Finding the Right Thermoplastic Parts for Your Industry
A thermoplastic is a material that is moldable when you apply a certain amount of heat, yet hardens when it is cooled. Thermoplastics have been used for years, and choosing the right thermoplastic parts for your industry will ensure you have a product that has a long-life span. Each industry has different needs, as far as parts. This is due to the ever-changing industrial environments that are usually centered around different processes for manufacturing different products. Every different process stresses the equipment differently, and that is why you should make sure that you choose the right material and part for your industrial needs.
What Parts are Made of Thermoplastic?
The amount and types of parts available made of thermoplastic is ever growing due to the process of injection molding. The process is becoming more and more exact to measurement specification. The thermoplastic parts available for compressors now include:
Ported Plates: A ported plate is a valve plate with holes allowing for air to flow through. This is the most prevalent in air-cooled compressors. When choosing whether or not you would need a water or an air-cooled compressor is dependent on your financial choice, and your industrial needs. Typically, water-cooled compressors are more expensive to install, and air-cooled compressors are more readily available.
Radius Rings: Radius rings cause a seal around the piston within the compressor. In typical applications, a radius rings snaps around the piston creates a tight fit between the piston and the cylinder. Using a thermoplastic ring can help seal off any excess air loss when in use due to the thermoplastics ability to press form better than steel.
Bullets: Bullets are valves that act as a seal when there needs to be a release of pressure. The valve itself is similar to a float needle in a carburetor, it opens when retracted and seals the opening when closed. Using thermoplastic can help you save on parts as well as functionality when choosing the right bullet.
Poppets: Poppets are available in different sizes and designs, however using a thermoplastic poppet can save you on costs as well as functionality. A poppet helps lower valve temperature, as well as pressure drop. The poppet can also help with capacity levels within the compressor. The injection molding process helps create a perfect housing in thermoplastic rather than steel or another similar metal.
The Types of Thermoplastic Available
PEEK: PEEK, which stands for polyether ether ketone, is a colorless thermoplastic that is made from organic materials. It has a moderate to high tensile strength, as well as a high melting point. This material is extremely well-suited for high-temperature applications. Thermal degradation is something you would not have to worry about as much. The properties of this material make it ideal for high pressure and high temperatures.
Carbon PEEK: Carbon PEEK, which is derived from the same process as PEEK, is a stronger, more resilient relative. The PEEK is reinforced with carbon, giving it a longer life span than regular PEEK material. The properties of this material make it ideal for high-pressure, high-temperature, and other areas where rigidity is a necessity.
Mid-Temperature: Mid-temperature thermoplastic is a material that has a lower melting point than PEEK materials. This is not a complete weakness, however, as the mid-temperature thermoplastic has higher malleability. The properties of this material make it ideal for lower temperature areas of manufacturing that require more flexibility from the compressor parts.
Nylon: Nylon thermoplastics are well-known for their manufacturing uses. This material has been used for creating machine screws, gears, and various other parts that are suited for high-pressure environments. The nylon parts that go into the compressor are no different, they are highly resistant to high pressures as well as high temperatures. The properties of this material make it ideal for high-pressure and high-temperature areas of manufacturing.
Thermoplastic Parts VS Metal Parts
Metal parts have been used for centuries for building machine parts and tools. However, with the new rise of thermoplastics being developed, you can find much of the same parts in a polymer that will not only cost less, but have its own set of benefits. During the injection molding process, these polymers can be an exact match to the metal parts of older compressor valves. The industry has grown into an exact science, making the parts that are derived from it more reliable than ever.
Thermoplastic parts are known for handling pressure better than metals due to the natural properties of the polymers. An example would be that under pressure, metals can soften and permanently warp. Where as in the case of a thermoplastic, they can usually retain their shape and rigidity for a longer period of time under pressure. Each compressor is different however, so make sure choosing thermoplastic is the right choice for your compressor. Choosing thermoplastic parts over metal, where it allows, will allow you to have more flexibility with your parts, and your financial obligations.
Why Does the Choice Matter?
When choosing the material for each of your parts, it may seem like it doesn’t matter, or that they are all the same. In the case of compressor parts, this can not be farther from the truth. Each material has its own set of properties, including costs, that should be taken into account for.
When you are adding compressors to your industry, repairing, or just upgrading your current compressors, make sure that you choose the exact parts that you will need. Each of these parts are made from different materials, so check your OEM specifications if needed and you will be able to find a part that suits your needs.
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