380c42e1cb8132f0725f59

HurriGuard® has passed missile testing and is Miami Dade County approved for hurricane protection. (MIAMI DADE APPROVAL: 13-1126.21 FLORIDA APPROVAL: 16699) What is HurriGuard®? It’s actually a triple wall polycarbonate which makes it very strong and very lightweight. In fact, individuals can often install their own because it weighs about 1/4 what an average sheet of plywood weighs. The polycarbonate sheets come in sizes up to 4×8 and they can be cut to size. A channel system installed around the window allows for the panels to be installed within a short time and, unlike plywood they can be reused. Plywood soaks up water leaving it damaged and only good for a one-time use but HurriGuard® has a 10 year warranty against UV degredation. As a Florida business AIN Plastics Florida is happy to provide such a quality product. We have it in stock and ready to ship within Florida. If you have more questions please feel free to call us at 813-242-9162 or visit the HurriGuard® website.

In addition to windows and doors here are a few other things to check for:
Are rain/storm gutter clean and clear of debris?
If you currently have hurricane shutters are they in working order?
Be sure any loose objects are put away or secured
Remove any damaged or dead trees or shrubs
Check your roof and make sure shingles, tiles etc. are in good repair

 

 

Scott Moore

Branch Manager
ThyssenKrupp Materials NA AIN Plastics Division

What is Fracking and How does it Work?

Fracking is a slang term for hydraulic fracturing, a process that maximizes the output of natural gas and oil wells to make them productive.

How does hydraulic fracturing work?

When a well is fractured, an operator pumps a mixture of water, sand and a small amount
of chemicals into an oil or gas formation deep underground and applies pressure. The pressure fractures rock layers, releasing oil or gas reserves. The sand holds the fractures open to continue allowing the oil or gas to flow into the well.

Illustration---Fracking-01

As gas or oil comes to the well head under pressure, it brings with it the fracturing water that was pumped, along with natural brines that are present in the deeper layers of the earth. That “flowback” water is separated from the gas and oil at the surface, contained in steel tanks, and sent to deep injection wells for disposal.

Is hydraulic fracturing new?

No. Gas and oil operators have been using hydraulic fracturing around the country since it’s invention by George Mitchell in the late 1940s. (See article link below)

One popular method for creating fractures is the use of frac ports and sliding sleeves. Open hole packers isolate different sections of the horizontal well. A sliding sleeve is placed between each packer pair and is opened by injecting a ball inside the borehole. Typically, a completion string is placed inside the well. The string includes frac ports and open hole packers spaced to specifications.

Frac balls, typically made from an Engineering Plastic, are critical components in cutting edge downhole tooling used in hydraulic fracturing operations. Typically when creating multiple fractures in a wellbore, a completion string is placed inside the borehole with frac ports and sliding sleeves spaced between each section. In order to actuate each sleeve a properly sized frac ball is pumped along with the fracturing fluid inside the well.

Each ball is smaller than the opening in each of the previous sleeves but larger than the hole in the sleeve it is intended to open. The ball shall seat within the sleeve, closing the hole and exerting pressure to slide open the sleeve, opening the frac ports. Once the ports are open the fracturing fluid is diverted to the open hole space outside of the completion assembly causing the surrounding formation to fracture.

At the completion of each fracturing stage, the next sized ball is injected into the well causing the next sleeve to open and so on until all of the sleeves are open and multiple fractures are created within the well. The main advantages of this process being the speed with which the well can be penetrated hence reducing cost.

Engineering Plastics used in Hydraulic Fracturing

  • PEEK
  • TORLON®
  • G10-G11-FR4
  • DuPont™ Vespel®

The Engineering Plastics listed above are commonly found in seals, bushings, thrust washers, back-up rings, and logging tools. Many have properties that provide longer wear and high temperature resistance than more traditional materials.

As in nearly all industries today,  Engineered Plastics are becoming widely accepted as a solution to  bearing and wear issues. The oil and gas industry is no exception.  Engineered Plastics have been found to alleviate  some headaches in the extreme conditions the oil and gas industry meets when drilling deeper to tap into new resources.

Kendall Montague

National Sales Manager Oil & Gas
Thyssenkrupp Materials NA AIN Plastics Division

Connect with me on LinkedIn

 

Links to Related Items:

Animation of Baker Hughes completion and frac ball application. Frac Ball Application by Baker Hughes

Related Article: George Mitchell – The Inventor of Fracking 

ThyssenKrupp Materials NA AIN Plastics Division is a sponsor of the Energy Rubber Group

 

Engineering Plastics use Grows in Food Processing Equipment

iStock_000014977093LargeEngineering Plastics continue to replace metals as key components in food processing equipment. Plastics are often lighter and able to outlast traditional metal parts. A quick look through the variety of plastics available in today’s market shows an increasing number of engineering plastics that are compliant to FDA, USDA, 3A Dairy standards making them available in applications where they will come into direct contact with food. They are also being chosen for their
ability to create a quieter work environment.

With 2014 looking to be a great year for Food Processing equipment sales I wanted to share what we most find in food processing applications and why.

UHMW
UHMW continues to lead the way (by pounds sold in the United States) in the transformation from metal to plastic parts.  For more information on materials sold in the U.S. see this article by the American Chemical Council. Compared to steel UHMW is just 1/7th the weight. In addition UHMW is corrosion resistant. UHMW is a great option for room temperature applications like guides, paddles, and cutting surfaces.  Recent advances include the introduction of metal detectable versions that can be recognized by your detection systems in line.

Nylons
For bearing and wear applications, Nylon materials have been the workhorse for over 30 years.  Like UHMW, Nylon is also light weight, and provides lubrication – free operation making it a great material for producing bearings or bushings.  Gears and sprockets made of Nylon have been popular because they can reduce noise in work areas. They can also improve the efficiency of production lines conveying food and liquids in your plants by lasting longer than metals, which reduces downtime, and by allowing lines to run faster.

Acetals
For many components, Acetal is the best choice for metal replacement, and we find its popularity is growing quickly in the food processing industry.  Acetal (Delrin Homopolymer or CoPolymer brands like Acetron GP and Celcon) are very easy to machine, and their very low moisture absorption rates make them a good choice for the often wet environment of food processing.  Acetals are harder than Nylons and maintain dimensional stability where Nylons tend to be more flexible. In many applications Acetals can handle continuous use temperatures up to 210° F and they are typically compatible with most cleaning solutions, a huge plus in the food processing industry.

ERTALYTE®
A popular speciality material is Quadrant Engineering Plastics Ertalyte material.  Ertalyte has unique properties that allow it to wear like Acetal in wet environments and like Nylon in dry or unlubricated environments.  I like to think of it as giving you the best of both worlds! Ertalyte also is highly resistant to stains generated by things like tomato based sauces and green vegetables.  Ertalyte also has high dimensional stability that meets the demands of the highly precise machining tolerances required in filling pistons and fluid manifolds.

In looking to the future of food processing the demands are heavy. Companies are working hard to keep consumer prices in line while still making a profit. Food processing companies are achieving these goals by improving efficiency and creating better work environments. Plastics are an increasingly big part of the solution because their use in parts can improve line speeds, decrease maintenance downtime, and even make for a quieter work environment.

As I look at the Engineering Plastics and High Performance Materials we have here at AIN Plastics I’m pleased to see how they are being used to improve the food processing industry and I’m excited to see the new applications our customers are working on as well as the new materials our suppliers are always working on. If you have an application you’ve been scratching your head over, give us a call. We know there are lots of options and we can help you take some of the guess work out of finding out if Engineering Plastics are right for your application.

Paul Hanson

Sales and Marketing Manager
DuPont Vespel®
ThyssenKrupp Materials NA
AIN Plastics Division

email: paul.hanson@thyssenkrupp.com

For more information on Engineering Plastics visit http://www.tkmna.com/tkmna/Products/Plastics/Engineering/index.html

A Little Acrylic Helps a Scout Become an Eagle Scout

AIN Plastics, a Division of ThyssenKrupp Materials NA. It sounds huge doesn’t it? Well, it is. ThyssenKrupp Materials NA is part of a global company that includes divisions for aerospace, elevators, materials services and much more. But there is also a local side to all of this. AIN Plastics Division has local branches throughout the U.S. and each of those branches provides materials across the U.S. but just as often, they do within their local community. Sales reps are in each area assisting customers personally, and of course these are the communities we live our lives in. Although we do projects and events that the entire company takes part in, our local branches don’t stop at that and say good enough. AIN Plastics  local branches, like many local businesses  enjoy doing events to help improve the community they are a part of. Whether it’s helping out the local school robotics team, donating time at the local food bank, or doing a roadside beautification project, you will find our branches are out getting together and doing things to make a difference in their community.

Recently I was talking with Terry Tewell, Branch Manager for AIN Plastics in Lancaster, PA about a potential new project. As we talked he also shared a project his team helped with earlier this year. Terry said it was a donation of materials, but what really struck the whole team was what it really meant to donate clear acrylic to a young Boy Scout and all that one simple act to us meant to him. Below is the letter the AIN Plastics Lancaster team received back from now Eagle Scout, Derian Erb.

Dear AIN Plastics,

On May 8th, 2013 I was awarded the Rank of Eagle Scout. I would like to personally than you for your donation of three sheets of pled- glass. Without it, my project would not have been completed. As you can see; along with your donation, it took 5 months and over 230 man hours to build and install 2 information kiosks at the Blue Rock Boat Launch along the Susquehanna River.

The purpose of my project was to build information kiosks along the Susquehanna River to assist boaters, hunters, fishermen, and bird enthusiasts in providing updated changes in the PA laws regarding the use of the river for fish and fowl in connection with the PA Fish and Boat Commission.

Because of your donation, support of Boy Scouts and a belief in me and this project, what I learned is immeasurable. This experience has taught me the full extent of how to manage a complete project plan from start to finish. Even though you do projects in High School, nothing can prepare you for the workload of this. At the time I was the Senior Patrol Leader (the highest leadership position in my Troop) and thought I knew how to lead. Boy was I wrong, my confidence, leadership and communication skills (which in my mind were good) greatly developed over the course of guidance, writing a check, writing and mailing a formal letter, soliciting donations and hosting fundraisers, project labor, and lastly; I greatly improved my ability of talking over the phone. I learned a lot throughout this project which I know helped prepare to better me in life.

 

Thank you for your support,

Sincerely Yours in Scouting,

Darian Erb, Eagle Scout – Troop 267

 

Photo---Erb-Eagle-Scout-11-13Photo---Erb-Eagle-Scout-02-11-13

It’s great to do big events. But I’m happy to be part of a company that also values the local side of life and the the things we can do in our individual communities that might make a big difference for someone in their life. Best wishes to Eagle Scout, Derian Erb. We know you have a great future ahead of you!

 

See you in the blogosphere again soon!

Lisa Anderson

Marketing Manager
ThyssenKrupp Materials, NA
AIN Plastics Division

 

How Sales Reps Help You Find the Right Plastic Material

Have you set down with a plastics sales person only to find your sales rep hits

you with question after question about your application? Why is that?

More Questions? I just want some plastic!

More Questions? I just want some plastic!

Good sales people will ask probing questions about what you need, but in our busy days this may sometimes seem annoying or even invasive to a customer.  If you’ve ever wondered “why is this sales person all up in my business, I just need some plastic,” rest assured there is often a valid reason for all those questions, not just nosiness on the part of your sales rep.

Some terms are standard to a market or industry; others may be subjective or open to interpretation.  Just like a game of catch phrase two people may describe the same thing but in a different way.  In this series of blog posts I’m going to address some frequent questions and terms; not as a vocabulary lesson but rather a basic overview as a communication tool to help when talking to a plastics sales representative.

Plastics-Triangle

The plastics triangle gives an overview of the basic types of plastics. For more about plastic types click here.

Plastics may often look and feel alike, but, in reality, there are nearly as many different varieties and formulations of plastics as there are uses of them.  A benefit of purchasing from a distributor is that they stock hundreds of types of plastics from numerous manufactures in their facilities so one of the things a sales rep can do is to help customers pin point which plastic it is they really need.

 

Question and Answer is the simplest form of two-way communication.

One of the best ways to identify the material a user needs is by asking questions, in particular regarding the application.  Often this will narrow down the possibilities tremendously.  The material request that probably makes anyone in the polymer/plastics business cringe most is- “You know it’s plastic, just the regular kind.”  By inquiring as to the intended use of the item (application) a competent sales person can at least direct the customer to a category of materials from which to choose.

Questions that help select the right plastic material…
What is the intended use of this plastic material?

Is the application Static or Dynamic?
Is the application Structural or Wear?
These are all snazzy terms used to define if an item is going to be stationary/immobile or if it will be moving.  The answer to this question will likely lead toward one of two classifications of thermoplastics; Amorphous or Crystalline. Looking at structural vs. wear means looking at the stress or friction a part might be under when its in use.

Friction is the resistance that one surface encounters when moving along another surface. A part that does not move, may still come into contact with one that does (mating parts or rollers are good examples). The friction may cause wear and it can also be a source of increased heat.

A particular set of properties might be more or less crucial to a given application, we do not engineer said applications but rather give you the best tools and guidance to do so!

Lin Poulin
Telemarketing Manager
ThyssenKrupp Materials NA
AIN Plastics Division

 

Citations for this blog post:

American Chemistry Council.  Professor Plastic: How Many Type of Plastics are There?  Post 2012/01/ Quadrant Engineering Plastic Products. Design and Fabrication Reference Guide
Ensinger. Ensinger essentials, Technical know-how for plastic applications
International Association of Plastic Distributors. IAPD, Introduction to Plastics, a Training Manual