Common Applications of Plastic for Mining

Tough jobs require heavy-duty gear made from resilient materials, and mining is no different. However, softer materials like plastic are used regularly in mining to provide that same resilience and durability to many kinds of equipment. Read this article to learn why and how types of polyvinyl chloride, polycarbonate and other plastics are applied to the mining industry.

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Why Use Plastic for Mining?

When it comes to the mining industry, strong tools are required to power through demanding work conditions efficiently. From using sturdy pickaxes for traditional mining jobs to heavy machinery for more thorough digging, miners rely on tough materials, like steel, to break through excavation sites with ease. With this in mind, it may be difficult to imagine using anything other than these metallic materials to perform the job. But, did you know that plastic materials are frequently used in mining applications?

Just like its role in wind energy and, specifically, wind turbines, plastic is also present in multiple areas of the mining industry because it's much cheaper and safer to use compared to heavy material. Plastics like polycarbonate and acrylic (PMMA) are used frequently in mining for safety purposes or to extend the life of equipment. But, regardless of the application, there are a plethora of benefits when using this soft material.

Benefits of Using Plastic for Mining

From providing noise reduction to reducing erratic flow or arching, plastic can enhance mining equipment for smoother and safer digging. Check out some of the best reasons to use plastic for mining.

While plastics are not directly used for the actual excavation and mining process, they're used as materials for a significant amount of equipment. These include:

  • Grating systems
  • Off-road truck beds and liners
  • Front-end loader bucket liners
  • Windshields, windows or safety barriers for excavators and trucks
  • Internal components like gears and sheaves
  • Conveyor belt components
  • Wastewater and slurry piping
  • Wearable safety gear like hardhats and goggles

Additionally, there are multiple plastic materials that serve a purpose towards mining applications, such as acrylic sheet, high-density polyethylene (HDPE), ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE), epoxy, polycarbonate sheet and different types of polyvinyl chloride. Because of its versatility, plastic can fortify gear and applications to last for years without losing durability.

Plastic Advantages for Mining Purposes

Aside from being a low-cost and eco-friendly resource, plastic is a valuable asset to mining applications because of its abundance of benefits. Here are some reasons plastic is so useful:

  • Plastic can reduce noise.
  • It offers outstanding resistance to chemicals, corrosion and radiation
  • The material offers high velocity and pressure performance.
  • It can provide smoother system operations and dimensional stability.
  • Plastic material is available in conductive, static-dissipative and flame-retardant versions.

Despite seeming weaker than materials like steel or iron, plastic is still a superb, strong component that can hold up well against wear, abrasion and impacts. Because of this, your mining gear can remain in fantastic condition for years to come, so you should definitely consider using plastic for mining applications whenever possible.

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