Plastic is a fantastic material that is used in practically everything from playground equipment to lawn mowers to vehicles. But what about as a bearing or bushing?

Many engineers resist using plastic bearings, thinking they won’t stand up to harsh environments, extreme temps, heavy loads or high speeds. Some engineers believe in metallic bearings and are reluctant to change. However, high-performance plastic bearings from Performance Plastics are turning heads and changing minds.

Standard Metal Bearings

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)-lined metal bearings are made up of a thin, self-lubricating layer, embedded with PTFE, which is permanently bonded to an aluminum housing. However, the liner isn’t replaceable and can be scratched off by contaminates, which results in metal-to-metal contact between the bearing and shaft. This increases the coefficient of friction (COF), accelerates wear rates, and increases the risk of shaft damage.

How about injection molding the entire bearing or bushing from FEP, PVDF, or PFA?

High-Performance Plastic Bearings

With advancements in plastics, plastic bearings are gaining in popularity because they are more versatile, economical, and corrosion resistant. PEEK, Torlon® (PAI), PBI (polybenzimidazole), Ultem® (PEI), and PPSU (polyphenylsulfone) are all available as material options and suitable for use in plastic bearings. Plastic bearings are made of a thermoplastic alloy with a fiber matrix and solid lubricants, which account for their superior strength and consistently low COF.

High-performance plastic bearings offer a great many advantages:

  • Cost savings, first and foremost. High-performance plastic bearings reduce overall cost because they resist wear, reduce maintenance costs, and can replace more costly alternatives.
  • No need to lubricate. These bearings are self-lubricating, with lubricants embedded in the tiny chambers of the composite material. This eliminates the costs of both additional lubricants and continual maintenance.
  • Plastic bearings can be reinforced with carbon fiber or fiberglass and can operate continuously at temperatures between -40°F and 500°+ F. But their thinner walls are better at dissipating heat. Plus, they’re less likely to deform under heavier weights.
  • Corrosion Resistant. Plastic bearings are specifically designed to operate in harsh environments, surviving daily washdowns and caustic chemicals. Plus, their self-lubricating nature eliminates seal failure and contamination.
  • Consistent COF. These bearings are designed to maintain a low COF over their lifetime, while their metal-backed counterparts can become scratched and increase the COF.
  • Lighter weight. Plastics are significantly lighter than their metal alternatives, which can be up to five times heavier.
  • Plastics can dampen vibrations with lubrication, becoming virtually silent.

To learn more about high-performance plastic bearings from Performance Plastics, contact Rich Reed, our Vice President of Sales and Marketing, at (513) 321-8404 or [email protected].

Performance Plastics specializes in precision injection molding of difficult parts, eliminating the need to machine. Our precise production process gives us the ability to injection mold difficult parts made from high performance plastic materials. If it can be molded, we can do it.
High performance plastic materials have ideal properties when it comes to durability. Plastics like polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE/Telfon®) are known for their dielectric strength, low dissipation, chemical resistance, outstanding performance at elevated temperatures, and coefficient friction. However, their unique properties can make machining PFTE quite difficult. Dimensional changes, burrs, and consistency of machining can all be factors when you are creating a part out of these materials. Performance Plastics has found a way around the complications of machining PTFE by injection molding of other fluoropolymers.

At Performance Plastics, we are experts at precision injection molding. We have developed proprietary tool design software, processes and equipment enabling us to injection mold components having complex geometries made from challenging ultra- and high-performance thermoplastic materials and highly loaded compounds. We utilize a unique combination of extensive material knowledge, mold flow analysis, a design system and process expertise to eliminate or minimize the need for secondary operations.

The switch from a machined part to an injection molded part can be very beneficial to you. Not only does injection molding help lower costs, it also allows you to have highly efficient production, complexity in your part design, and enhances your strength. The ability to produce the parts at a very high level with a high output rate helps with cost efficiency and effectiveness. Injection molding can handle extremely complex parts, and uniformity, as well as the ability to make millions of virtually identical parts. Engineers can determine if the part needs to be flexible or rigid so that they can select the right material and adjust the integrating ribs or gussets. With the vast variety of materials and colors, making your color options almost endless.

Injection molding isn’t for every project, but it can be tremendously beneficial if you’re an engineer using more than 20,000 pieces of the same part year over year. At Performance Plastics, we serve a variety of industries, from Medical to Energy, Aerospace & Defense to Industrial, Electronics to Food & Beverage.

To learn about how precision injection molding can replace machined PTFE parts, contact Rich Reed, our Vice President of Sales and Marketing, at (513) 321-8404 or [email protected]

As you’re designing and manufacturing your next application, wouldn’t it be ideal if you could analyze all the parts, compare them to the original drawings and get results quickly, without damage? At Performance Plastics, we have the ability to do this through industrial computed tomography (CT) scan. Giving us the ability to measure all aspects of your part, without having to damage it.

Industrial CT scanning gives you access to the inner workings of a part without having to destroy the original. The scanner rotates the part 360 degrees and uses X-rays to create a precise 3D model. This allows for a thorough analysis of object dimensions, porosity, wall thickness, assembly defects, comprehensive comparisons, and reverse engineering.

Performance Plastics CT Scan ServicesPerformance Plastics CT Scanner

The CT scan can then be compared to the CAD model and to other parts. Plus, it can easily analyze surface variations and provide cross sections to reveal hidden features.

Performance Plastics now offer a variety of CT scan-related services:

  • Part-to-CAD comparisons create a precise overlay of the scanned part to the original 3D part model database
  • Part-to-part comparisons provide an overlay of two scanned parts to reveal dimensional deviation
  • Void and inclusion analysis provides material and defect analysis showing void or inclusion size and locations
  • Wall thickness analysis measures slight changes in the wall stock of complex parts without destructive testing
  • Dimensional analysis provides full article inspections and reporting
  • Reverse engineering capabilities that generate a 3D CAD file

Industrial CT scanning can be necessary during five different manufacturing stages. When you’re in pre-production, it can help with the project design and analysis. During production, you can use CT scanning to evaluate consistency. At the failure investigation stage, it will find defects. The CT scanner can run repeatability tests when you’re doing inspections. And if you need design adjustments or are doing further R&D, it can help with reverse engineering.

As for what Performance Plastics can handle when CT scanning:

  • Maximum part size is 300mm diameter x 350 mm tall
  • Scan time is typically less than one hour
  • Accuracy (using Calypso) of 9+L/50 microns
  • X-ray-based measurement system is non-contact
  • Parts do not require potting

At Performance Plastics, we are problem solvers. We design and manufacture precision injection molded parts made with ultra-high-performance plastics such as Torlon®, PEEK, Ultem® and fluoropolymers. (FEP, PFA, PVDF). We specialize in molding parts with complex geometries and very tight tolerances for critical applications such as aerospace/defense, medical, and energy. We achieve this by combining a unique product design approach with proprietary process technology and state-of-the art quality control that provides our customers the “lowest cost solution.” Our engineers deliver results where others say, “it can’t be done.”

To learn more about if a CT scan can help your application, contact Rich Reed, our Vice President of Sales and Marketing, at (513) 321-8404 or [email protected]

Products will be on display at the MRO Americas Aviation Week Show next month

Performance Plastics is pleased to announce two additions to its EnduroSharp® line of accessory tools: the EnduroSharp® Torlon® Adhesive Reamer (TAR) and Adhesive Cutter (TAC).

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EnduroSharp® TAR tools are non-metallic, multi-fluted, straight-walled reamers. They are used to remove non-metallic debris such as cured sealants and adhesives from fastener and bushing holes in metallic or composite structures without damaging the structures. Available in four different sizes, the reamers have a hex drive mounting feature, allowing it to be used with low RPM battery-powered screwdrivers (200 rpm or less), ratcheting screwdrivers or the EnduroSharp® Ratcheting T-Handle with Keyless Chuck.

EnduroSharp® TAC tools are designed to be used with the standard (non-segmented) and tetherable (segmented) mandrels. They can also be used with electric and pneumatic drills rated at 600 RPM or less. TAC tools are supplied in EnduroSharp® surface preparation tool kits.

“These new EnduroSharp® tools are an important expansion of our line of aircraft maintenance tools,” said Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Performance Plastics has always been known for our injection molding expertise. The bottom-line advantage is that the customer can now count on us for our ability to solve all of their engineering challenges with our products and services.”

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These new products will be on display at the MRO Americas Aviation Week Show April 9-11, 2019. Performance Plastics will be exhibiting in Booth 5117, in Building B, Halls 1-5 of the Georgia World Congress Center, in Atlanta, GA. Additionally, on display in the Performance Plastics’ booth will be the company’s complete line of Torlon® Aircraft Maintenance Tools. These nonmetallic scraper tools hold a superior edge and are extremely durable for removing sealants, adhesives, and coatings. What’s more, maintenance personnel no longer have to resort to sharpened putty knives, scribes, and utility blades.

To learn more, please visit www.performanceplastics.com/endurosharp/accesssories or contact Rich Reed, our Vice President of Sales and Marketing, at (513) 321-8404 or [email protected].

Nylon might not always be the first material that comes to mind when you think about making products for compressors and pumps, or military and defense applications … unless you’re working with Performance Plastics Ltd.

Thermoplastic precision Nylon Parts

The world’s first commercially successful version of nylon was created in 1935. Over the decades, it proved to be a lightweight, heavy-duty industrial and engineering plastic replacement for metals that was resistant to both heat and corrosive chemicals. Performance Plastics sees nylon as a fantastic material that offers excellent flexure and bending fatigue strength, which makes it ideal for parts that undergo intermittent loading. With wear resistance far greater than many metals and other thermoplastics and a low coefficient of friction, nylon is ideally suited for use in slides, bearings and other devices that must stand up to high levels of motion and wear.

Today, a wide range of nylon resin formulations and combinations with other polymers are available, as well as glass-, carbon-, and mineral-reinforced versions. For example, Minlon® mineral-reinforced nylon provides greater dimensional stability and creep resistance than unreinforced nylon, and lower warpage than glass-reinforced nylon. As a result, it is popular for use in compressor valves and big industrial parts, as well as in demanding automotive applications.

Performance Plastics has seen nylon’s applications grow to include a range of fluid handling pumps to move water, acids, lubricants, solvents, chemicals, and fuels in automotive, military and aerospace environments. Although pump makers traditionally used various metals for pump housings, shaft guides, impellers, seals, bushings and other elements, the desire to reduce pump weight and material and processing costs has led many to opt for various nylon formulations instead. In fact, Performance Plastics can use nylon to offer pump makers a combination of physical strength, wear resistance, self-lubrication, and high cost-effectiveness.

Choosing the optimal nylon resin for a pump application depends on several factors, including the levels of pressure, temperature, and speed involved. In addition, the abrasiveness of the liquids or slurries involved, the degree of contamination that can be tolerated, and projected uses for the pump must also be considered.

Nylon’s toughness and elongation properties make it suitable for designs that involve snap-fits or press-fits. Injection-molded nylon parts from Performance Plastics are well-suited to secondary machining processes such as turning, drilling, tapping and grinding, as well as ultrasonic insertion, ultrasonic welding, pad printing, and assembly.

To discover how Performance Plastics is partnering with world-class polymer scientists and industry leading material suppliers to delivery nylon solutions, visit our website at https://performanceplastics.com or contact Rich Reed, our Vice President of Sales and Marketing, at (513) 321-8404 or [email protected].

Performance Plastics provides a solution to avoid metal when designing your new part. Perfecting injection molding processes since 1980, PPL has an extensive knowledge of how to create plastic parts equivalent to metal. A high-performance plastic, such as Polyetheretherketone (PEEK), is ideal for parts that demand the high strength of metal, while also being lightweight and resistant to corrosion.

PEEK is a mainstay material for a growing variety of applications in many different industries. Its popularity is due to excellent friction and wear characteristics, extended durability under punishing environmental conditions, including high temperatures, abrasion and aggressive chemical environments.

Unfilled PEEK resins emit extremely low levels of smoke and toxic gas when exposed to a flame. Glass and carbon reinforced PEEK resins offer high thermal stability and are among the strongest thermoplastics in the market.

PEEK has a long list of outstanding characteristics making it one of the most popular alternatives to metal:

  • High mechanical strength and dimensional stability
  • Excellent long-term creep and fatigue properties
  • Excellent resistance to harsh chemicals
  • Withstands a wide range of acids and bases; high resistance to hydrocarbons and organic solvents
  • High wear resistance
  • Low coefficient of friction; high abrasion and cut-through resistance
  • Low moisture absorption and permeability
  • Resistant to high-pressure steam, fresh water and salt water
  • Excellent performance at high temperatures
  • Suitable for continuous-use temperatures up to 500°F
  • High electrical integrity
  • Displays consistent properties over a range of frequencies and temperatures; depending on the grade of resin chosen, PEEK parts can be insulating, conducting or static dissipative
  • Low smoke and toxic gas emission
  • Inherently flame retardant without the use of additives; low toxicity of combustion gases

Performance Plastics uses various grades of PEEK resin as metal replacements in applications where few other fluoropolymers would be considered. PEEK is widely used in industries such as: aerospace (commercial and defense), automotive, marine, industrial and energy (fossil fuel and renewable).

To discover how PEEK polymer resins can make the transition from metal to thermoplastic easier contact Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, at (513) 321-8404 or [email protected]

PEEK Resin Thermoplastic Component

Need to create translucent injection-molded parts that won’t warp or lose dimensional stability when the heat is on? Then look no further than Performance Plastics, which has a wealth of polyetherimide (PEI, brand name ULTEM®) resin options available.

Ultem PEI Polyetherimide thermoplastic component

Ultem PEI Polyetherimide thermoplastic component

With nearly 100 grades of resin suitable for injection molding, ULTEM is used in an astonishing array of industries and applications, ranging from transportation and healthcare to eyeglasses and headlamps. Its popularity is due to its combination of high strength and stiffness at elevated temperatures, and superior resistance to a broad range of chemicals.

Performance Plastics not only uses ULTEM’s transparent grades, but also translucent and opaque custom colors, as well as grades reinforced with milled glass, glass fiber, various mineral fillers, silica, and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). ULTEM copolymers are available for parts that demand even higher heat and chemical resistance.

 

Why Performance Plastics uses ULTEM:

  • High strength and stability at high temperatures: A high glass transition temperature of 217°C ensures stable physical and mechanical properties at temperatures up to 200°C. Unfilled, transparent grades of ULTEM offer strength equal to other thermoplastics reinforced with opacifying fillers. Parts maintain their precision dimensions even after steam autoclave sterilization or 10,000 hours of immersion in boiling water.
  • Resistant to environmental stress and cracking: In contrast with parts molded from most other amorphous thermoplastics, parts made of ULTEM resins retain their strength and resist stress cracking when exposed to fats and oils, automotive and aircraft fluids, aliphatic hydrocarbons, alcohols, acids, and weak aqueous solutions. Even without stabilizers, they provide high resistance to ultraviolet and gamma radiation.
  • Resistant to flame: Even without the inclusion of additives, most grades of ULTEM resins are inherently flame resistant and are exceptionally difficult to ignite. These resins generate extremely low levels of smoke when burned and the smoke is no more toxic than wood smoke.
  • Ease of processing: High flowability permits long flow lengths as little as 0.2mm thick using conventional injection molding equipment.
  • Outstanding electrical properties: ULTEM’s flame and heat resistant properties and dielectric strength of 831V have made it a popular choice for electrical applications.

ULTEM applications

The wide range of injection-moldable ULTEM resins Performance Plastics can handle ensures you’ll find a suitable choice for just about any application:

  • Electrical/Electronic: ULTEM resins can be molded into flexible circuits and printed circuit boards capable of withstanding vapor-phase and wave soldering. When compared to epoxy circuit boards, board made of ULTEM offer a higher continuous service temperature. Additional applications include burn-in sockets, switches, connectors, appliance components, etc.
  • Transportation: For under-the-hood automotive applications, designers prefer ULTEM resins for their long-term creep resistance, high strength retention at higher temperatures, and good resistance to fuels, lubricants, and coolants. For aircraft and aerospace applications, ULTEM’s flame resistance and low smoke generation simplify meeting FAA regulations.
  • Healthcare and food handling: ULTEM resins are a popular choice for laboratory ware and healthcare applications because of their resistance to heat, chemicals and gamma radiation sterilization. Their ability to withstand 1,000 autoclave cycles helps reduce costs by allowing sterilization and reuse of a wide range of products. Their resistance to fats and oils, high heat resistance, and microwave transparency make them a natural choice for food prep equipment. In home kitchens, ULTEM’s high gloss and ease of coloring heightens its appeal.

To discover how Performance Plastics can use ULTEM resins to make your next injection molding project easier,  visit our website at https://performanceplastics.com or contact Rich Reed, our vice president of sales and marketing, at (513) 321-8404 or [email protected].

A fluoropolymer is one of the growing number of fluorocarbon-based polymers. They are widely used in healthcare applications due to their biocompatibility, lubricity, sterilizability, chemical inertness, thermal stability, barrier properties and high purity. However, when compared with other resins, they are significantly more expensive and require special techniques to injection mold due to their shear sensitivity, high melt temperatures, and fluorine outgassing when melted.

Although the best-known fluoropolymer, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE or Teflon®), has been on the market since the 1940s, newer resins have been developed to address specific injection molding niches. Perfluoroalkoxy polymer (PFA) and fluorinated ethylene-propylene (FEP plastic) are among the most recent additions to the list of fluoropolymer options.

PFA was developed in order to create a true melt-processable fluoropolymer. It provides the smoothest and least wettable finish of all of the fluoropolymers. Its optical transparency, chemical inertness, and overall flexibility have made it popular for use in lab equipment. It also has superior electrical properties, with dielectric strength that’s three to four times greater than PTFE can offer.

Like PFA, FEP is melt-processable and injection moldable. Its melting point of 260 °C (500 °F) is about 40 degrees lower than PFA’s.  It offers low friction and chemical inertness properties comparable to PTFE’s. However, it is completely transparent. Because FEP is highly resistant to sunlight, it is especially useful for molding parts that are subjected to weathering.

However, not all injection molders are equipped to work with fluoropolymers like PFA and FEP. Performance Plastics LTD. has developed a variety of tools and procedures to address the challenges involved in molding these materials. For example, our solution includes a hot runner system and mold designed to minimize the shear forces inherent in the injection molding process. We use proprietary metallurgy that’s highly resistant to fluorine gas corrosion, which helps extend the working life of the hot runner system, tooling and other components that make contact with the melted resin. We’ve also developed a direct-gating, multi-runner approach to tool design that eliminates the sprue and runner used in traditional injection molding. By eliminating the wasted material associated with the sprue and runner, Performance Plastics has been able to pass along material cost savings of from 20% to 40% by using these expensive resins more economically.

To learn more about how we can cut your resin costs while helping you take advantage of the unique properties PFA and FEP offer, visit our contact page or contact Rich Reed, our vice president of sales and marketing, at (513) 321-8404 or [email protected].

Look in any aircraft mechanic’s big red rolling toolbox and you might see a few items that aren’t offered in any toolmaker’s catalog or tool vendor’s truck. Somewhere in there, you’ll probably find a sharpened putty knife, scribe, or utility blade that the mechanic uses to remove gap materials, sealants and adhesives from aircraft substrates and fasteners. Although tools designed for these tasks made of acrylic, polycarbonate and fiber-reinforced plastics are available, they are typically too soft to hold an effective edge for long, and soon end up in the back of the bottom drawer, rarely to be seen (or used) again.

There are two basic problems with these two options. The first is that they simply don’t work very well and require a lot of muscle (and time) to use. The second is that the ones made of metal greatly increase the risk of damaging many aircraft substrates.

EnduroSharp Torlon Aerospace Maintenance Tools

EnduroSharp Torlon Aerospace Maintenance Tools

Essentially, what aircraft mechanics need for these jobs are tools that are hard enough to hold an edge and that can be resharpened readily but which won’t damage the underlying surface. To develop these new kind of tools, the experts at Performance Plastics partnered with high-performance polymer supplier Solvay Specialty Polymers, the Air Force Research Laboratory, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Systems Support Division (AFRL/RXS) and the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI).

EnduroSharp™ aircraft maintenance tools are molded from high-performance Torlon® polyamide-imide (PAI) resin. This tough injection-molding resin offers a variety of advantages over engineering polymers like polyetherimide (PEI) and polyetheretherketone (PEEK), which Performance Plastics also considered during the development of the tools.

Parts made from PEI and PEEK must be machined out of molded blanks to produce a sharp edge. In contrast, the Torlon resin is highly processible, so Performance Plastics’ blades have a sharp edge right out of the mold, eliminating the time, cost and material waste involved in machining. However, when necessary, Torlon resin can be machined to create specialized designs, such as the blades that include a gap to scrape around fasteners. Its thermoset-like properties also allow it to withstand the high heat and friction of resharpening, which can produce burrs on blades molded from PEEK and PEI polymers. Because they are stiffer than PEEK and PEI tools, they can maintain a superior cutting edge far longer and allow for faster material removal. Torlon tools are also heat resistant to 500°F (260°C) and are highly chemical resistant to standard aerospace fluids and solvents, which ensures longer working life.

Because they can prevent the kind of damage to metallic and nonmetallic components or substrates that improvised metal tools can cause, EnduroSharp tools are approved for use on U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy military aerospace systems. Depending on the tool used, they are well suited for removing elastomeric coatings, boots, tapes, sealants, adhesives, gap fillers and tape residue from fiber-reinforced composite, plastic, glass, ceramic or metal substrates and fasteners safely remove. To remove material faster, the blades can also be used with heat- or chemical-assisted skiving processes, in which materials are carefully removed one thin layer at a time.

Performance Plastics created the patented EnduroSharp™ line of Torlon® Aircraft Maintenance Tools to hold a superior edge and are extremely durable for removing sealants, adhesives, and coatings.

For more information and to see EnduroSharp tools in action, visit the EnduroSharp section of Performance Plastics’ website or watch the YouTube EnduroSharp Demo.