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The Process and Uses of Thermoplastic Nubs and Buttons

What’s important about thermoplastic nubs and buttons? Here’s information to keep in mind.

The Process and Uses of Thermoplastic Nubs and Buttons - KB Delta

Compressors are used across various industries, including oil and gas, metallurgical and engineering, etc. This makes them one of the most vital machines crucial to several production processes. This means that without compressors, many products or components in use today won’t be in existence.

However, compressors have several components; a few are made from metals, while others are made from thermoplastics.



Thermoplastics are polymers or plastic materials that become moldable or pliable when it exceeds a specific temperature. However, as soon as it is cooled, it solidifies.

Thermoplastics are polymer chains that link to one another via intermolecular forces. But these polymer chains weaken easily when exposed to increased temperature. If the heat is applied long enough and is extremely high, the material liquefies and yields a viscous liquid.

This makes it easy to reshape thermoplastics. The latter is widely used in several industries to assist various polymer-processing procedures such as extrusion, injection molding, and compression molding.

The following is a list of the most common thermoplastics used these days:


  • ABS
  • Acrylic
  • Polyoxymethylene
  • Polycarbonate
  • Polyvinyl chloride
  • polypropylene
  • Polyether sulfone
  • Nylon, etc.


This list may be extensive, but it is essential to know them. This is because it makes you make a better, well-informed decision when choosing the type of materials to use for your button-making process.


Compressor Components Constructed from Thermoplastic Materials

As mentioned earlier, an incredibly large number of various compressor components are made from thermoplastic materials. These materials were chosen for their suitable properties and performances that beat their steel or metal counterparts in different sectors.

Here are some of the compressor components built from thermoplastic materials:


  • Nubs and buttons
  • Bullets
  • Ported plates
  • Poppets
  • Radius rings, etc.


The Process of Making Thermoplastic Compressor Components

The chemical mixture of thermoplastic granules makes up their most basic constituents. These granules are utilized in the manufacturing process.

Manufacturers vary the mix of the chemicals in their thermoplastics, depending on the compressor component they want to create. But they still maintain those basic attributes that make them thermoplastics: recyclability and malleability.

The thermoplastic granules are melted down using extremely high temperatures. At times, hot water is used, which turns the thermoplastic into viscous plastic liquid. The melt-down process must be complete before the thermoplastic is ready to get set in a mold. This is where injection molding comes in.

Injection molding is employed in manufacturing and shaping thermoplastics. Since the thermoplastics are now in viscous form, they need to be set in a mold, which could be set at the precise parameters or requirements.

For instance, in order to make nubs and buttons, there are molds in the shapes of buttons and nubs, which are set at precise measurements.

The viscous thermoplastic is injected into the mold and takes up the shape of the nub or button. Then they are given more than enough time to cool. In most cases, the injection molds used in these processes are made from hardened alloys or steel and constructed into the exact shape of the thermoplastic component required as they cool.

The injected thermoplastic remains in the mold for several hours in order to cool. As soon as the thermoplastics cool, they harden, taking up the shape of the mold. They are ejected from the mold, and another round or set of injection molding processes occur.

The ejected, hardened thermoplastics are now ready to be used commercially. This is an oversimplified way of making the nubs, buttons, poppets, bullets, etc., used extensively in reciprocating compressors and the manufacturing industry.

The overall quality of the thermoplastic components used in compressors depends primarily on the basic constituents of the thermoplastic granules. This is why it is highly crucial to work with a manufacturing company that holds integrity at its peak and never compromises on quality.

Such manufacturing companies will be able to listen and pay attention to your specific thermoplastic requirements. You can always get high-quality nubs and buttons from a reliable manufacturing company, which helps minimize downtimes and wasted resources.


Why Thermoplastics Compressor Components Offer Better Performance

There are several reasons thermoplastic parts are preferred over their metal counterparts. Here they are in no particular order:


  • Custom/tailor-made sizes

Thermoplastic compressor components are made from molds. This implies that molds can be used to create tailored or custom-made thermoplastic parts. You will get the precise specifications you ordered.

What if there’s a flaw in the design? If there is, thermoplastics can be melted down and re-used. This is not possible with metal components. They cannot be melted down or re-used in order to fabricate a more perfect design.

This is one major benefit that thermoplastic components have over their metal counterparts.


  • Durability

Durability is crucial when it comes to components that make up a compressor. This is why all the thermoplastic parts in compressors are incredibly durable.

The increased flexibility of thermoplastic buttons, nubs, etc., ensures the equipment doesn’t weaken over time. However, this can’t be said for steel parts. Steel parts generally weaken due to the constant motion and strain of the compressor.

Moreover, thermoplastic components operate under high temperatures and in humid conditions. This means zero risk of corrosion since the latter doesn’t affect thermoplastic parts.


  • Ability to Withstand Pressure

Remember that thermoplastics are made up of polymer chains with natural properties capable of handling large amounts of pressure. Thermoplastic components can bear great pressure during operations and still retain their original shape. Of course, different thermoplastics handle pressure differently and much better than others.

But metal parts are incapable of withstanding tremendous pressure. They tend to warp permanently under high pressure and can render your equipment useless within a short period.



Compressors are used across an increasingly broad spectrum of industries. The machines are composed of several components made from metals and thermoplastics.

Thermoplastic components are chosen and used for several reasons, some of which have been highlighted above. This makes them excellent options for use within the oil and gas industry, the metallurgy and engineering industry, etc.



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