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Fabricating Nylon and Acetal Through "Thick and Thin"

Nearly everyone in the plastics industry knows that Nylon has been around longer than most of us and Acetal nearly as long. As the work horses of the mechanicals, both materials are well known for their use in a wide range of applications – machined from extruded, compression molded or cast rods, slabs, sheets and tubes.

Nylon and Acetal fabrication from shapes has evolved from basic lathe machining and table saw fabrication to sophisticated CNC machining centers and automated CNC and laser cutting.

It’s no exaggeration to say that machined Nylon and Acetal components virtually revolutionized countless O.E.M. and M.R.O. applications – providing the well known benefits of mechanical strength, weight reduction, enhanced wear resistance, sound dampening, resistance to hydrolysis and, in many cases, significant cost savings.

Perhaps less well known are the thousands of applications fabricated from thin gauge extruded (calendared) Nylon and Acetal sheets, strips and coils. By far the majority of these applications are serviced through die cutting and punching. In addition, we see many new applications machined from flat sheets – using standard “mechanical” and increasingly, automated CNC routing or laser cutting saws.

Fabricated thin gauge Nylon and Acetal components are widely used in automotive, appliance, aircraft, off highway, marine, printing equipment, farm and garden machinery, hand tools, electrical/electronics, medical and literally countless O.E.M. and M.R.O. applications.

Indeed, if we were to remove fabricated thin gauge Nylon and Acetal components from automobiles, trucks, buses, trains, boats and off highway equipment, we literally wouldn’t get very far! Likewise many everyday appliances would not operate long (if at all) without the washers, gaskets and many other thin Nylon and Acetal parts widely used.

Typical applications for thin gauge Nylon and Acetal include: washers, dryers, refrigerators, ovens, business machines, guitar picks, “doctor blades”, strapping, sleeve bearing liners, hand held tools, automotive seat belt assemblies, fishing rods and reels, box and paper manufacturing machinery, wear strips, cams, small gears, spacers, washers for numerous fastener applications and, well, you get the picture.

And there’s more. Recently, thermoformable grades of glass-reinforced, thin gauge Nylon sheets have been introduced. These materials have created many new applications requiring formability, high service temperature, resistance to under-hood fluids and enhanced mechanical properties. Typical applications include engine radiators shrouds, air dams, covers, cowlings and ducts.

So, while most formulations of thin gauge Nylons and Acetal materials have been around awhile, we continue to see new opportunities - across a wide spectrum of industrial, mechanical, O.E.M and M.R.O. applications. Nylons and Acetals continue to be the engineering plastic materials of choice - through “thick and thin.” Written by Dave Pincin, National Sales Manager, Ensinger/PennFibre Plastics Co. Ensinger/PennFibre manufactures nylon, Acetal, polyolefins and a wide range of engineering plastic materials in sheets strips coils, punched parts and cut to size.

For more information, contact Ensinger/PennFibre, 2434 Bristol Road, Bensalem, PA 19020, 800-662-7366/215-702-9551, Fax: 215-702-9552, E-mail: penninfo@pennfibre.com, Web: www.pennfibre.com.

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