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:
- Weather stripping
- Plastic sheeting
- Wire insulation
- Adhesive tape
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.
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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.
Our website also highlights all our capabilities, including in-house extrusion, tooling, and non-metallic stamping. Customers across a range of industries can now easily browse our solutions to see how we can match the unique requirements of all projects, regardless of complexity.
A Range of Benefits
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.