The Purpose of Non-Metallic Washers
New Process Fibre provides our customers with non-metallic stamped components for a wide range of standard and OEM operations. With nearly a century of experience, we have compiled a comprehensive inventory of pre-fabricated die sets, which allows us to provide some of the fastest turnarounds in the industry. As an industry leader in non-metallic washers, we create solutions using only the highest quality materials.
Non-Metallic Washers Overview
Washers are critical hardware used for load distribution and sealing in varied equipment ranging from home appliances to spacecraft. A washer is a flat disc with a hole punched through it that can stabilize, reduce vibration, pad, lock, and distribute pressure for screws, bolts, and other fasteners. In most applications where two surfaces or components are attached, a washer is crucial for ensuring a reliable, long-lasting fixture.
While some washers are made from metals like stainless steel or aluminum, non-metallic materials can offer better weatherproofing, vibration resistance, and cost. As materials science advances, an increasing number of non-metallic washer materials have become available, including nylon, rubber, and various plastics. Each material has qualities that make it particularly useful, but not all materials are right for every situation. With so many available choices, it’s essential to seek professional advice before committing to a specific material type.
Why Choose Non-Metallic Washers Over Metallic Washers?
Non-metallic washers are available in various materials, each of which offers unique advantages over metallic washers. Some of the most popular non-metallic washer materials include:
- Nylon. Nylon is an excellent metal alternative for washers. It is non-toxic, anti-corrosive, and resistant to wear and friction, making it ideal for use in high-wear applications and food and beverage processing equipment. Also, nylon washers are fireproof and exhibit excellent insulative properties, making them the material of choice for various electrical, aerospace, marine, and industrial applications. When compared with metal washers, nylon is significantly lighter and less expensive to produce.
- Teflon™. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) — more commonly known by the brand name Teflon — is highly chemically resistant and often preferred in applications where exposure to corrosive chemicals will occur. In addition to its exceptional chemical resistance, Teflon washers maintain their shape and dimensional stability when exposed to high voltages and high temperatures up to 600°F. Teflon is primarily known for its remarkably low coefficient of friction, even when exposed to adverse conditions. These properties make it valuable for fixtures in high-performance applications in aerospace, automotive, and industrial settings.
- Delrin®. Delrin, or polyoxymethylene, is an exceptionally durable plastic washer material valued for its high tensile strength, temperature resistance, and chemical resistance. It has excellent dimensional stability and exhibits low creep when exposed to temperature fluctuations. Delrin is particularly useful for operations with frequent exposure to extreme operating conditions, such as construction, aerospace, automotive, and mechanical applications.
- Polyethylene (PE). Polyethylene is typically available in two formulations: low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Depending on the application’s needs, both LDPE and HDPE offer can be affordably manufactured in large quantities using plastic stamping processes. LDPE washers exhibit a high level of flexibility and elasticity while retaining exceptional dimensional stability and toughness. HDPE is a stiffer material, providing less flexibility than LDPE while maintaining high tensile strength.
How Are They Used?
Non-metallic washers serve many of the same purposes as their metallic counterparts, but with various additional advantages. They often provide pressure distribution for fasteners such as screws, nuts, and bolts. They spread the fastener’s stress or pressure across a wider area and protect the surface material from damage during installation and use.
Non-metallic washers mitigate risks posed by vibration, impacts, temperature fluctuations, and other environmental conditions that can cause fasteners to loosen over time. Since washers have an outer diameter twice the width of their inner diameter, they also provide a more streamlined border between surfaces.
While the standard washer design consists of a round disc with a hole in the center, non-metallic washers come in specialized shapes to enhance their usefulness in particular situations. For example, C washers have an opening on one side that allows installation in hard-to-reach spaces without completely disassembling the fixture hardware. Similarly, D washers are ideal for applications with limited space along one side where a circular washer would not fit.
What Are The Industry Applications?
Due to their strength, reliability, and material versatility, non-metallic washers are ideal for an extensive range of applications. At New Process Fibre, we provide a comprehensive selection of non-metallic stamped washers for nearly every industry, including:
- Our custom nylon washers are ideal for use in critical aerospace components, including engines, flight control systems, hydraulics, pneumatics, and airframes. The high chemical resistance of nylon — coupled with its abrasion resistance, flame retardancy, and durability — ensures reliable fastener operation and long service life in even the most extreme conditions.
- Medical Devices and Equipment. Our non-metallic nylon washers see frequent use in medical devices and equipment, such as face shields, respirator components, and medical tables. Nylon’s high tensile strength, corrosion resistance, and temperature resistance make it an ideal material for medical equipment washers.
- Automotive Systems. Our Teflon washers offer a premium solution for automotive applications. Unlike metal washers, Teflon washers can withstand corrosion due to moisture and chemical exposure without compromising the washer’s structural integrity or giving way to rust. For this reason, they see broad usage in automotive body, engine, brake, and transmission systems to protect from road salts, car fluids, oil, and environmental moisture.
- Plumbing and Marine Equipment. Hardware for plumbing and marine equipment suffers from regular exposure to moisture, saltwater, and corrosive fluids that cause metal washers to rust. Our non-metallic washers offer resistance to corrosive materials and abrasion to facilitate more dependable fastener operation. PTFE washers also get selected for industrial plumbing and marine applications for their corrosion resistance and ability to retain form and integrity when exposed to high temperatures.
- Industrial and Manufacturing. Industrial and manufacturing applications benefit from HDPE washers, which offer superior strength and high resistance to crushing. Their exceptional durability makes HDPE washers useful in a variety of heavy-duty industrial and mechanical systems.
- Oil, Gas, and Chemical Processing. New Process Fibre offers a selection of LDPE washers that provide flexible corrosion resistance to chemical, oil, gas, and marine exposure. Their toughness and elasticity make them ideal for sealing fasteners in high-performance applications.
Choose New Process Fibre For Your Non-Metallic Washer Needs
Whether you need flat washers, lock washers, spring washers, or plain washers, New Process Fibre has the perfect non-metallic washers for your application. We have decades of experience working with a wide range of non-metal materials. With our self-built, in-house die sets, our stamping quality is second to none. Our customers know that ordering from New Process Fibre means they will receive the highest quality products, within tight tolerances, and with a faster turnaround than our competitors.
To learn more about our extensive selection of non-metallic washers for OEM equipment and numerous other industries, contact our experts today.