Advanced Engineering polymers are materials with exceptional mechanical properties such as stiffness, toughness, and low creep. Often they also have outstanding high temperature, flame resistance and chemical resistance properties as well. They are typically designed to withstand extreme conditions, beyond that which a normal Engineering Polymer could perform at.
Blown films are created by feeding polymer pellets into an extruder where they are melted and homogenised before being pumped through a circular blown film die. This die can be a single layer or multi-layer (often called a co-extruder).The melted plastic forms a continuous tube which is drawn from the die. It is inflated and simultaneously cooled so that the plastic solidifies quickly. The tube is then collapsed between rollers and wound onto a reel. After this it can be slit, printed and converted into many different products, like plastic food packaging.
Modern day healthcare would simply not be possible without the use of plastics. Plastics allow functionally and design freedom not possible with alternate materials. Due to their physical characteristics of strength and durability, their ability to withstand frequent sterilisation, severe temperatures and chemical environments, they offer unique opportunities to the Medical / Pharma sector . There are ongoing developments in modified polymers designed for use in a wide range of applications, from implants to pharmaceutical preparations and drug-delivery systems.
Our population is ageing and this is leading to an increased number of people who will need care. This combined with improvements in diagnosis and treatment, will continue to drive research in the field of medical plastics, including the development of new materials, processing techniques and innovative product design.
Several of our suppliers are very active in this sector. Teknor Apex's Medalist-brand medical elastomers provide a unique combination of thermoplastic processing with rubber-like characteristics. RTP Company works with virtually all the medical grade resins available on the market and they aim to help customers arrive at the correct material choice that meets cost, performance and regulatory goals, by modifying these as required for a specific end-use. They offer biocompatible pre-coloured materials, Antistatic Plastics for pMDI and DPI inhalers and many other proven solutions for the Medical / Pharma sector.
Engineering polymers are materials with exceptional mechanical properties such as stiffness, toughness, and low creep that make them valuable in the manufacture of structural products like gears, bearings, electronic devices, and automotive parts. In many cases they can now replace metals and they often offer excellent aesthetical properties.
PE foam is mainly produced through extrusion. Foams are created by first dissolving and mixing a gas in the molten PE, then with the aid of the blowing agent it expands and forms a lot of small bubbles or cells and then cools into the final foam sheet. As a result it is much lighter than normal “sheet” like products. The foam can be shaped into many different semi-finished products such as tubes, profiles, sheets and blocks. Foamed polyethylene has a structure of small regular cells. Due to this it has high heat and sound insulation properties and excellent shock absorbing capabilities. The building, packaging and automotive industries all use foamed polyethylene
Plastics’ versatility allows for advanced shapes and forms without compromising the safety, comfort or stability of a car. This makes them very attractive materials for designers. Their strength and durability has also played an important part in expanding the average life span of a car. Innovative car body developments are seeing an increase in the plastics content of cars as a push for metal replacement gathers pace. The nature of this market means polymer materials are often carefully specified. This means that a long term partnership approach is needed by both manufacturers of polymers as well as Polymer Distributors, when working with OEM and Tier 2 suppliers. Teknor Apex offers the automotive industry a program capable of serving as a single source for manufacturers that use vinyl, nylon and thermoplastic elastomer compounds. Perrite have been successful with polypropylene and ABS / PC compounds, while RTP Company has a number of offerings including solutions for conductive, shielding and high wear/ high temperature problems.
In injection moulding, the plastic is forced into the mould at very high pressure. The mould is then kept at a given temperature while the polymer solidifies; the halves are opened and the finished article is ejected. For small parts, lots of moulds are often mounted on one machine and the molten plastic is injected into them all simultaneously. Injection moulding can produce far more complex items than extrusion, but it isn't a continuous process.
Industrial polymers are by their nature as diverse as the needs of producers of industrial equipment. They include a multitude of products including housings, gears, discs, wear rings, bushings, and impellers, motors, and meters. While they may be a huge diversity in the types of products in this sector their needs are often similar – it is often one or more of the following:
We have a number of suppliers who are able to work with to offer you solutions in this sector.
One of the most versatile families of polymers. It mixes excellent strength, chemical resistance, clarity and surface smoothness. Variations are used in fibres and non-wovens for items such as clothing and carpets. The film and sheet sector is a major user of polyesters all the way from thin speciality films for food packaging, through to thick sheet used in construction related applications. Soft drink bottles are perhaps where the public would be most aware of this type of material. One of its advantages is that it can be reclaimed, recycled, and/or reused, and today is it probably the most widely recycled polymer material throughout Europe.
In the extrusion process, plastic pellets or powder (dry-blends) are fed into a heated cylinder where rotating screws homogenise it and squeeze it through a die to give a finished or semi-finished product. Pellets are used in single screw extruders, most often to produce sheet: and powders are used in twin screw extruders, usually to make compounds or masterbatch additives. The die is shaped and designed to produce the desired shape of the end product.
Extrusion can produce soft or rigid items which can be compact or cellular in form. For producing hollow articles, a special tool is required and this process is called extrusion blow moulding. Profiles which require a strong aesthetic appearance are often made by the co-extrusion process, which uses two extruders and a specially shaped die.
The purpose of plastic packaging is to safely protect and deliver a product from the manufacturer to the consumer. Packaging must meet regulatory requirements. It must potentially protect the contents from damage, contamination, spoilage and leaking. And it must meet expectations regarding aesthetics, merchandising, cost, ease of use, ease of opening, weight savings, greenhouse gas emissions, and so on. The right plastic packaging can deliver on these expectations, and we can help you chose the right material.
Plastic packaging in general is lightweight and strong—different plastics can be moulded, extruded, cast and blown into a huge variety of forms. Suppliers of polymer like ExxonMobil are leading the way with developments for the packaging market, with continuing innovation in materials like the Exceed ™ mPE range, which allow a strong, thinner package, with all the cost and environmental benefits that can go with this.
Polyolefins are often regarded as the work-horse of the polymer processing industry. Polyethylene and Polypropylene have been around a long time, but that does not mean that they are not an excellent choice of material. The balance of value and performance is often what makes them the polymer of choice in many applications. Further enhancements in their physical and mechanical properties following the introduction of Metallocene technology means that this family of products continues to find new applications.
In the blow moulding process, molten polymer is extruded in the form of a vertical tube, which is clamped between two halves of a mould. This tube is inflated so that it takes on the shape of the mould. It is then cooled, and released as the fully formed container. An example would be a plastic milk bottle. For larger containers, the molten resins have to be extruded very quickly or the container will 'sag' due to gravity, to prevent this the right choice of melt strength in the polymer is crucial.
Polymer usage is growing strongly in construction applications. Materials used in this sector typically must meet certain critical properties, depending on their exact end-use. In general the important property requirements are mechanical, weathering, permeability, flammability and thermal conductivity properties. The environmental impact is also important as global concerns are increasing about pollution, depletion of energy sources and re-use or recycling of waste products.
Polymers are used in applications such as pipes and conduit, wire and cable, fittings, roofing, flooring and insulation, New material developments are driving growth in new areas. Fibre reinforced polymers are gaining market share from traditional construction materials due to their low weight combined with high strength. Mechanical properties can be tailor-made by careful selection of the polymer types and fibre ratios.
This is a diverse family of products, which are often additives designed to be pre-compounded into specific polymers or added via masterbatch by the processor. They are usually designed to do a very specific job. For instance anti-microbial and bio compatible additives are often aimed at dealing with problems encountered by healthcare items. Carbon fibre and stainless steel fibres can help designers overcome potential strength issues when polymers are used in metal replacement applications. While glow-in-the-dark and laser marking additives help where a product needs to be visible, or identifiable under a variety of end-use conditions.
Thermoforming is a general term for the process of making plastic parts from a flat sheet of plastic by using pressure and temperature. In its most sophisticated form, thermoforming can provide small tolerances, and excellent detail. When advanced finishing techniques are used, high-technology thermoforming can match the results obtained through injection moulding. Thermoforming is particularly suitable for producing large panels and housings, as well as tubs and pots for the food industry.
In this high tech sector the requirements for the physical requirements of the polymers used is very high. Safety and reliability and proven expertise are key. Working with suppliers to the aircraft industry, where more and more they are turning towards innovative polymers for interiors, assemblies and structural parts is a demanding area. Collaboration is key to identifying the exact requirements for a part and then turning this into a cost-competitive and capable polymer offering. The answer is often tailoring an existing polymer with very specific additives in order to meet what are often a unique set of demands. We have several partners who work with us to supply these solutions.
Sheet is distinguished from film by its thickness: anything over 0.25-mm can considered sheet, but it is typically 1.00 to 8.00mm. The process closely resembles cast film extrusion. Thinner sheet is typical thermoformed into trays and tubs, while thick sheet may be used for signage, and containers. Common sheet extrusion materials include PET, Polypropylene, Polystyrene and ABS. Sheet can be produced in either single or multi-layer formats.
Rotational moulding, or rotomoulding, is a common process for producing items that are usually hollow. It's most often used for very large articles which are usually made in small quantities. Items such as children's toys, garden furniture and oil tanks are manufactured by rotational moulding. Rotomoulding uses polyethylene in powdered form; this is introduced into the mould along with additives such as pigments or finishers.
The mould is closed and then spun both vertically and horizontally and moved into an oven. As the powder starts to melt and the mould continues rotating, it is thrown onto the walls of the mould by centrifugal force where it forms a skin. After a fixed period, the mould is removed from the oven and allowed to cool carefully to avoid the product shrinking or warping.
Electrical properties of polymers, elastomers, composites and plastic films are very important to a wide range of industries like automotive, aerospace, building products, marine, packaging and consumer goods. Electrical tests, in general, are measurements of the resistance, conductivity or charge storage either on the surface or through the plastic material. New polymer compounds can address these needs. Whether this means replacing metal shielding boxes with a moulded EMI compound or replacing a bulky, metal heat sink with a moulded thermally conductive compound, a solution can be found. RTP specialty compounds aim to meet the increasing demands of the electrical and electronics market as products become smaller, more portable and lighter weight.
The range of polymers that we can offer is constantly expanding. So while you should be able to find almost any type of polymer, to try and help you understand what is available we have given you a choice for how you look for them. You can look by Product Family, Product, Application, Supplier or Extrusion Process. But don’t worry if you cannot find something, or just want some advice – phone us, we will be happy to help.