Tough poly­mer aids sus­tain­abil­ity

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - FOOD AND BEVERAGE -

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.

CHEM­I­CAL RE­SIS­TANCE

“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.

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