Tag Archives: ThyssenKrupp Materials NA

Chris Porritt Talks AIN Plastics and TKMNA Talent Program

As a participant in the ThyssenKrupp Materials NA Sales Talent Development Program I am in my third rotation of working at different TKMNA Divisions. My current home is at Copper and Brass sales. I was hired by ThyssenKrupp out of Central Michigan University, where I majored in Law and Economics (Econ. Degree). I learned about ThyssenKrupp through my professional sales and marketing fraternity, Pi Sigma Epsilon. Representatives from ThyssenKrupp Materials NA came to one of our networking nights and I got to speak face to face with Heather Clark, Director of the talent program and Evan Van Buhler about the STDP and the different MBU’s of TKMNA. I was interested in ThyssenKrupp because I knew that it was a huge company where I could grow and develop in-depth knowledge of different industries and have a wide variety of experiences.

The TMX Aerospace Division of ThyssenKrupp Materials NA hired me straight out of CMU and I spent almost three months in Seattle this summer learning about their business. I really enjoyed my time with TMX this summer, and I look forward to heading back to Seattle, once my time in the Talent Program is done, to start my new role with them. For the past two months I have been with the AIN Plastics Division which is based in Madison Heights, Michigan. My experiences with AIN Plastics have been wide-ranging and I have really enjoyed my time working with the team at AIN. During my three months my I spent time with the Inside Sales team, Outside Sales teams at several branches, the Business Development team in Kennesaw, as well as time in the warehouse in Madison Heights and the machine shop in Kennesaw, Georgia. During my rotation with AIN, I have also had various projects that were assigned to me. These include reports on: productivity, consignment, CRM tools, and long-term projects involving the other members of the STDP and our mentor projects. These projects have been invaluable to me, in terms of working on my time-management skills and increasing my knowledge of AIN’s business processes. They have helped me to build skills that I will carry into my new position once I return to TMX Aerospace. Additionally my rotations are giving me a better understanding of ThyssenKrupp Materials NA as a whole company.

Lastly, during my AIN rotation I was fortunate to be invited to take part in their National Sales Meetings and President’s club Awards Banquet where AIN team members are honored for achievements over the past year. It was an amazing experience. I attended Branch Manager meetings where I got to see some of the metrics that are used to gauge AIN Plastics performance each year. From there we all attended breakout sessions where we brainstormed idea’s to save money and increase revenue. I learned a lot from spending time with people who have been with AIN Plastics and in the plastics industry in general for many years. The rest of the time at the National Sales Meeting was spent with representatives from some of our suppliers and then we had the presentations for The President’s Club Awards. I really enjoyed my time at the National Sales Meetings. It was a time where I formed some great relationships with various AIN employees that I know will last into my future years with ThyssenKrupp. (See more about the AIN Plastics NSM and President’s Club Awards)

My time with AIN Plastics has been a wonderfully positivel experience and I can’t say enough about the AIN Plastics team. I could really feel the family atmosphere at the different branches I visited and that is something that you do not see often at companies the size of AIN Plastics. It has been an honor to work with the AIN Plastics team and I look forward to continuing working with AIN and the rest of TKMNA.


Photo---Chris-PorrittChris Porritt
Sales Trainee
TKMNA Sales Talent Program


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 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.

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.

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.

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



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


A Look at Semicon West 2013

This month I attended the Semicon West show in San Franciso, California.  Semicon is the largest industry trade show for the Computer Chip market and all who service it.

Against a backdrop of declining Personal Computer sales and a flat year in the equipment that makes the chips for the PC’s, I was eager to see if this was going to be a good show.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that the industry is not so much contracting as it is instead getting ready for the next “big thing” and there were a few I’d like to highlight here.

The “Internet of Things” Emerges at Semicon West This Year

An interesting concept floating around at Semicon West this year was the emerging “Internet of Things”.  Steve Wigley, VP of Marketing at LTX-Credence, presented in a session where he discussed this topic in some detail.  In a nutshell, more and more things are connecting to the internet!  Many of these “things” communicate thru Radio Frequency (RF) and as items become RF enabled they are void of the need for wires to pass the data around. So look for fewer wires and more devices around your home and office!


Yes, I’d like one trillion sensors please.

One Trillion Sensors!
The term “Trillion Sensors” was also knocked around throughout Semicon West. The term highlights the number of sensors needed to collect the data that is estimated will be computed in our world soon.
Tech giant companies including the likes of Intel are talking about putting as many as 20 billion connected devices into use in the next 5 years.  The number of chips to handle this would be huge, but the number of sensors generating the data is downright mind-boggling. From the perspective of what I do, I can certainly see that these technologies will in crease the need and use of lightweight materials such as DuPont™ Vespel®, and Quadrant Engineering’s PEEK which are currently staples in chip production equipment.

One good example of this emerging technology is your vehicle. Today your car talks to you and tells you when it’s time for a lube job, oil change, or tire rotation.  The next generation of vehicles will have additional sensors that will determine if things like the alignment of your wheels is correct and, if adjustment is needed, the sensor will handle it directly with the factory. It made me think about how technology is changing the face of customer service as well.

Connecting Us for Better Health Care?

Semicon also featured displays showing how circuits can be printed right onto our skin. These breakthroughs in technology show how circuits on skin can hold a variety of possibilities, from monitoring the bodily functions of patients without the use of so many chords and connections to machines, to immediately reporting changes in a patient that may be helpful in a recovery room setting where seconds can make a big difference in survival.

Driving much of this development will be the new “sensors” (see photo on right) designed to gather data.  Each sensor will run through a processor which will take the information and that, in turn, will drive an action like sounding an alarm at the nurse’s station for example.

Semicon West Speaker Looks at Dollars and Market Value. The Message – Mobile Devices Rule!

I have heard it said that mobile devices are now used more often to access the web than traditional computers and Semicon West offered proof of that this time around. In fact, I think I read it in an article I saw on my iPad. A speaker at Semicon noted a new milestone that occurred the week of the convention when the dollar value of semiconductor revenue from mobile devices surpassed the revenue from traditional PC and Notebook computers. So, I it certainly appears the trend toward smaller and more powerful technology will  continue its evolution in coming years and I expect we will see much more of that at next year’s Semicon West.

If you are looking at your calendar for next year. I say be sure to put Semicon West 2014 on it folks. From what I saw at Semicon 2013, the 2014 show will be the dawn of even more new and amazing technology. Attendees will never be thinking “Oh its the same old thing at Semicon West.” On the plastics front, look for more lightweight materials like Semitron MP370 to become popular in the all important test sockets which ensure chips are as perfect as possible. If you haven’t heard of Semitron MP370 yet, check out the overview on our website by clicking here

I for one am already looking forward to seeing what’s in store for next year at Semicon West 2014. Of course I’ll be on the lookout for how plastics are being utilized in this field and I’m sure there will be a good showing of that I won’t want to miss learning about. Will I see you there? If you’d like to learn more about Semicon West, keep tabs on the news for 2014 by visiting their website www.semiconwest.org

Paul Hanson

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

Phone: 770.362.9712



Plastics for Medical Device Applications, Where’s the Innovation?

I began working with Orthopedic medical device manufacturers in the late 90’s .  Back then we had the typical materials for the Orthopedic industry. Those included PPSU, PEI, PP, PE, POM-C and of course UHMW. The applications utilizing these materials were all pretty much the same: provisional trials for knees hips and shoulders, instrumentation handles, impactors, bearings and implants amongst other applications. In many industries we hear about new materials being developed on a regular basis, but in medical it almost seems time is standing still. Where’s the innovation for medical device applications?

Polymer Technologies for Medical Remain Virtually Unchanged

Not a lot has changed over the years on the Polymer side to really catapult plastics into a place up there with the Ti Eli’s and CoCr of their alloy counterparts.  Sure, we’ve seen a nice niche’ for Heat Stabilized Polypropylene used in Surgical Caddies and some filled materials primarily BaSO4 used in PPSU and PEI, so they are radio opaque and are visible under X-Ray. We’ve also seen some of the carbon fiber composites with a PAEK base adopted in a variety of roles from targeting guides to external fixation devices.

Let’s not forget about PEEK either, which has played a significant role in medical devices for the past 15 years.  Unfortunately the majority of the applications for that material are for implants.  Although there have been a variety of other applications using PEEK that are not of the implantable variety,  utilizing PEEK that is approved for 24 hour direct contact with the body has only begun to flourish over the last few years.  PEEK Classix which is approved for human implant up to 30 days has also seen a dramatic rise in popularity not only in Orthopedic, Spine and Trauma applications but dental applications as well.  But Implant Grade PEEK per ASTM  F2026 has really been the most popular of all of the medically approved PEEK variations with spinal cages being far and away the biggest reason for that.

The current state of medical plastics innovations leads to many questions. When is the next generation of FDA approved (Cl. VI/ ISO:10993) polymers going to debut? What will those breakthrough materials be?

Why has it been so long since we have seen innovations in polymer materials for medical use?
– Is it because of the fear of the liability risk?
– Is all the requisite testing that is involved in bringing that kind of innovative polymer to market holding up efforts?
– Have scientists not yet developed a material  that can compete in price and performance to a PEEK or PPSU?
– Will the next generation of polymer be a quantum leap supplanting current materials that have been mainstays in the market like a PPSU?
– Will it offer not only compressive and tensile strengths to compete with our alloy counterparts but the elastic modulus and lightweight performance that the market demands?  I for one, am hopeful that will be the case.

On Another Related Note, Let’s Talk About how the FDA may Be Impacting the Development of Materials for Medical Applications

In July/August of 2012 the FDA submitted new guidance for “Acceptance and Filing Reviews of Pre-Market Approval (PMA) Acceptance” for Medical Devices and in Dec 2012 / January2013 this new guidance was implemented.  With the new guidance the FDA has put greater emphasis on qualifying that all materials are safe and effective in the way they are used in the application. Plastics being a major component used in many surgical procedures are now required to be fully qualified where they may not have been in the past.   Some of the main concerns of plastics being used is not necessarily what the chemical composition or molecular chain is, but rather, what exactly is in them?  We know that PPSU is used in medical procedures and can have direct body contact of bone, blood and tissue .  The real question beyond that is what makes that material blue, brown or green?
– Are the compounds that turn that naturally amber PPSU blue,  safe and effective?
– Does that material meet the FDA requirements for percentages by weight and have those specific compounds and percentages been tested to show they are safe for the general public?
The onus of proving these things out  does not fall in the laps of the FDA it falls in the laps of the device manufacturers, the material suppliers, the shapes producers and the resin manufacturers.   The device market has good reason to be concerned as well.  They want to ensure they are putting out safe, reliable and effective products.  The last thing they need is a product recall or worse a class action lawsuit. We know that plastics provide many benefits including lighter weight, wear resistance, chemical resistance and more and as I see developments in other industries I look toward the future of new plastics for medical devices with great hope and I hope you will too.

Dave Piperi

Sales and Marketing Manager
Medical Materials
ThyssenKruppMaterials NA
AIN Plastics Division

To learn more about AIN Plastics and our materials for medical applications please visit our website or contact our Medical Technologies Group toll free: 877.770.6337.

email: david.piperi@thyssenkrupp.com



Machined or Molded Plastic Parts – What Are the Differences?

A plastic part by any other name would still be a plastic part, wouldn’t it? Yes it would. But the way those plastic parts produced; either by molding plastic parts or by machining plastic parts are dramatically different. Those differences in the process of making plastic parts can result in big differences in lead times, cost, and quality. Below are things to consider when looking at how to manufacture plastic parts and some answers that may help you to decide.

How Many Plastic Parts do you Need to Make?

MOLDED: Molded Plastic parts have been around since the first machine for the process was patented in 1872 by John Wesley Hyatt and his brother Isaiah so its easy to see how this became one of the standard processes for creating plastic parts. Mold machines are used to run mass produced plastic parts from tooth brushes to auto parts and everything in-between. Creation of the mold(s) costs thousands of dollars, requires time up front to make the mold(s) and the molds require maintenance over their life and storage when not in use.

MACHINED: Depending on the project, volumes from 25 to 5,000 parts can often be machined more cost effectively than molded. For small parts, you may have a lower final cost by using high performance screw machines that can run circles around expensive multi-cavity molds. This means shorter lead times than molded parts and little up front cost. Machined parts don’t require secondary machining to clean a part once it is ejected from the mold.

Will You Need to Make Changes to Your Part Design?

MOLDED: Parts made from molds require that the mold be made first which is more time and expense up front. In addition a mold will require maintenance over it’s service life and storage space when it isn’t in use. Changes to a mold are costly in terms of time and dollars to either change or make a new mold, depending on the changes needed.

MACHINED: Machined parts allow for shorter lead times and flexibility in making design changes because they are run directly from a CAD file. Overall, machining can be used to create very complex parts including parts with undercuts and thick walls and the materials are more homogenous across the length and width of the part.

How Important Are Tight Tolerances and Dimensional Stability?

MOLDED: Every plastic behaves differently. But in general plastic parts made from molds may not be as dimensionally stable as machined parts. There is more chance the parts will not be as homogeneous across the length and width of a part. The molding process is not ideal for large parts or where there are thick walls. Tolerances of +/- .005″ are typically the best that can be achieved in molded parts. This compares to +/- .001″ for machined parts.

MACHINED: Many of today’s high performance engineering plastics, such as DuPont Vespel, PEEK, PBI or others can take extreme temperatures of 250 or even 450 degrees and remain dimensionally stable. Many of these materials are also chemical resistant. Additionally machined parts have less internal stress and tolerances of +/- .001″ or better can be achieved.

How Large or Complex Are Your Parts?

MOLDED: Small to mid-size plastic parts can work well. Large volumes can be run fast. But large plastic parts with thick walls, or complicated undercuts can be an issue for mold design. Materials cooling at different  temperatures within a mold can result in more internal stress and a less homogeneous material. Undercuts can pose a mold design challenge with how to release the part from the mold. Plastic parts fresh from the mold may require secondary machining to remove flash, parting lines, or ejector marks, adding to production time and cost.

MACHINED: Large parts and parts with complicated undercuts can be made quickly and efficiently by machining processes. Thick cross sections will have higher, more consistent mechanical properties. Again, because there is no mold to be made, the up front investment and lead time is much shorter. Machining also handles threading extremely well and machined parts will have no parting line, ejector marks, or flash. The availability and selection of engineering plastics means many prototypes can be made in production-equivalent materials. Plastics are more often being found to be a good alternative to metals. They can often be machined on the same equipment and many high temperature engineering plastics offer features such as lightweight, flexibility, high strength, resistance to corrosion, excellent durability, high heat tolerance and chemical resistance. Some plastics, such as those for bearings even require little or no lubrication making them even more cost effective on the service end.

The moral of this blog – a plastic part by any other name is still a plastic part but how you get to create that part could make all the difference in the world. Molded plastic parts have their place, but before going down the path of investing in molds it may be worth a little time considering the questions in this blog and determining if molded or machined is the best option.


See you in the blogosphere again soon!

Lisa Anderson

Marketing Manager
ThyssenKrupp Materials, NA
AIN Plastics Division


Understanding Engineering Plastics

This week we decided to bring you a little bit of a different way of looking at engineering plastics. We hope you find this info graphic helpful in determining the differences between various types of engineering plastics and how factors like heat and chemicals can affect these materials.


Extruded or Cast Nylon – Material Testing Shows Differences

If you are a user of Nylon materials do you use extruded or cast nylon? Do you always use one vs. the other? Material testing shows there are differences between extruded and cast nylon materials that may warrant a good look at a Technical Data Sheet before you make your material selection.

The Top 5 Differences between the more traditional extruded nylon and cast nylon materials are:

5 – A cast nylon material inherently has less stress than extruded nylon

4 – Lower moisture absorption gives cast nylon a higher dimensional stability than extruded nylon

3 – The more crystalline structure of cast nylon gives it a higher strength than extruded nylon

2 – Cast nylon is available in smaller diameter rod than extruded nylon is when looking at premium bearing grades

1 – Cast nylon has a 20 degree higher operating temperature than extruded nylon

The table below shows a comparison chart between a typical cast nylon and a typical extruded nylon. In this case we are looking at Property Comparison of Nycast® 6pa – Natural versus Extruded Natural Nylon 6/6 

Property  Units  ASTM Test Method Nycast ® 6 pa Natural Extruded Nylon 6/6
Specific Gravity  g/cm3 D792 1.15-1.17 1.15
Tensile Strength  psi D638 10,000 – 13,500 11,500
Tensile Elongation  % D638 20 – 55 50
Tensile Modulus  psi D638 400,000 – 550,000 425,000
Compressive Strength  psi D695 13,500 – 16,000 12,500
Compressive Modulus  psi D695 325,000 – 400,000 420,000
Flexural Strength  psi D790 15,500 – 17,500 15,000
Flexural Modulus  psi D790 420,000 – 500,000 450,000
Shear Strength  psi D732 10,000 – 11,000 10,000
Notched Izod Impact  ft.lbs./in. D256 0.7 – 0.9 0.6
Hardness, Rockwell  R D785 115 – 125 115
Hardness,  Shore D D2240  78 – 83 NV
Melting Point  deg. F D789/D3418 450 +/- 10 500
Coefficient Of Linear Thermal Expansion  in./in./F D696/E831 6.1 x 10 (-5) 5.5 x 10 (-5)
Deformation Under Load  % D621 0.5 – 2.5 NV
Deflection Temperature:  264 psi deg. F D648 200-400 200
Deflection Temperature:  66 psi deg. F D648 400-430 N/A
Continuous Service Temperature  deg. F 230 210
Intermittent Service Temperature  deg. F 330 NV
Coefficient Of Friction: Dynamic  D1894 0.22
Water Absorbtion – 24 Hours  % D570 0.5-0.6 0.30
Water Absorbtion – Saturation  % D570 5.0-6.0 7
Dielectric Strength  500-600 400
Dielectric Constant 60 Cycles  3.7 3.6
1000 Cycles  3.7 3.6
100,000 Cycles  3.7 3.6

(The facts stated in the above table are based on experiments and information believed to be reliable. No guarantee is made of the accuracy, however, and the products are sold without warranty, expressed or implied, and upon the conditions that purchaser shall conduct their own test to determine suitability for their intended use.)

Although it may not always make sense to choose a cast nylon over an extruded nylon material, characteristics of cast nylons can ultimately mean longer wearing parts and in applications such as bearings, nylon wear pads, or gears, that can mean less downtime of equipment, less maintenance and improved operating costs over time.


See you in the blogosphere again soon!

Lisa Anderson

Marketing Manager
ThyssenKrupp Materials, NA
AIN Plastics Division


Typical Properties of Dupont Vespel® and UL Ratings for Plastics

vespelWhen customers ask us about DuPont™ Vespel® the most often asked question is about UL approvals. The properties of Vespel® are ideal for high heat applications. Does DuPont™ Vespel® meet UL ratings for plastics? If so, which DuPont™ Vespel® meets which UL approval?

DSC_1986_composite RodWhat Are the Different UL Approvals for Plastics and What do they Mean?

The UL 94 rating is specifically for plastics flammability. Underwriters Laboratories created this standard to give people a consistent standard to be able to communicate and compare different types of plastics and how they react to flame. The system goes from lowest being the least flame retardant, to the highest being the most flame retardant. The rating also gives information about the exact testing method used such as:

  • Was the material vertical or horizontal
  • How thick
  • Were colors added

All of these can vary how a material such as DuPont™ Vespel® will react when exposed to flame. In the selection of materials for high heat applications, electronics, or areas that have potential for fire, UL ratings and their purpose must be fully understood and considered carefully.

One possible example is the Boeing Dreamliner. Although it will likely take years to determine, the materials used in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner are being carefully looked at with an eye toward the UL ratings and whether or not selected materials were used appropriately with regard to their rating.

  • UL 94-5VA Surface Burn; Burning stops within 60 seconds, test specimens MAY NOT have a burn-through (no hole). This is the highest (most flame retardant) UL94 rating.
  • UL 94-5VB Surface Burn; Burning stop within 60 seconds, test specimens MAY HAVE a burn-through (A hole may be present)
  • UL 94 V-0 Vertical Burn; Burning stops within 10 seconds, NO flaming drips are allowed
  • UL 94 V-1 Vertical Burn; Burning stops within 60 seconds, NO flaming drips are allowed
  • UL 94 V-2 Vertical Burn; Burning stops within 60 seconds, Flaming drips ARE allowed.
  • UL 94 H-B Horizontal Burn; Slow horizontal burn test (H-B) are considered self-extinguishing”. This is the lowest (least flame retardant) UL94 rating.

UL Ratings and the Typical Properties of DuPont™ Vespel®

ASTM or UL test Property SP-1 SP-21 SP-22 SP-211 SP-3
Filler Material Unfilled 15% Graphite 40% Graphite 10% PTFE, 15% Graphite 15% Moly
UL94 Flammability Rating V-0 V-0 V-0 V-0 V-0
D792 Density (lb/in³) (g/cm³) 0.051 1.43 0.055 1.51 0.060 1.65 0.056 1.55 0.058 1.60
D570 Water Absorption, 24 hrs @ 73°F (%) 48 hrs @ 122°F (%) 0.24 0.72 0.19 0.57 0.14 0.42 0.21 0.49 0.23 0.65
D638 Tensile Strength, Ultimate @ 73°F (psi) @ 500°F (psi) 12,500 6,000 9,500 5,500 7,500 3,400 6,500 3,500 8,200 –
D638 Tensile Modulus (psi)
D638 Tensile Elongation, Ultimate @ 73°F (%) @ 500°F (%) 7.5 6.0 4.5 6.0 3.0 2.0 3.5 3.0 4.0 –
D790 Flexural Strength, Ultimate @ 73°F (psi) @ 500°F (psi) 16,000 9,000 16,000 9,000 13,000 6,500 10,000 5,000 11,000 5,500
D790 Flexural Modulus @ 73°F (psi) @ 500°F (psi) 450,000 250,000 550,000 370,000 700,000 400,000 450,000 200,000 475,000 270,000
D695 Compressive Strength, 10% strain @ 73°F (psi) 19,300 19,300 16,300 14,800 18,500
D695 Compressive Modulus (psi) 350,000 420,000 475,000 300,000 350,000
D785 Hardness, Rockwell E45-60 E25-45 E5-25 E1-20 E40-55
D256 IZOD Notched Impact (ft-lb/in) 0.8 0.8 0.4
Poisson’s Ratio 0.4 0.4
D696 Coefficient of Linear Thermal Expansion (x 10-5 in./in./°F) 3.0 2.7 2.1 3.0 2.9
D648 Heat Deflection Temp (°F / °C) at 264 psi 680 / 360 680 / 360
Max Continuous Operating Temp (°F / °C) 500 / 260 500 / 260 500 / 260 500 / 260 500 / 260
C177 Thermal Conductivity (BTU-in/ft²-hr-°F) (x 10-4 cal/cm-sec-°C) 2.0 6.9 6.0 20.7 12.0 41.3 5.3 18.3 3.2 11.0
UL94 Flammability Rating V-0 V-0 V-0 V-0 V-0
D149 Dielectric Strength (V/mil) short time, 1/8″ thick 560 250
D150 Dielectric Constant at 1 MHz 3.55 13.2
D150 Dissipation Factor at 1 MHz 0.0034 0.0106
D257 Volume Resistivity (ohm-cm)at 50% RH 1014 – 1015 1012 – 1013

How long before the material stops burning (It must stop within 10 seconds for approval) Remember that UL ratings do not tell you the operating temperature of a material. UL ratings only refer the the behavior of a material when it if exposed to a flame source. Material sample are held over an open flame from a Bunsen Burner. After being ignited and allowed to burn the material is removed and testers monitor:When considering use of DuPont™ Vespel® and it’s UL rating there are other important factors to consider:

  • If material continues to burn does it drip or run. If it does, the material cannot be UL approved

Learn more:

This article by Homi Ahmadi in Compliance Engineering’s online magazine gives a good description of UL approvals for the electronics industry.

For more in-depth information and the UL-94 ratings and how it relates to plastics beyond DuPont™ Vespel® check out the UL website. http://www.ul.com/global/eng/pages/offerings/industries/chemicals/plastics/testing/flame/

For more information on the DuPont™ Vespel® materials Download  our guides or view a brief video on how to machine DuPont™ Vespel®

DuPont Vespel® SCP Parts

DuPont Vespel® SCP Parts

DuPont Vespel® Motion Solutions

DuPont Vespel® Motion Solutions

Insulator Solutions

DuPont Vespel® Insulator Solutions

DuPont Vespel® Sealing Solutions

DuPont Vespel® Sealing Solutions












Paul Hanson

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

Phone: 770.362.9712