Designing Wear-Resistant Plastic Parts

Posted by Dan Leedom on Wednesday, April 1, 2015
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Reliability and long product life are common themes in many products these days.

For example, in the past 40 years, the usable life of the standard automobile has increased from 100,000 miles (if you were lucky) to 200,000+ miles (if you care for it well) . In addition, increased fuel-efficiency standards have required that the weight of the vehicle be drastically reduced. Many times it’s the selection of the right plastic materials, materials that are both wear resistant and weigh less than their metal counterparts – that makes the achievement of objectives like those possible.

(The information that follows, was graciously made available by RTP plastics, a well know, global supplier of custom-engineered thermoplastics. Their full capabilities can be view at their website http://www.rtpcompany.com.)

From the RTP site:

Internally lubricated thermoplastics eliminate expensive, time-consuming, secondary operations associated with external surface lubrication. They keep mechanisms and components clean, enhancing long-term performance and reliability.

Wear resistant compounds mix friction and abrasion reducing additives with plastics to offer protection from surfacing marring and scratching, reduction in noise between mated parts, and elimination of the slip/stick phenomenon that occurs with sliding parts.

Plastics offer excellent oxidation and corrosion resistance to aqueous solutions, acids, and bases — all of which can destroy metal parts.

Our (RTP) specialty compounds can be formulated to balance the correct base polymer with the appropriate lubrication technology to meet end-use requirements. Additionally, structural reinforcement, static protection, flame retardant, and color properties can be combined into a single material.

Wear resistant or lubricated plastics are typically used for:

  • Bearings, slides, gears, and cams — To keep moving parts free of external grease and lubricants.
  • Pump impellers — To save money and energy by using lightweight, injection molded thermoplastics rather than machined metal – which significantly lowers start-up torque.
  • Gears — To improve resistance to repeated flexing and bending, a primary cause of tooth failure.
  • Bushings and rollers — To reduce noise in material handling systems and accommodate cleanroom or washdown environments.
  • Sliding components — For cover panels, doors, and latches on consumer electronics

RTP also offers a material selection guide through their website to assist in the selection and specification of an appropriate material for your application.

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For more information about how to add wear-resistance to your plastic parts, please take a quick moment and fill out our Inquiry Form or call us at 503-620-6950 ext.263

This blog was originally posted May 15th, 2012