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 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.

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Engineered Plastics Solutions – PEEK

When it comes to engineered plastics solutions PEEK is right near the top. In fact, at thyssenkrupp Engineered Plastics we give PEEK stock shapes Super Hero Status because of it’s multiple “Super Powers” which include:

  • Excellent Impact Strength
  • Very high continuous working temperature, up to 482˚F
  • Great resistance to steam, perfect for autoclave
  • Good wear and abrasion resistance, can be enhanced with fillers
  • Able to absorb high doses of gamma radiation
  • Great upgrade from PTFE
  • Low smoke and toxic gas release  
  • Carries a UL94 V-O Rating

In addition to the many features and benefits of PEEK plastic, this material gets even better when you factor in the variations and grades of PEEK. Fillers aid in enhancing specific properties and grades can help meet specific requirements like FDA while a general grade may cost a little less. These can allow you to dial in and get the biggest bang for your dollar and ultimately have a part that truly fits the needs of your particular application.

  • PEEK Is Available In Grades to Fit Your Specific Needs
  • General Purpose Grade 
  • (Unfilled) Exhibits high purity, high toughness, and high elongation
  • FDA Compliant Grade
  • For high temperature food applications
  • Bearing Grade (HPV)
  • (Carbon Fiber Reinforced with Graphite and PTFE)
  • Life Science Grades
  • (Approved for USP and ISO 10993-1)
  • Semiconductor Grade
  • (SEMITRON® MP370) Use in Test Sockets and Wafer Cones
When you are looking to replace metal parts or improve the performance of a plastic part ask us if PEEK might be a good alternative. While its true that, as you move toward the top of the triangle, engineering plastics and high performance materials may have an initial higher cost, but upon closer analysis many customer have found the benefits far outweigh the cost and, in the long run they find savings and value through improved part life performance and more.

REACH Compliant ABS Plastic

The Case of the REACH Compliant ABS Plastic –

As the Quality & Compliance Manager for thyssenkrupp Engineered Plastics, my department receives many requests from our engineering plastics customers for declarations of regulatory compliance to REACH, RoHS, Conflict Minerals etc. As we fulfill those requests we look for ways to improve our quality and service. We also believe it is important to share knowledge to help the growing audience of engineered plastics users. On one recent occasion during our due diligence process, for a requirement on General Purpose ABS our quality team found that all of the components used to produce GP ABS are not traceable; therefore the material manufacture was unable to provide a declaration of compliance for the product. However, the story for the ABS customer has a happy ending. As a distributor of engineering plastic stock shapes we work with numerous manufactures. As a result of those relationships we were able to provide a virgin grade ABS in which all elements of the product were traceable so the customer was able to get an ABS plastic that met the REACH and RoHS regulatory requirement.

If you research materials online you may not know if a plastic like ABS will meet specific requirements. The ABS listed may come from a variety of manufacturers and may or may not be a virgin grade. So if you know up front when REACH, RoHS, or other regulatory requirements must be met you can ask your distributor the question before you buy. In the ABS example, by confirming compliance requirements needed for our customers at the quoting stage we are able to ensure a virgin grade ABS is quoted and that the manufacturer could supply the declaration of compliance for the product because the components used to produce the Virgin grade product are traceable.

You may not always need a REACH compliant material, but when you do, having a working relationship with a distributor can be a valuable asset. As a distributor we have access to materials from many different manufacturers and with a long history in engineering plastics we understand the importance of meeting REACH and RoHS regulatory requirements.  We are happy to assist you in sourcing engineering plastics and making sure you get the specific requirements including REACH, RoHS, Conflict Minerals and many more that you need to be competitive in the global market.

More About REACH and RoHS

REACH is a regulation of EU, adopted to improve the protection of human health and environment from risks that can be posed by chemicals.

RoHS stands for Restriction of Hazardous Substances.  It is an EU Directive that restricts the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic products.  There are currently 10 restricted substances on this list that include  lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and diisobutyl (DIBP).

Conflict Minerals Rule a provision of the Dodd-Frank Act: The aim of this act is to cut off funding sources for armed rebel groups in the DRC. It requires manufacturers producing products that contain certain minerals to conduct supply chain audits and disclose if those minerals originated in the DRC or adjoining companies.

Debbie Shunk

Quality & Compliance Manager
Engineered Plastics


Are you interested in ABS Plastic? Learn more about ABS on our online catalog.

Summer Interns Get Hands on Experience at tkEP


Every summer thyssenkrupp Engineered Plastics takes on summer interns and the summer of 2017 is no exception. This year we are fortunate to have two exceptionally talented students, Jovan Sanson and Kristy Lazarowicz.

In their time here at tkEP each one will be working within their chosen field of study to get real world experience you can’t get in a classroom. For us, we look forward to the fresh ideas and tools they bring with them from all their recent classroom experience.

Jovan is from the Toledo, Ohio area where he is studying professional sales at the University of Toledo’s College of Business. Jovan says he wanted to attend U of T because they have an excellent program, but also because he can continue to contribute to his local community. He went onto explain his involvement on campus through multiple organizations where he has been recognized for his commitment to leadership and service at a local and national level. He is currently in the process of creating a student organization that gives back to the Toledo community by going into inner city high schools to teach about professional skills that are needed for the work force.

When asked why he chose to study professional sales Jovan explained that this career path will,  “allow me to combine my passion for business and love for service. This passion motivated me to participate in The University of Toledo’s Invitational Sales Competition, in which I placed 4th out of 30 sophomores and freshmen from around the nation. Making a sale excites me, although finding solutions to a customer’s problem through detailed listening and critical thinking…this is at the heart of what makes me ecstatic about a career in professional sales.”

Kristy Lazarowicz is a senior currently attending Oakland University. Her area of study is Human Resources and in her time here at tkEP she will be tasked with developing a formal training program for new hires in the Sales Department. Kristy says she came to study Humans Resources through “a lot of soul searching. In all the different areas of study I looked at I realized that what I wanted most was to do something that helped people within business and helped businesses reach their goals.” Kristy went onto say “When I first came across the thyseenkrupp Engineered Plastics internship ad I just smiled because this was everything that I hoped for. I had a background in training and wanted to work for a global company that gave me lots of opportunity. I am now the thyssenkrupp Engineered Plastics new Training Intern.” As an outdoor person Kristy is looking forward to the tkActive activities the company participates in throughout the summer.

Please join us in welcoming Kristy and Jovan here to tkEP. We look forward to the new things they will bring to everyone and to sharing the knowledge we all have of the plastics industry.

Engineering Plastic Shapes Trade Names


Engineering Plastics Trade Names – The Searchable Guide

Trade Names for engineering plastics have been created by pretty much every manufacturer. While these trade names can be helpful because you know exactly who’s material you are getting, they can also be confusing.
Take Acetal for example. In our research we found 20 different names for acetal plastic shapes. Some of these names are for acetal homopolymers, some for copolymers and some are filled while others are unfilled.

Manufacturers often state that their specific material has a feature or characteristic that varies from other manufacturers. This might
be due to a process or particular version of resin they use in producing their plastic, among other things. For these reasons engineers and designers who have tested and researched might also specify a specific trade name or engineering plastic for their application. They are trusting this particular plastic to perform as they have planned for in their design and testing and use of the same type of material by a different manufacture may cause inconsistent results and lead to reduced part life or even failure.

To help all of us out with this huge list of names, we decided why not create a searchable table we can all refer to when we need to figure out exactly which engineering plastic goes by which name.

We consider this a living document so we will go back and update from time to time as we learn more trade names for engineering plastics. If you would like to download one to hang up next to your desk, we have also created a pdf you can download. Full disclosure – this is a 4 page document but it groups the engineering plastic trade names under the type of material and its color coded so it’s pretty easy to search quickly.

Engineering Plastics Trade Names – The Printable Guide

Common Engineering Plastic Trade Names 
ROYALITE®High Impact, Fire Rated
Acetron GPUltraform Low Porosity Acetal
Acetron NSLubricant Filled
Delrin® AFPTFE / Teflon Filled
HPV 13PTFE / Teflon Filled
Tecaform HPV 13PTFE-Filled
POMALUX® SDStatic Dissipative
POMALUX® SD-AAnti-Static, Copolymer Non-carbon alloy
POMALUX® CN-PCoductive Polypropylene Carbon Powder Filled
SEMITRON® ESD 225Static Dissipative
Tecaform® SDStatic Dissipative
SUSTARIN® HUltraform Low Porosity Acetal
TURCITE® ATeflon Filled, turquoise color
TURCITE® XTeflon Filled, red color
Celcon® M25Medical Grade
Acrylic Sheet
Acrylite ARAbrasive Resistant
Acrylite FFContinuously Manufactured
Acrylite GPCell Cast
AcrysteelCell Cast Medium Impact
Chemcast®Cell cast
Crylex®High Impact
Duraplex ®High Impact
EXCELON®Tubes, Rods, Profiles
IMPLEX®High Impact
KYDEX®Extruded PVC/Acrylic Alloy
Lucite® LCast
Lucite® S-A-RCoated Cast
PLEXI-VIEW®Cast and Extruded Mirror
TK-ACMirror, Aircraft Grade
POLY 76®Aerospace Qualified MIL-P-8184
POLY 84®Aerospace Qualified MIL-P-8184
POLY II®Aerospace Qualified MIL-P-8184
SOLACRYL®Clear sheet for tanning shields
ECTFE (Ethylene-Chlorotrifluoroethylene)
Nylon 6/6
Elastalon®Rubber Modified
Tecamid® STSuper Tough
Tecast® 6PALOil Filled
HYDLAR® ZKevlar / Nylon 6/6
HYDLAR® ZMKevlar / Nylon 6/6
HYDLAR® ZTKevlar / PTFE / Nylon 6/6
MC901Heat Stabilized Light Blue
MC907Unfilled FDA, Natural
MINLONMineral / Glass Reinforced
NYCAST XHAHeat Stabilized
NYCAST/612 VSCast Nylon 612
NYLOILOil Impregnated
Tecamid® MDS
Tecast 6PAMMD Filler
NYLATRON® GSM BlueMD Filler and Oil, Dark Blue
NYLATRON® NSExtruded with Fillers
Tecamid®Extruded with Fillers
SUSTAMID® 12Extruded Nylon 12
SUSTAMID® 6Cast Nylon 6
SUSTAMID® 6/6Extruded Nylon 6/6
Tecamid® 6/6
ZYTEL® STSuper Tough
PET Polyethylene
PHENOLAB®Canvas and Linen Phenolics
PHENOLKRAFTPaper Phenolics and Laminates
Cyrolon® ARAbrasion Resistant
Cryolon® ZX
TECANET® GF2020% Glass Filled
HYDEX® 4301
HYDEX® 4320 BKBlack 20% Graphite Filled
LEXGARD®Polycarbonate Composite
Makrolon® ARAbrasion Resistant
POLYGAL®Structured Sheet
TUFFAK® XLWeatherable
ZELUX® SD-PV0Static Dissipative, Carbon Powder Filled
HYDEX® 4101PBT Polybutylene Terephthalate
HYDEX® 4101LPBT Polybutylene Terephthalate Lubricant Filled
HITECH®High Density
ALPOLIC®Polyethylene Core with Aluminum Reflective Surface
SANALITE®Cutting Board Stock
Polyimide (PI)
Duratron 15015% Graphite Filled
Duratron 40040% Graphite Filled
Duratron HPhigh Purity Grade
Meldin 702115% Graphite Filled
Meldin 702240% Graphite Filled
Meldin® 7001Unfilled
Meldin® 721115% Graphite Filled / 10% PTFE
SINTIMID VVarious additives
SINTIMID® TPolyimide-imide
SINTIMID® VPolyimide-imide
Tecator® TI5013Polyimide-imide Solvay Resin
Tecator® TI5031Polyimide-imide, PAI Bearing Grade
Tecator® XP142TPolyimide-imide (PAI) 30% Glass Filled
Torlon®Polyimide-imide (PAI) Solvay Resin
Tecator®Polyimide-imide Solvay Resin
DuPont™ Vespel®DuPont
DuPont™ Vespel® SP-1Unfilled
DuPont™ Vespel® SP-2115% Graphite Filled
DuPont™ Vespel® SP-21115% Graphite Filled, 10% Teflon Filled
DuPont™ Vespel® SP-2240% Graphite Filled
DuPont™ Vespel® SP-315% Molybdenum Disulfide Filled
PPS (Polyphenylene Sulfide)
Tecatron® GF40Glass Filled
Tecatron® PVXBearing Grade
Tecafine®FDA, USDA
PROPYLUX® SD-AStatic Dissipative, Non-Carbon Alloy
PROPYLUX® CN-FConductive Carbon Fiber Filled
PROPYLUX® CN-PConductive Carbon Powder Filled
PROTEC® FR CP6Flame retardant, UL 94-VO/UL94-5VA
SOLIDUR®UHMW / Polypropylene
Polystone® P
HYDEX® 202Extruded Clear
HYDEX® 302Extruded Opaque
SEMITRON® ESD 500Static Dissipative
PVDF (Polyvinylidene Fluoride)
PUR-FLO®High Purity Pipe, Valves, Fittings
PVDF CN-FConductive Kynar, Carbon Fiber Filled
SOLEF®PVDF / Fluoropolymer
Rigid PVC & CPVC
Celtec®Expanded PVC
Clear-40Clear schedule 40 PVC Pipe
EXCELON R-2000Tube
EXCELON R-4000Schedule 40 Tube
KYDEX®Extruded PVC/Acrylic Alloy
Tecason® SPolysulfone
RADEL APolyethersulfone
RADEL RPolyphenylsulfone
HYDEX 6201Polysulfone
Ceram-PShatter-resistant ceramic alternative
TIVAR® 1000
TIVAR® Dryslide
TIVAR® ESD / EC / CleanStat
TIVAR® UV Resistant
TIVAR® Oil Filled
TIVAR® Ceram P®
TIVAR® DockGuard
TIVAR® PolySteel
LENNITE CN-PConductive, Carbon Powder Filled
POLYSTEEL®Filled sheet for paper industry
SOLIDUR®UHMW / Polypropylene
ULTRA POLY ARCross-linked
ULTRA POLY ARSCross-linked lubricant filled
ULTRA POLY MPReprocessed
ULTRA POLY NNatural Virgin Grade
SEMITRON® ESD 410Static Dissipative
Hydel PEI-7
Duratron® PEI


Another great place to research plastics for machining, whether its replacing a traditional metal or finding that just right set of characteristics for a particular application is one at our catalog or call us toll free at 877.246.7700. tkEP has a dedicated staff of plastics professionals that can assist you with material selection.


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

Stress Relieving of Engineering Plastics

Stress relieving of engineering plastics, also known as annealing, can play an important role in the quality of machinable plastics and machined plastic parts. Many of the high quality materials including engineering plastics and high performance materials are run through a specific annealing process by the manufacturer to reduce internal stress in their plastic shapes that occurs naturally through the extrusion or molding process. Stress relieving of engineering plastics helps to provide machinists and fabricators with the best possible dimensional stability and ease of machining and fabricating.

What Causes Stress in Engineering Plastics?

The above photo shows the affect of stress from the manufacturing process.

Plastic rod that has not been stress relieved cut through the centerline

Plastics that are formed through extrusion into stock plastic shapes are pressed or pushed through a profile die to create the shape. The stress that is introduced into the material during extrusion is not relieved in this part of the process because the plastic resin sets up as soon as it comes out of the extruder. Instead the stress remains in the plastic. The tell tail signs of stress in plastics are:

  • Warping and distortion
  • Reduced physical properties
  • Cracking
  • Changes in finished part dimensions

However, plastics machinists can also do annealing as part of their machining process. Depending on the particular plastic material, a specific cycle of heating and cooling the plastic shape or the machined plastic part is done by using an annealing oven that allows for precise temperature and timing control.  When this process is done properly it can enhance the lifespan of machined plastic parts. The image to the right is an example of a stock shape that has not had any stress relieving (annealing) performed on it and what happens when it is cut down the centerline.

Machining Practices that can help Reduce Stress Build-Up

Internal Stress caused by machining a plastic shape into a part can also be an issue. It can harm the integrity of a part and lead to premature part failure and reduced performance of plastic parts. The best guide on this is the manufacturer instructions and guides for the type of material you are machining. For example acetal performs very differently from nylon etc. But there are a few general causes of stress created during the machining process that you can be on the lookout for:

  1. Be sure your tools are sharp, razor sharp
  2. Make sure the tool is designed for the job. Make sure it is the right angle, size type of material
  3. Watch feed and speed rates to ensure you aren’t allowing excessive heat to build up
  4. Coolants can be used, but be aware of how a coolant may affect a specific type of plastic. If you cannot use a liquid coolant, air cooling might be an option
  5. If you have highly critical dimensions your part must meet. Consider machining these final dimensions with a light cutting after annealing a rough shape
  6. Are you balancing? If machining multiple sides try to plan on balancing the machining of each side to be as equal as possible. Balancing the machining can help to prevent centerline warping

Annealing plastics can directly affect the quality of your finished plastic parts. You can optimize the integrity and dimensional stability of your machined plastics and reduce the potential expansion and/or shrinkage of the plastic. If and when you do an annealing process there are a couple of things to keep in mind for that as well:

  1. Do you have very thin or thick sections? This can alter the heating and holding time needed
  2. Fixture parts in the annealing oven to help prevent distortion
  3. Rod reacts in a radial fashion while sheet most often has curling or flatness issues
  4. Polycarbonate and polysulfone are very sensitive to stress cracking
  5. Do you have screw threads? The stress from the screw partnered with machining stress can add up to shortened part life. Reducing the stress from machining can help boost part life by eliminating the machining stress

Which Engineering Plastics can Benefit the Most From an Annealing Process?

While some plastics may not need stress relieving there are a few engineering plastics that nearly always benefit from a post-machining annealing process. These include:

  • Ultem®
  • PEI
  • Torlon®
  • PAI
  • Transparent materials post-machining annealing can help reduce or minimize stress crazing

Whether or not you opt to stress-relieve an engineering plastic involves any number of factors and a talk with your plastics expert at your distributor or manufacturer can go a long way in helping you to make the best from your engineering plastics.

To learn more about engineering plastics and engineered plastics solutions visit our online catalog at

For questions about engineering plastics or how to work with them please contact us.


Covestro News – Makrolon® SK Meets Miami-Dade Building Code

Covestro, a strategic supplier to thyssenkrupp Engineered Plastics and a leading manufacturer of polycarbonate materials has announced that they received certification listings for their Makrolon® SK polycarbonate per the International Building Code (IBC) and Miami-Dade regulations. Miami-Dade is known for having one of the most stringent building codes in the nation. Materials meeting this code must undergo a series of tests to ensure the material can withstand the strong hurricane force winds and debris that come with those storms.

Makrolon® SK Skylight made from Makrolon SK

In a statement from Covestro, the manufacturer of Makrolon®, they stated, ICC-ES Report 2728 evaluated Makrolon SK’s material specifications against 2006, 2009 and 2012 building codes. Specifically, Makrolon® SK light transmission, surface burning characteristics and durability properties were assessed for code compliance.
Miami-Dade NOA 16.0124.01 states Makrolon® SK complies with the stringent requirements of the Florida Building Code including high velocity hurricane zone.
Note: this is a component approval and does not include an evaluation of structural performance in a system. 
Covestro has more details published on their site. For more details of regulatory compliance of Covestro products, please visit: or contact Tech Service at
Makrolon® SK sheet is optimized to diffuse and distribute light while maintaining high light transmission, making it the material of choice for daylighting applications by architects and building professionals everywhere. Makrolon® SK is available with a UV enhanced cap layer in both clear prismatic as well as HD smooth and prismatic.
Makrolon® SK can be drape formed or thermoformed for use in contoured applications such as domed skylights. In either flat or contoured geometries, it has higher impact resistance compared to acrylic or glass. Makrolon® SK has a Limited Product Warranty against breakage, yellowing, and loss of light transmission. The terms of the warranty are available upon request.
thyssenkrupp Engineered Plastics is a stocking distributor of Makrolon® and other Covestro polycarbonate materials. With 11 branches in the US tkEP is able to provide Makrolon® materials and other engineering plastics efficiently to your location. We can also provide services including custom cutting and more. For information or to request a quote visit our online catalog at: or contact the tkEP branch nearest you by calling 877.246.7700.

Extraneous Detection and Thermoplastics – An Industry Experience of the Customer


Thanks to Brad Nelson, a Quality Manager in the Food Industry for sharing his experience on our blog. Recalls in the food industry can cause massive losses and even worse, cause harm if people, pets or livestock are directly affected before a food contamination issue is caught. In other industries lines can be shut down and safety can be an issue. As a distributor of engineering plastics we think there is often no better way to learn than by hearing the stories of those who are willing to share their experiences and what they learned so we truly appreciate Brad sharing his experience of engineered plastic solutions with us on our blog. Knowledge of materials is more than the question of how much, it’s a question of what is the right material for an application.

Food PartBrad’s Story –

ABOUT 5 Years ago, there were a series of events that transformed some of my thinking within the Food Manufacturing Industry.  While working as a Quality Manager within the industry, we had come to find that we were having premature failures of some hanger bearings in a variety of screw-type augers.  (See image) Unfortunately the mode of detection came from an employee who witnessed the plugging up of extruder die heads.   These, of course, had been running for several days by that point, and we had no idea when the thermoplastic ‘bearings’ had begun to melt, extract themselves from their metal housings, and become a potential food safety issue.  After a long and arduous investigation, there were several hundred thousand pounds of product that were on hold and subsequently destroyed.  As one would expect, senior management was extremely concerned about repeat issues.  Through several rounds of research, we determined that the primary failure mode was a maintenance practice issue, in that they were misaligning the screws creating a slight wobble that would wear the bearing faster than normal and then begin a spin that then would heat and melt the thermoplastic.  Round one of preventative action: let’s change our maintenance practices.  Worked great!

For a time… then we came to discovery number 2.  Again, we found ourselves in a similar predicament of product destruction and direct emails from executives to “figure this out”.  Not that that helped, but it certainly adds to the stress.  We approached our supplier of the hanger bearings about different materials to use – we discovered that they were experimenting with various metal impregnations at different levels.  We were very willing to be the guinea pig at that point, and gave them the green light to manufacture various levels of impregnated material into the resin. I was a skeptic, and a fairly harsh one at that.  I made the team run through a Probability of Detection trial on various detection devices (Metal Detectors & X-ray) to see what size, shape, and mass we could detect at 100%.  We then compared this data to our MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) data on the bearings.  We managed to find a happy medium of detectability and of life-length.

The rest of the story you ask?  Well, we found that fixing the screw alignment was only part of the failure mode for the assemblies, and found other mechanical changes necessary when it came to the longevity of the plastic components.  But, before we knew it, we discovered something else.  This time, it proved to be our metal detector on the end of the processing line.  A couple of shifts had gone by with Maintenance trying to ‘fix’ the problem of the continued rejections.  The report had surfaced in our daily production meeting.  I questioned it several times; only to receive the response back that “we didn’t find anything”.  I decided to go look for myself, and sure enough, I took some of the rejected material (> 200 lbs. worth) over to our off-line sensitized metal detector.  Shazam, I found this blueish powder in the reject bucket after just a few scoops.  Guess where that came from?  You guessed it, the hanger bearing assemblies further upstream.

Lessons learned: ‘detectable’ thermoplastics work, and they work great!  Design and Food Safety Planning are the keys to success.  Advising and training your plant floor on what to look for in failure modes is critical.  For the few pennies / dollars more per unit you pay upfront, you avoid many a headache in the future!

Guest Blogger
Brad Nelson
Quality Manager

We hope to bring more stories like this in the future. As more engineering plastics like the detectable materials Brad talked about are developed we need to understand how these can really work as part of the whole. How are engineering plastics affected by the materials around them, how can quality and maintenance teams quickly find potential part failures, and how these amazing materials can bring safer more reliable conditions. Keep up with us here on our blog and check out our online catalog at On this site you can easily find items like Ultra Detectable materials, the latest in FDA compliant engineered plastics solutions for the food processing industry as well as many other well known plastics plus articles on industries and more.


Plastics and Industry – What Keeps You Up At Night?

In this blog post we are not going to tell you about the latest and greatest plastic innovation. We are not going to tell you what you should buy, or that this material is the best ever. We are going to ask you one question about your job – what keeps you up at night?

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Does your machined plastic part have chipped edges or other defects?
  • Are your plastic parts not wearing as long as you think they should or could?
  • Are you new to machining plastics?
  • Do you have a part that is a complex shape?
  • Do you need to solve a quality issue at your facility?
  • Have you heard that plastic parts can reduce environmental noise and you are wondering which one to try?
  • Is the possibility of a food recall at your facility keeping you up at night?
  • Why do I get different results when I’m thermoforming the same kind of plastic in the same way?
  • Can I bond plastics with adhesives?

Chances are, someone on our team has seen one or even all of these questions during their years of working in sales, machine shops or manufacturing plants, and they would love to share their knowledge with you and your team. After all, our best success is when you, our customer succeeds. When an engineered plastic solution doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work for anyone…not us and not the supplier who makes the plastic.

At tkEP we know we don’t have all the answers, but we have people with relationships and resources and we are always looking to use those to improve our knowledge of engineered plastics solutions. We train with our suppliers, we train each other, and we provide training to you, our customer. We don’t think knowledge should be a secret, but rather something to share so we can all do better. So, even though we don’t have all the answers, we do have a dedicated team of people with decades of experience working in the plastics industry and we are passionate about our specialty, engineering plastics, and finding engineered plastics solutions.

This past year tkEP furthered their commitment to engineering plastics education when the company added a large training room as part of it’s new Auburn Hills facility. Since it opened in April the Auburn Hills branch has been host to employees, suppliers, customers, and students from places like the University of Toledo. The room features a large screen, wi-fi and ample space for everyone to gather and get hands on experience with engineered plastics, adhesives and more. But our other branch locations don’t let not having a large training room stop them. The tkEP Outside Sales teams enjoy hosting lunch and learn events and open houses for customers at facilities around the country. Lunch and learns are a  great forum for hands on learning with small to medium size groups of people. Customers can delve into topics like best practices for pouring casting urethanes so you can have a successful experience every time. At other times customers need to look at a particular topic like how to avoid food recalls. This was recently the case for Ann-Marie Neideigh (thyssenkrupp Engineered Plastics Outside Sales) who teamed up with Karen DeBard (Ensinger Plastics, pictured below) to bring a Lunch and Learn to a group of food processing professionals who wanted to learn how they can reduce the potential of a food recall. As Ann-Marie noted, “Lunch and learn sessions are a time when we can tailer the training to your needs and bring along our manufacturing partners and together, discuss and answer your questions about those things on your job that keep you up at night!”

In an open forum Ann-Marie and Karen took questions from the customer’s team and discussed materials Ensinger has specifically designed to help reduce food recalls due to contamination during production as well as the basket of plastics available for use in different applications of the food industry. Ann-Marie noted, “the food industry has a lot of very different applications from the hot dry environment of bakeries to the wet harsh environment of processing fresh fruits, meats and more. We really feel one of the best ways we can help our customers sort out all the material options  is to make sure we are all educated on materials and the specifics of applications.  Sitting down and having a conversation over lunch is a great way to do that.” She went on to explain with so many materials available it’s a process to determine exactly what material is just right for an application. Knowing the application details, and what customers need to achieve is a good start. From there we look at all the concerns and find the right balance between performance and cost. There are websites you can search and some new apps that help to narrow down options that can be helpful. But, as a distributor we are able to look quickly across a large number of manufacturers and products, and take into account real life application experience before we settle one one particular answer.

So, what are the questions that keep you up at night? Let us know! We would be happy to set up a Lunch and Learn with your team to answer questions and see what engineered plastics solutions we can help you with,

For more information about engineering plastics visit our library.

To look for specific engineering plastics visit the tkEP online catalog at We are steadily adding new products and plastics information every month.