Popular Types of Heavy Plastics for Heavy-Duty Equipment

There are many different reasons why plastics are increasingly being used in heavy-duty equipment. Heavy plastics are lighter than metal, are better at resisting corrosion and can take just as much of a beating without failing. They also eliminate the need for lubrication between moving parts and can even reduce the level of noise present in work environments, like factories and construction sites.

Not every kind of plastic is suitable for these tough jobs. But the ones that are can help streamline workflow, save money and complete projects more effectively than ever before.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)

ABS plastic sheet is one of the most widely-used plastics on the market for its affordability and toughness. Other key features that make it ideal for heavy-duty plastic equipment include its incredible impact resistance and ease of machinability, requiring little power to be shaped and finished to the desired dimensions for an application. It also responds well to thermoforming, so it can easily be heated and bent into shape.

Common Applications of ABS Plastic Equipment

  • Machine housings for factory equipment
  • Vehicle instrument panels
  • Storage cases on construction sites
  • Prototyping and modeling
  • Guards and covers for machines/equipment

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

HDPE plastic sheet is another versatile member of the heavy plastics family, being strong and easy to fabricate. It can be used in a wide range of temperatures (-50° F to 180° F), making is suitable for very hot and extremely cold environments. It also offers high impact strength and chemical resistance, along with low water absorption. Like ABS, HDPE is very processible; it can be machined by cutting, riveting, milling, drilling, laser cutting, welding and many other methods.

Common Applications of Polycarbonate Plastic Equipment

  • Water pipes and pipe parts (flanges)
  • Oil rigs and other marine construction
  • Chemical tanks
  • Anti-skid surfaces for boats and ships/other wet environments
  • Dump truck trailer, tank and chute liners

Polycarbonate (PC)

Polycarbonate is the toughest plastic out there, at more than 20 times stronger than acrylic and 200 times stronger than glass. It has great clarity, so it's frequently used in the types of plastic equipment that require see-through applications. Polycarbonate also has a great balance of engineering properties that give it the ability to operate in a broad range of temperatures, resist impact and maintain dimensional stability. It's also a thermoplastic, so it can be reheated and remolded into new shapes as needed.

Common Applications of HDPE Plastic Equipment

  • Industrial and commercial glazing (windows)
  • Transparent machine guards
  • Heavy machinery windows and windshields
  • Face shields and sight glasses
  • Semiconductor components

Continue Learning about Popular Heavy Plastics

A&C Plastics has a lot more to share about the many types of heavy plastics and how they're used in the toughest plastic equipment out there. View the rest of our heavy plastic resources or contact us today for a custom quote on the type of plastic you'd like to use for your project.

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