Tough polymer aids sustainability
Environmentally friendly regenerated forms of one of the world’s toughest thermoplastics are finding new applications among industries seeking cost-effective ways to improve peak mass flow and discharge efficiencies in bulk handling, manufacturing, processing and packaging.
Wearex low-friction UHMWPE polymer from Cut to Size Plastics features a smooth, paraffin-like surface that prevents adherence and subsequent build-up of solids accumulating on the walls of storage, transportation and processing equipment, reducing maintenance.
The material – which reinforces users’ sustainable business credentials – is specifically formulated to promote material flow in situations as diverse as mines and port facilities through to hygiene-intensive facilities dealing with agribusiness crop and livestock products and broader food and beverage product categories.
“This food-grade material has multiple benefits for primary producers, manufacturers, packagers and distributors. It is a clean and green material, which is increasingly important to businesses presenting themselves as sustainable, and it saves money too. Besides being hard-wearing, it is specifically formulated to increase the throughput and capacity of hoppers and silos by curtailing the ‘hang-up’ of materials and eliminating dead spots in material flow,” says Pat Flood, the NSW Manager of the national and international engineered plastics specialist, Cut To Size Plastics.
The self-lubricating polymer can be used by original equipment manufacturers or by maintenance personnel on site as a flow promoter, anti-abrasion liner and corrosion proof liner both in static and dynamic applications, with product moving over the substrate at high or low speed, and where impact occurs, including on conveyor and packaging lines.
Wearex reduces carryback in moving equipment, controls outflow to prevent surges, reduces hopper and silo wall angles, and optimises the load capacity in storage hoppers and transport vehicles, saving fuel. Non-stick surfaces mean savings of capital expenditure can be achieved by decreasing the structural height of storage hoppers, conserving energy on elevation and conveying equipment.
In addition to being a member of the one of the toughest known thermoplastics families, Wearex offers a higher friction angle and lower coefficient of friction than most traditional engineering materials, including stainless steel, mild steel, polyurethane, rubber and concrete.
“The Wearex family has a high wear and chemical resistance, outperforming steel components in numerous applications. This advantage is utilised in diverse industries as well as food and agribusiness: for example, as dewatering elements in mineral processing and paper manufacture, wear components and wear strips in waste water treatment, chain support profiles and wear strips in power transmission, wear strips and bin linings in timber processing, and in mining as a sliding surface below conveyors belts instead of using impact return idlers.”
Economical to install and maintain, Wearex exhibits excellent sound damping characteristics, and provides an ideal cushion material where blunt objects are rolled, dropped, pushed or stopped.
Chemically inert Wearex provides an inherent resistance to aggressive media. The lightweight polymer further offers an extremely low volumetric wear loss, has good dimensional stability and machinability, and can operate in a temperature range of -250˚C to +50˚C (long term) and up to +80˚C (short term).
“Its incredibly low co-efficient of friction is one of the lowest of all engineering plastics and will produce components with a very high life span with very low drag, which means very little will stick to it. It’s also resistant to many dilute acids, solvents and cleaning agents,” says Flood.
Because Wearex is water-repellent, unlike moistureabsorbing lining materials like steel, ceramics and concrete, the effectiveness of the material is increased when handling product with a high moisture content.
Wearex – available in sheet and rod or machined to finished product – is one of the many grades of the broader family of UHMWPE engineering plastics manufactured to top global standards.