Nylon and acetal are commonly used in a wide range of manufacturing applications. As both materials are a semi-crystalline thermoplastic, some of their characteristics overlap, such as their fatigue resistance, chemical resistance, and wear resistance with a sharp melting point. Additionally, both are appropriate material choices for the creation of small components such as washers, discs, and spacers. However, while there are some similarities in properties and use cases, the two materials remain distinctly different and are not entirely interchangeable.
One of the most obvious differences between nylon and acetal lies is aesthetics; acetal is shiny, while nylon appears dull in comparison. They also vary in regard to performance. For example:
Compared to acetal, nylon offers superior tensile strength and bending stiffness. It can also handle higher loads and higher temperatures. However, it is susceptible to damage from UV radiation unless special additives are incorporated into its formula and reacts poorly to changes in humidity, which cause it to swell and lose tensile strength.
Compared to nylon, acetal provides higher impact resistance and cold resistance. It is suitable for moderate loads.
In the following article, we provide an overview of acetal and nylon—outlining what they are, their properties, their key benefits, and typical industry applications—to facilitate material selection.
What Is Acetal Plastic?
Acetal—also known as polyoxymethylene (POM)—is a synthetic polymer commonly used in precision engineering. Similar to other semi-crystalline thermoplastics, it has good chemical resistance and fatigue resistance. It also demonstrates excellent tensile strength, good dimensional stability and machinability, and low material weight and frictional properties. It is often used for the manufacture of stiff, dimensionally stable components that need low surface friction.
What Is Nylon Plastic?
Nylon is also a synthetic polymer, as well as one of the most commonly employed engineering thermoplastics in the industry. It is highly durable, demonstrating resistance to damage from abrasion, chemicals (such as alcohols, oils, and solvents), and tearing. These qualities, combined with the material’s low cost, make nylon a suitable option for all manner of industrial and commercial applications.
Properties of Acetal Plastic
As indicated above, acetal plastic is valued for its machinability and many advantageous physical characteristics. Some of the key attributes of acetal include:
Chemical resistance: excellent
Coefficient of friction: low
Dimensional stability: excellent
Electrical properties: good
Porosity and moisture absorption: low
Tensile strength and stiffness: excellent
Wear resistance: excellent
Availability in FDA and USDA-compliant grades: yes
Properties of Nylon Plastics
The properties of nylon somewhat overlap with acetal, including regard to the following:
Chemical resistance: excellent
Coefficient of friction: low
Wear resistance: excellent
Availability in FDA and USDA-compliant grades: yes
However, the material also offers better thermal resistance, durability, and performance for the given price point.
Benefits of Acetal Plastic
Both nylon and acetal are suitable for use in applications that call for general-purpose engineering plastics. However, there are a few reasons why you may choose acetal over nylon. For example:
When manufacturing parts that require high dimensional stability
When the finished part or product will be regularly exposed to humidity or moisture
When the chemical and wear resistance of the material is critical
Benefits of Nylon Plastic
As a self-lubricating material, nylon is increasingly popular as a replacement for metal components that require external lubrication. Compared to parts made from metal, parts made from nylon are also much lighter, produce less noise during operations, and have longer service lives.
Nylon also offers advantages over other thermoplastics. For example:
Compared to acetal, it has higher temperature resistance, tensile strength, and stiffness, as well as lower material cost.
Compared to all other semi-crystalline thermoplastics, it offers the highest dielectric strength (in 6 cast formulas).
Industry Applications for Acetal and Nylon
As both acetal and nylon are highly versatile, it would be difficult to list all possible industry applications for either material. Additionally, since both materials are semi-crystalline thermoplastics, their similar material properties make them suited for similar use cases.
Common Acetal Plastic Applications
Acetal is used for the manufacture of a wide range of parts and products, including the following:
Electrical parts and padding
Wear strips and padding
These components might end up in medical devices, conveyor systems, or other similarly complex assemblies.
Common Nylon Plastic Applications
Nylon remains best known by the public for its uses as a sturdy and durable fabric. However, beyond its use in clothing and other commercial goods, it also finds application in many industrial parts and products. Similar to acetal, it is regularly used for the production of the following components:
As with acetal, these components are highly versatile and may be used in any number of industries. For example, nylon parts are often found in medical instruments, plumbing systems, and sprinkler systems. They also serve as alternatives to metal, wood, and rubber components in many engineering applications.
Nylon & Acetal Washers
Although washers are often thought of as made exclusively made from metal or rubber, thermoplastic washers have grown in popularity over the years. The main function of washers is to distribute the pressure experienced by a fastener across a larger surface area while also protecting the fastener and attachment surface. They can also help disperse vibrations produced during operations to minimize the risk of the fasteners loosening over time.
New Process Fibre offers a selection of both nylon washers and acetal washers. Nylon washers are available in Nylon 6, Nylon 6/6, Nylon MDS, or Nylatron®, depending on the needs of the application. They are cost-effective, consistent, and customizable within LP-410 quality standards. Acetal washers are custom-made and come in a range of natural or pigmented resins.
Nylon and Acetal Products From New Process Fibre
Nylon and acetal are highly versatile materials used in the fabrication of a wide range of industrial parts and products. For all your non-metallic fabrication needs, turn to the experts at New Process Fibre.
At New Process Fibre, we are an experienced fabricator specializing in processing non-metallic materials. We accommodate a broad selection of materials, including acetal, nylon, high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polypropylene homo and copolymer, and fire-retardant thermoplastics. Equipped with over nine decades of industry experience and a 55,000 square foot fabrication facility, we have the knowledge and tools to serve the fabrication needs of customers from industries ranging from aerospace and automotive to construction and consumer goods to power tools and plumbing.
Our full range of fabrication and finishing services includes:
In-house tool and die making
Sheet extrusion and slitting
Slitting and shearing
Custom embossing and screen printing
Pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) application
Using these services, we fabricate countless non-metallic components, including washers, spacers, gaskets, shims, and more. Whether you’re seeking assistance with nylon, acetal, or some other thermoplastic, we are well equipped to satisfy your fabrication needs.
To find out more about our fabrication capabilities or partner with us on your next project, contact our team today.
Excellent thermal insulation and chemical resistance properties make polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) suitable for many commercial and industrial applications. PTFE—more commonly known by DuPont’s brand name, Teflon™—is widely used to create solutions for the plumbing sector, such as washers and plumber’s tape.
Benefits of Teflon
PTFE is a good raw material for fabricating industrial parts due to its many beneficial properties. Some of these include:
Better heat resistance than Nylon, making Teflon washers ideal for use in heat-generating electrical equipment.
Exceptional thermal and electrical insulative properties—PTFE can withstand up to 500 volts per mil and up to 600° F.
High resistances to most common chemicals.
Poor water absorption, making Teflon suitable for use in wet environments.
The lowest coefficient of friction among all plastics, so it doesn’t typically require any sort of lubrication.
Excellent dimensional stability and creep resistance, despite high compressibility.
With these properties, Teflon parts provide consistent performance over a long service life. This makes PTFE a more cost-effective raw material than other plastics in many applications, including plumbing.
Common Plumbing Applications for Teflon
Teflon’s chemical inertness and hydrophobic properties make it a widely used material in the plumbing industry. Common plumbing applications include:
Washers used in plumbing are almost exclusively made from PTFE. Teflon also repels oil, so these washers are useful in piping or process systems that move oil or oil-containing fluids.
PTFE plumber’s tape prevents leaks by sealing the threads of joining pipes.
The dimensional stability of Teflon at high temperatures makes it an ideal choice for parts used in hot water applications.
New Process Fibre (NPF) is an ISO 9001:2015-certified company that fabricates standard and custom-designed washers with Teflon and other plastics. Our PTFE products are widely used in a broad range of industries, including plumbing. Our Teflon washers are available in diameters from 0.093–16 inches and thicknesses from 0.0002–0.125 inches.
We can also provide washers in many different colors. NPF manufactures custom ordered washers in English or metric units. We supply these custom washers with pre-applied pressure-sensitive adhesives as well.
For more information about our PTFE washers or other Teflon products, please contact us.
Choosing the right plastic is essential to the success of every manufacturing and packaging project. Most plastics are formed from any of six different popular plastics or a plastic mixture with concentrations of different resins.
Short-term storage containers, such as bottles and jugs, are usually made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE). This is a versatile and robust plastic. HDPE plastic containers are identifiable by the numeral “2” printed inside the container’s recycling symbol.
An Overview of HDPE
High-density polyethylene is produced from petroleum. It is a thermoplastic polymer—a polymer that melts into a liquid for easy forming and shaping. Manufacturers can easily create strong, customized containers by melting and treating HDPE.
The material is also ideal for custom printing and coloring, making it one of the most common materials for packaging. HDPE can also be made food-safe and it withstands caustic chemicals.
Given this versatility, it is used to make a variety of common containers such as:
One of HDPE’s most essential characteristics is its strength. The plastic has a high degree of tensile strength, so it is resistant to breakage from tension and impact damage. HDPE also has a high melting point, so it won’t degrade from heat under general, non-factory conditions. These features make the material ideal for producing reliable containers for consumer products and materials being transported.
Other benefits of using HDPE include:
Resistant to corrosion, even when holding liquid
Can be melted and reshaped
High strength-to-density ratio, making it cost-effective for transporting materials and products
Differences Between HDPE and LDPE
High-density polyethylene is just one type of polyethylene. Low-density polyethylene is lighter and more flexible.
During fabrication, HDPE’s polymer chains endure minimal branching. This keeps the polymer’s linear molecules closely knit together. The chains crystallize in a tight formation, which gives HDPE its rigid and relatively dense structure. It can hold a firm shape, even under pressure.
Conversely, the polymer chains of LDPE undergo significant branching and spreading. The polymer chains are more diffuse and scattered, giving them much less structure. This makes the material lighter, more flexible, and more susceptible to damage.
As such, HDPE is preferred for most manufacturing and packaging purposes. It can form reliable, structured products such as toys, garbage cans, storage containers, jugs, and pipes. Recently, HDPE has also begun to replace cardboard as the preferred material for fireworks tubes. The plastic material is less likely to shatter during malfunctions and can be recycled once the firework has been used.
Low-density polyethylene is used to produce cling wrap, plastic bags, and other unstructured products.
Custom HDPE Solutions from New Process Fibre Today
HDPE is a sturdy, versatile material that provides an ideal material for manufacturing storage containers of many different types.
New Process Fibre specializes in complete stamping and die cutting services for HDPE. We also produce sheets, rolls, and coils of high-quality plastics in standard and custom colors at high speeds. We can provide HDPE in custom thicknesses, widths, and colors to meet your project specifications. We are an ISO 9001:2015-certified manufacturer.
Retaining washers guide cords, cables, wires, and chains in an assembled product. One hole allows the washer to be secured to other components using a screw or bolt. Another opening allows the line to be firmly attached to the washer, thus securing the line in the desired position. These simple devices have a number of important applications. Different materials and finishes allow manufacturers to create these products to fit their design needs and aesthetic expectations.
Applications for Retaining Washers
The properties of retaining washers make them ideal for industrial applications.
Flexible rings are easy to remove for maintenance and other production purposes. As part of the design, flexible washers allow enough movement to protect delicate mechanical parts.
Sturdy washers keep bolts, screws, and other components in place while keeping their shape.
Easy-to-install washers often ease the installation of other parts as well.
Retaining washers are an important part of many industries. In the automotive industry, manufacturers use these components to keep upright washers properly affixed. These components perform a number of vital tasks in industrial settings, from simple functions like securing screws to more advanced purposes like quarter-turn and wire guide assemblies.
Washer Types and Material Finishes
There are two main classifications for retaining washers:
Internal washers place protrusions in the center of the piece
External washers feature protrusions on the outer edges of the unit
The inside diameter of retaining washers are shaped to allow it to easily slide into place without compromising its ability to hold components in place. During the manufacturing process, the insides of washers are customized specifically for their intended use.
Metals used in the manufacture and finishing of retaining washers can be chosen to meet the requirements of the end product. Some of the more common manufacturing materials are:
Popular finishes include:
Customized Retaining Washers for Use in Manufacturing
Retaining washers are a versatile component in a diverse range of industrial applications. These components can be customized with internal or external support from a number of popular production metals. The look and function of washers are further specialized with the addition of finishes.
New Process Fibre Company produces high-quality retaining washers that fit our clients’ exact specifications. Learn more about your customization options by downloading the Non-Metallic Material Selection and Properties Guide. This report will familiarize you with the possibilities of production. When you’re ready, contact our representatives for a free consultation on your project.
What is robust enough for astronauts’ helmets, tough enough to stop bullets, but light enough for eyeglasses, and flexible enough to make DVDs?
The answer is Lexan, the world’s most versatile and widely used plastic. The properties listed below make Lexan suitable for a variety of applications ranging from water bottles to laptops to boats:
Lexan has high impact resistance and a high strength-to-weight ratio. It is 200 times more impact resistant than glass while being 5–6 times lighter. For these reasons, Lexan is easier to transport, handle, and install than glass.
Lexan has low flammability, high polish, and glass-like clarity. However, for applications like eyeglasses, it requires a scratch-resistant coating since its surface can be easily scratched.
It’s flexible and can be molded without cracking. Lexan can be repeatedly heated and cooled without any deterioration in its properties.
It holds up well to high temperatures and corrosive chemicals.
Where Is Lexan Used?
Common Lexan applications touch every part of our lives. Industries that often use Lexan include:
Aerospace and automotive: These industries use Lexan to make strong but light windshields for planes, trains, and automobiles. This material is also used to build bullet-resistant windows for automobiles and isolation walls for bank counters.
Defense: Military manufacturers value Lexan for its light weight and high strength. This material is used to build components for military vehicles and jet fighters. Several accessories carried by soldiers are also made with Lexan to reduce the total weight that they carry.
Technology: The technology industry, especially electronic component manufacturing, uses Lexan because it insulates well against electricity and resists heat and corrosive chemicals. Lexan is used in large quantities to make CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Ray discs as well as computer and television screens. Lexan’s low weight and high impact resistance also make it suitable for use as laptop and cell phone cases along with video game controllers.
Environmentally friendly products: Eco-conscious products are composed of Lexan because this material is highly recyclable. Reusable water bottles, food containers, canteens, and glasses are made with Lexan. Lexan is far better than glass for these applications since it resists fractures while retaining the transparency of glass.
Why Is Lexan So Widely Used?
Lexan is so widely used because its properties make it an attractive raw material for industrial manufacturing. It has the good characteristics of similar materials like glass and acrylic without any of their weaker properties. Furthermore, Lexan’s undesirable qualities like poor scratch resistance and susceptibility to yellowing by UV rays can be easily addressed with protective coatings.
The main reason for Lexan’s large-scale use in manufacturing is its high impact resistance. It’s 200 times more impact resistant than glass, whereas acrylic’s impact resistance is only 8 times that of glass.
Additionally, Lexan can be fabricated in layers to make it bullet resistant. It’s also used to make containment-grade sheets to protect against forced entry with sledgehammers and similar tools. Bullet-resistant and containment-grade Lexan is much more cost effective than glass during fabrication and shipping.
Components made with Lexan are suitable for use in harsh environments because of Lexan’s resistance to high temperatures and harmful chemicals like acids. Despite its toughness and strength, Lexan is light and flexible, which makes it suitable for making eyeglasses, computer screens, and TV monitors.
Quality Lexan from New Process Fibre
New Process Fibre Company (NPF) has over 90 years of experience in providing industrial parts for a diverse range of manufacturers, and we offer many fabrication services as well. Our product catalog and service portfolio cover many thermoplastic materials, including Lexan.
Contact NPF today for all your Lexan requirements.
Professionals in the plastic industry often rely on extrusion to create quality plastic products. Using this technique, workers melt plastic material to force it into a die for shaping, and then they cut the formed shapes to length. This process results in durable plastic products with consistent cross sections.
Plastic extrusion is also more affordable than other plastic molding processes. When facing large orders that necessitate high production rates, it’s clear why so many professionals choose this process over slower, more costly alternatives. Materials built using plastic extrusion include:
What Is the Plastic Extrusion Process?
Plastic extrusion owes its efficiency and affordability to its straightforward design process. First, workers place raw resin into an extruder’s hopper, which pushes it through a high-temperature barrel that heats it to its melting point. Once the material reaches the end of the barrel, it gets squeezed through a screen pack into a feed pipe leading to the die, which is where the molten plastic cools and solidifies.
Barrier Screws vs. Mixing Screws
Plastic extrusion equipment relies on the successful use of two types of screws.
Barrier screws prevent molten plastic from enveloping pellets as the plastic transitions away from the extrusion screw. These screws keep molten and solid plastic separated from one another in the transition section, which keeps solids from fully melting by mistake. This allows liquid plastic to pass through one channel, while solids remain separated from the molten solution.
Mixing screws are ideal for extruding materials. These screws operate using side-by-side twin extruders. In this setup, two screws rotate against each other to mix materials. In some cases, systems with mixing screws may feature kneading blocks designed to operate normally and in reverse, which ensures thorough mixing.
Materials That Can Be Extruded
Several varieties of plastic perform well during extrusion. Some of the most commonly used materials include:
Nylon, including nylon 6, nylon 6/6 and nylon MDS
Polyethylene, including low- and high-density variants
Acetal, in copolymer
Polypropylene, in copolymer and homopolymer configurations
Plastic extruders can form these materials into sheets, strips, rolls, or coils depending on your needs. You can also choose from a wide array of colors when designing your product, although color capacities can vary by manufacturer.
Before embarking on a plastic extrusion project, you should ensure your project’s tolerances match the capabilities of the material being used. Material thicknesses vary tremendously, which could result in unintended outcomes.
Extrusion Excellence from New Process Fibre
At New Process Fibre, we strive to create the highest-quality plastic solutions that can stand the test of time against adverse environmental and artificial conditions. If you would like to learn more about some of plastic extrusion’s capabilities, check out our new interactive infographic!
If you would like to learn more about how you can apply plastic extrusion to your next project, be sure to contact us today!
At New Process Fibre, one of the questions we hear most often has nothing to do with the products we manufacture or the processes we use to do so. Rather, it has to do with a word — what is the difference between “fibre” and “fiber,” such as in “fibre washers” and “fiber washers“?
The answer, in short, is that there is none.
“Fiber” and “fibre” are alternate spellings of the same word, referring to a thread of filament from which a textile is formed. The word is derived from the Latin word fibra, via the French word fibre, both of the same meaning.
A Brief Background
Both “fiber” and “fibre” have been used in the English language since the late 1300s, though at that time they were primarily used to describe entrails (literally “thread-like structures in animal bodies”). Over time, the definition changed and, by the early 1800s, “fibre” and “fiber” were commonly used to mean “textile material.” The first known recorded instance of this usage was in 1827. During this time period, “fiber” was more commonly used than “fibre.”
Around the same time, a movement began among educators and linguists, particularly those in England. They argued that an English word adopted from another language should remain in the form it appears in its original language. By their logic, “fibre” was more accurate than “fiber.” (At the time, there was no true standardization of modern English.)
As the traditional French-based “–re” spelling gained popularity in England and its colonies, the more phonetically representative “fiber” remained in use in the United States. It was still not universally accepted here, however, and “fibre” remained the more popular spelling well into the first quarter of the 20th century, at which point “fiber” started to become more popular. Finally, in the 1900s, “fiber” became the official standardized American English spelling. Today, Great Britain and other former colonies still use the “–re” spelling.
Our Place in History
F. Carl Porter founded New Process Fibre in 1927, a time when the “fibre” spelling was still in use — though with declining frequency — in America. New Process Fibre originally worked with cotton paper, converting it into vulcanized fibre.
Times change. Preferences for word spellings shift, and companies evolve; though “fibre” is in our name, we now work with a wide variety of materials. Two things have remained the same in the 90 years since our founding, however: our name and the industry-leading level of service and quality it has come to represent.
Regardless of how you spell it, if you’re looking for “fibre washers” or “fiber washers,” we have the products and services to meet any of your material needs.
Since 1927, New Process Fibre has been committed to producing high performance, cost-effective products. By performing every step of our manufacturing process in-house rather than outsourcing, we maintain oversight of the entire project to eliminate discrepancies, ensure timely delivery, and provide customers with high quality finished products.
One of our customers, recently utilized our in-house non-metallic stamping services to improve the efficiency of their manufacturing process.
Based in MI, our customer manufactures medical foot orthotics for global distribution by healthcare professionals; the inserts are vital for people with medical problems related to the foot, ankle, knee, and back. One of our customer’s most popular products is specifically designed for athletes who need balance support when participating in physical activities.
To expedite and improve production of these athletic inserts, our customer needed a manufacturer who had experience working with sheets of acetal copolymer, the key material in their product. The New Process Fibre team was ready to assist.
Improving the Process
The athletic inserts required 24” sheets of acetal copolymer, but our extruders were designed to produce 38” sheets. To achieve the necessary size, we started the job by trimming the material twice: first from 38” to 36” sheets, and again from 36” to 24” pieces.
After producing a set of 24” acetal copolymer sheets using this method, our team discovered a more efficient technique beneficial to both companies; by updating the product design to use larger sheet dimensions, we could extrude the original 38” sheets and make just one cut to reduce them down to 36”. Because only one cut was required, this solution improved efficiency, yield, and cost-effectiveness for both companies. Even better, our customer now saves money on production costs and passes those savings directly to their customer through lower product pricing.
By constantly seeking opportunities to improve manufacturing processes for our customers, we were able to identify a cost-effective solution for our customer, while also avoiding excess material waste.
New Process Fibre: Ready to Help with Your Next Project
We are continuously updating and enhancing our in-house manufacturing capabilities to make it possible to save our customers time and money. Just as we did with this particular customer, we aim to help all of our customers become more efficient, increase yield, and eliminate unnecessary costs.
With an extensive inventory of equipment for use on virtually any job, our facility is well equipped to meet any company standard. Our quality management system is extensively documented with ISO registration.
To learn more about NPF, our capabilities, and our drive to go above and beyond on every project to better serve our customers, download our Company Overview.
At New Process Fibre, we are constantly evaluating all of our procedures, processes, and business practices in an effort to offer the best services to our customers. Since our founding back in 1927, we have been driven toward constant improvement, instilling this motivation throughout all our policies and practices.
Our aspiration for excellence is now reflected in our brand new website. The relaunched New Process Fibre site has been redesigned from the top down and from the inside out to provide our customers with the high quality and level of satisfaction they have come to expect from us.
New Developments at New Process Fibre
The new website is fully responsive. This means that every page you visit on our site can be automatically resized to fit the screen of any computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone, or mobile device. You can now browse all our non-metallic stamped solutions such as custom discs, end laminations, spacers, gaskets, tags, and washers.
The new site also makes it easier than ever before to visit our resource library. This is a collection of a variety of references and resources that you can quickly download and even print out and have on hand as a handy guide. You can now take full advantage of our eBooks, ISO certifications, and more resources that reflect our expertise of over 85 years across industries.
Our site also features the attention and dedication to ensuring the highest quality standards across all our procedures. This is reflected in each of our products. Visit our site today to see how New Process Fibre can bring our unparalleled quality to the unique needs of your next project.
DID YOU KNOW...
THERMOPLASTIC FORMULAS, SUCH AS NYLON AND TEFLONTM PTFE, PROVIDE A HIGH-PERFORMANCE, LOW-COST ALTERNATIVE TO THE TRADITIONAL METAL WASHERS, GASKETS,AND SPACERS?
Download Material Selection Guide:Nylon and TeflonTM PTFE