Sabic Ultem® Resin Shortage Causing Delays

In September of 2014, Sabic announced issues with extended lead times for all Ultem® (PEI) Resins. These issues were caused by a dramatic increase in the demand this material. In addition, a scheduled outage at their Mt. Vernon facility is planned for April 2015.  Over the last several years, Sabic has increased capacity, and continue efforts to optimize production. Currently, Sabic is the only manufacturer of the PEI resin, under their trade name Ultem®.Ultem Sheet and Ultem Rod, PEI by Sabic, Polyetherimide

The result of an increase of industrial uses for Ultem® and spike in demand, along with the scheduled plant outage is a dramatic resin availability problem. Lead times from Sabic for Ultem® resin are currently being quoted at 14 – 18 weeks (as of Feb 2015).

The growth in the Sabic Ultem® plastic materials is due to many excellent physical properties that the Ultem has. The unique blend of UL 94 V-0 flame retardant properties, high heat resistance, superior resistance to autoclave sanitizing and is FDA/USDA and USP class VI compliant make Sabic Ultem® materials an obvious choice.

What this means if you use Ultem®

The available stock shapes of Ultem® 1000 and Ultem® 2300 our clients use is dwindling fast. We source sheet and rod  materials from all the major Sabic Ultem® stock shape manufacturers. Currently, many of our suppliers have zero inventory of resin or stock shapes. They are completely sold out, and as stated above, are not expecting any replacement resin for 4 or more months. Even then, the flow of resin will be reduced while production levels increase and catchup with current demand.

If Ultem® is what you must have, you have limited options. Industrial Plastic Supply, upon getting the news (see Press Release of Nov. 21, 2014) of the upcoming shortages, purchased all the Ultem® 1000 and Ultem® 2300 sheet and rod that suppliers had available. This large purchase was done to protect existing customers from a devastating outage, that could cause production slow downs or even shut downs. The common Ultem® shapes Sabic ultem shortage causing manufacturing delaysproduced are: Ultem® 1000 rod, Ultem® 1000 sheet, Ultem® 2300 rod, Ultem® 2300 sheet, and some Black Ultem® 1000 and Black Ultem® 2300 in sheet and rod. Contact Industrial Plastic to see if the Ultem® sheet or Ultem® rod material you need is still available.

What other options are available

In many cases, the Ultem® material that is specified may simply be unavailable for the foreseeable future. What options are available for other materials that may solve your immediate needs?

There are several materials that have some of the physical properties of the Sabic Ultem®. No one material has all the same properties, or the exact same properties as Ultem®, but several materials may work for your application. The determining factor will be the main physical properties you may need and want.

  • For High temperature resistance, look at: PTFE, PPS, PSU (Polysulfone), PPSU (Radel®) and PEEK
  • For Medical Applications, consider: PVDF (Kynar®), CTFE, PPSU (Radel®) and PEEK
  • For UL-94 V-0 requirements, investigate: PVC, PPS (Polyphenylsulfide), PTFE and PEEK

If you have specific properties or applications that you would like assistance with, please feel free to contact Industrial Plastic Supply, Inc. at 866-832-9315.


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Topic: Ultem® Sheet and Rod Shortages Causing Manufacturing Slow Downs


About Plastic Sheet Material

Plastic Sheet, Sheets and Sheeting materials In Stock

Today’s topic is all about industrial plastic sheet materials in flat sheet or sheets. Also known as plate, slab, strip and bar.

Most plastic materials are processed into sheets or rods. Rods are round, sheet is flat, square or rectangular. These two basic shapes are both generally extruded, although sheet can also be compression molded. Almost all plastic raw materials are available in sheet, and in a huge range of sizes. Most materials are available from .063″ to over 4″ in thickness; and some as thick as 8″ (how to measure thickness accurately, use a 6-Inch Digital Caliper with Extra-Large LCD). Sheet sizes vary, but generally most plastics are produced in 48″ X 96″ sheets or larger, but once again this changes with types of materials and thickness desired. We can help with almost any plastic material.

Need Help Picking a Plastic Sheet Material?

Deciding on the proper material for an application is the first step. Start by reviewing our Plastic Materials Selection Guide to help narrow your search. Having the key properties and needs of your project in mind will help you with this step. Also looking at both the pro’s and con’s of a material will assist in this search. Materials with the greatest property range can be extremely expensive, selecting a material that meets your needs and your budget should be considered.

Step two is researching sizes and availability – this is where we can really help. With most of the major manufacturers as partners, we are able to source your parts from many factories. While the quality from most factories is excellent, the variable is standard and custom sheet sizes. We also stock a wide variety of materials in large Plastic Sheets In Stock, Acetal sheet, nylon sheetsheets. One of our many manufacturers is Westlake Plastics. They have been compression molding large sized sheets of many popular plastic resins; these sheets are available in 48″ X 120″ as a standard sheet size in most plastics. They produce these materials from .250″ – 3.0″ thick or thicker. Other manufacturers produce 24″ X 48″ or 48″ X 96″ sheets as standard. Please contact us for specifics on your material selection.

Most of our plastic resins are available as a sheet. This includes some of the most popular plastics, like: Polycarbonate Sheet, Acetal Sheet, PTFE Sheet, Ultem Sheet and dozens more. Sometimes, Plastic sheet is called: Plate, Strip, Bar, Slab, Block or Panel. Please think of these names as being synonyms with Plastic Sheet. Contact us with your special requirements.

In thicker gauges, plastics are frequently referred to as plate, slab or block. And strips or narrow pieces are called bar. A rose by any other name, call it what you will, the plastic starts as a flat sheet from the factory. We can cut them to size or shape. Blanking of sheets to useable sizes is our specialty. Narrow pieces used for long applications are normally called strip. Strip is common in wear type applications.

For a list of materials we have as standard stock materials, check our Plastic Sheets Page. These and many other plastic materials are available, and custom sizes, shapes and colors vary by base material. As a stocking distributor for dozens of major manufactures, we are the West Coasts leading plastic sheet supplier or distributor. If you are in need of some technical assistance go to our Plasticologist page for specific help.

Contact us for more information on plastic sheet materials. Email us or call 866-832-9315

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Unitrex Lf20 – PTFE Filled PEEK

A newly released form of Filled PEEK is now available. This PEEK is filled with PTFE and is called Unitrex Lf20, and it is filled with 20% PTFE. This new grade of PTFE Filled PEEK plastic is produced by Nytef Plastics. It is an extruded thermoplastic that comes in both rod and sheet form. This grade has significantly improved properties over the standard unfilled grades of PEEK. The PTFE filler provides excellent wear properties and has a very low co-efficient of friction, which makes this a great material for sliding and wear applications, and is made to last for long periods of abuse. Unitrex Lf20 has great machinability and dimensionally stability. It has a wide range of uses in such fields as medical, semi-conductor, and aerospace seals, where standard PEEK is too rigid. These properties enable this material to replace Polyimide (Vespel®) and PCTFE (formerly Kel-F) in many applications of high chemical resistance and the ductility for use in seals. This Filled PEEK works extremely well in Medical, Semi-Conductor and Aerospace Seal applications. Nytef Plastics Unitrex Lf20 Manufacturer

PTFE Filled PEEK vs. PTFE Filled Acetal – Delrin

 

Comparable to Lf13 which is 13% PTFE filled Delrin (Delrin AF), which is also good for most of the same types of applications but cannot withstand the high temperatures than that of Unitrex Lf20. The PTFE Filled PEEK has a melting point of 650 degrees F while the PTFE Filled Delrin – Unital Lf13 has a melt point of 347 degrees F, making both materials high temperature plastics.

Because the Nytef Unitrex Lf20 is filled with PTFE (which has the lowest co-efficient of friction of any plastic), it is ideal for sliding and wear applications. It also has a kinetic and static friction resistance of 0.1 which makes it the perfect choice for jobs were heat from friction should not be generated and part longevity is critical. Unitrex Lf20 offers superior properties to many other plastics, such as high heat and chemical resistance but also great friction resistance along with improved properties to make it a great plastic for a wide spectrum of uses.

Why Change from Vespel SP-1 or PCTFE to Unitrex Lf20?

While this new PTFE Filled PEEK will not replace the Vespel SP-1 and PCTFE in all applications, it certainly will in many applications (see table for comparison). The main reason to make a change is, drum roll please, COST. The Unitrex Lf20 is up to 30% less expensive that the other materials. With similar and comparable properties, consider making the change.

Unitrex Lf20 also exhibits a far superior chemical resistance to that of its Delrin counterpart due to PEEK having a far better range of chemical resistance to aqueous and organic environments as well as acids and alkalines. Delrin tends to degrade when exposed to such chemicals like sulfuric acid and chlorine while PEEK only tends to be attacked by halogens and hydrocarbons such as in crude oils. For additional properties and to compare the Unitrex LF-20 to Dupont Vespel SP-1 and PCTFE see the table below. Here is a copy of the full data sheet on Nytef Unitrex Lf20.

 

Standard Properties Table

Properties TestMethod Unit UnitrexLF20 Nominal Value PCTFE(Kel-f) Nominal Value VespelSP-1 Nominal Value
Specific Gravity ASTM-D-792 1.42 2.1 – 2.14 1.43
Tensile Strength ASTM-D-638 psi 11,500 4,800 – 5,300 12,500
Tensile Modulus ASTM-D-638 psi 460,000 207,000
Flexural Modulus ASTM-D-790 psi 500,000 180,000 450,000
Rockwell Hardness ASTM-D-785 84-D 90-D 45 – 60 E
Melting Point DSC degress F 650 410 – 415 680+
Flammability UL 94 @ 3.0mm V-0 V-0 V-0
Kinetic Coef. of Friction ASTM-D-1894 0.1
Static Coef. of Friction ASTM-D-1894 0.1

For additional details on these and other materials, please contact us here or call us at 866-832-9315

Unitrex and Unital are registered trademarks of Nytef Plastics, Ltd.
Nytef is a US manufacturer of plastic sheet and rod, is based in Bensalem, PA
Delrin and Vespel are registered trademarks of E.I. Dupont

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