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

PTFE Sheet versus UHMW SheetsUHMW sheet compared with PTFE sheet Thread Seal Tape

UHMW (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) and PTFE Sheet (PolyTetraFlouroEthylene) are very similar materials, and yet very different at the same time. They both possess certain characteristics that make them similar to each other. For instance, they both have a very low co-efficient of friction, which means they are great for sliding applications and are easy to machine.

Both of these materials are very resistant to chemicals such as chlorine and some acids and have great wear resistance. They have low to no water absorption. They also are FDA approved for handling food. PTFE and UHMW Polyethylene are both nearly impossible to bond (without treatment) and are susceptible to sagging under tensile load which is called ‘creep’. These both have very low coefficient of friction and work well for wear strips, slide pads and truck liners to make it easy to empty. These two materials are different in many ways also, and choosing between the two materials for a specific job is critical.

Below are a few examples of how these two materials are different.

1. UHMW is a polyolefin and PTFE is a fluoropolymer. Polyolefins are double bonded carbon while Fluoropolymers are carbon and fluorine bonded. UHMW is a monomer which is consisted of one atom that will bond with another to form a polymer. PTFE is a polymer which is made up of a repeating chain of monomers.UHMW Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Truck Lining

2. PTFE has a higher temperature range than UHMW. The PTFE has a continuous use temperature of 500 degrees F. UHMW is much lower with a continuous use temperature of 200 degrees F and a melting point of 271 degrees F. The UHMW starts to become become soft at higher temperatures while the PTFE is much more resistant and with a melting point of 621 degrees F.

3. UHMW has higher abrasion resistance than PTFE. Both have great impact and wear resistance but because of UHMW having a molecular weight between 2-6 million making it the best wear resistance material in the plastic family, it makes it ideal to take wear and impact over a wider range and longer period of time without losing its properties.

4. UHMW has a much lower density than PTFE. This makes UHMW able to float in water while Fluoropolymers are significantly heavier (almost twice the density of UHMW) and would sink.

5. PTFE has excellent electrical and thermal properties. The virgin grade of PTFE is a better insulator and exhibits better electrical properties which can be used in radio frequencies, cables and circuit boards while UHMW cannot.

6. UHMW is much less expensive than the Fluoropolymers. Especially recently, PTFE has become harder to come by, and during the last 18 months there has been a global shortage of a key raw material called fluorspar that is used to make all Fluoropolymer materials. The ability to take lots of wear and tear and requiring low long term maintenance makes UHMW more cost effective.

7. The standard color of PTFE is Natural, which is a dense white. The UHMW comes in Natural (a deep milky white) or Black. The UHMW can be produced in many colors, and minimums are rather low. To obtain PTFE in colors is much more difficult, and would also have large minimum orders.

Click here for data sheet comparisons for each material…

UHMW Sheet and Rod Data

PTFE Sheet and Rod Data

Both the UHMW and the PTFE are available as sheet, sheets, sheeting, slab, bar, strip, panels, film, round rod, rods and block. Contact us for assistance with these or other shapes.

PTFE Sheeting Properties

  • Specific Gravity D792 2.14 – 2.24
  • Tensile Strength Yield D638 2,500 – 6,000UHMW Polyethylene Timing Roller
  • Tensile Modulus D638 80,000
  • Izod Impact – Notched D256 3.0
  • Hardness – Rockwell D785 D50 – D65
  • Deflection Temp @ 264psi D648 150
  • Deflection Temp @ 66 psi D648 250
  • Co. Thermal Expansion D696 5.5X10-5

UHMW Sheeting Properties

  • Specific Gravity D792 .93 – .94
  • Tensile Strength Yield D638 6,800
  • Coefficient of Friction – Static D1894 .25
  • Izod Impact – Notched D256 No Break
  • Hardness – Rockwell D785 R64
  • Vicat Softening Temp D1525 260
  • Deflection Temp @ 66 psi D648 174
  • Co. Thermal Expansion D696 11.0X10-5

These are just some examples of plastic materials being similar, and yet having very different properties. The PTFE Sheet and UHMW Sheet may appear very similar in color and can be used for some of the same applications, but when needed for a specific use or property needed, one might be dramatically better than the other. As the old saying goes, “You should never judge a book by its cover” and the same is true with plastic. Review the properties and test prior to choosing a final material for your application.

Call us for further assistance at 866-832-9315, or click here to contact us with your questions.

Additional Information About UHMW Sheets or Rod Here.

Additional Information About The Discovery Of PTFE Sheet and Rod by Dupont Here

Google+ Author – Hayden Hess

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Topic: UHMW Sheet and PTFE Sheet – A Comparison

Which Plastic Sheet or Plastic Sheets?

A wide variety of plastics are available in sheet form.

The term: ‘Plastic Sheet‘ or ‘Plastic Sheets’ is more of a general statement covering over a hundred types of plastic materials and plastic products. Some of the most popular plastic materials made as a sheet are:

Wide range of plastic materials in sheet

In addition to the wide range of plastic materials available as plastic sheet, most of these materials are also available as: thin gauge or film, strip, plate, block, slab and plastic panels. The thin gauge or film materials are frequently available with or without a pressure sensitive adhesive also called ‘tape’. Sheet in some materials is available over 4.0″ thick and perhaps as thick as 8.0″ thick in a few materials. The standard sheet size on most of our plastic sheets is either 24″ X 48″ or the larger 48″ X 96″ sheet size; although some materials are available as: 48″ X 120″, 60″ X 96″ or 72″ X 96″. Contact us with with questions on your required piece sizes, we are happy to provide plastic sheets cut to size.

While there are lots and lots of different materials available as plastic sheet, there may only be one or two materials that are right for your application. We want to assist with your search. If you need help choosing the proper plastic material for your application, check out our free Plastic Material Selector Guide. Also, feel free to contact us for further assistance. As a leading plastic sheet distributor since 1975, we feel that we are your best choice as your new plastic sheet and sheets supplier. Give us a call at 866-832-9315.
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Topic: Various Plastic Sheet Materials Available


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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How to choose your PTFE Sheet Suppliers

Choosing a PTFE – TFE Sheet Supplier can be difficult, confusing and potentially costly. There are many industries and applications where PTFE – TFE Sheet materials are used, and many providers that want to fill this need. However, it can be difficult to find a supplier that meets all of your business’ PTFE – TFE Sheet needs. To help you choose the supplier that is right for your business, we have compiled this list of 7 things you must know when picking PTFE – TFE Sheet Suppliers.

1. PTFE – TFE is available in many shapes and sizesVirgin PTFE Gasket 7 Things You Must Know When Choosing Your PTFE Sheet Suppliers

Polytetraflouroethylene (PTFE) can be ordered in many different forms, including rods, sheets, blocks, strips, slabs and tubes. As your business grows, you may need access to one or more additional configurations – or perhaps your business is already using multiple configurations. Choose the proper PTFE Sheet Supplier that can meet not only your current needs, but future needs as well. You can view further information about the shapes and sizes as well as and resin properties on our PTFE – TFE information page here.

2. There are a variety of PTFE – TFE Sheet thicknesses to choose from

It is important to have access to multiple sheet thicknesses, and convenient and cost effective to access them all from one Sheet Supplier. That’s why Industrial Plastic Supply offers sheet thicknesses ranging from .005″ to 3.0″, and rod diameters from .125″ to 6.0″. Film is also available. As with in stock availability, your PTFE Sheet Supplier should also be able to meet all of your Sheet thickness needs. Standard sheet sizes are 48” X 48”, and films generally are stocked in 12” wide rolls.

3. Not all PTFE materials are created equal

Some PTFE – TFE Sheet Suppliers order materials from ‘who ever they can get it from’ on an as-needed basis. This brings the question of quality and consistency to mind. There are many manufacturers, including some from China and Russia with questionable quality ratings and machinability. Before committing to a quality PTFE Sheet Supplier, make sure that the supplier is using a reputable manufacturer, and that the quality of material meets your needs. Getting stuck with a poor quality, difficult or impossible to machine block of PTFE can be time consuming and costly.

4. Minimum material order amounts matter

Large Sheet Suppliers and other plastic suppliers often have high minimum order requirements. This makes sense for high volume applications, but for small businesses, or any business in the clutch, it may be necessary to request a smaller total order. Rather than work with multiple PTFE or Plastic Sheet Suppliers based on order size, choose a supplier that can service any order whether large or small. Industrial Plastic Supply has a low minimum material order of $20.

5. Many suppliers do not keep inventory in stockPTFE sheet and PTFE rods 7 Things You Must Know When Choosing Your PTFE Sheet Suppliers

Just like Grandpa used to say, “You can’t sell from an empty cart”.

Buying your materials from a plastic ‘broker’, means you may have to wait while they try to find the materials to fulfill your requirements. It may also mean that you get the quality of material that they can find quickly. While this may be acceptable for materials that are rarely ordered, your PTFE Sheet Supplier should have your business’ most commonly used materials on hand. This avoids delays and ensures the quickest possible turnaround times on your important orders, and materials from stock means a quality product for your parts.

6. Industry knowledge is critical

You want a Sheet Supplier that not only can deliver your materials, but answer any questions you may have, including the tough ones – whenever they arise. Finding a quality PTFE Sheet Supplier with expert knowledge and great availability will save your business headaches in the long run. Industrial Plastic Supply’s highly trained staff has an average of nineteen and a half years of experience in the plastic industry, and are only a phone call or e-mail away.

7. Choose a supplier with focus

A focus on industrial grade plastic supplies ensures that a supplier is specialized and knowledgeable enough to be your PTFE Sheet Supplier. By focusing on plastics, such a supplier will be dedicated to your mechanical plastic Sheets, Rods, Tube and other shape needs, no matter the application, and no matter how your business changes. Your important orders will be processed timely and efficiently. Since 1975, Industrial Plastic Supply has focused on the mechanical and machinable plastics market, and nothing else. For more information on PTFE Sheets or other plastic materials, contact Industrial Plastic Supply, 866-832-9315. We will work to earn your business. Also, compare PTFE with UHMW or read our post UHMW Sheet versus PTFE Sheets; or read our post How to use PTFE Rod for ideas.

Google+ – Hayden Hess

Topic: PTFE Sheet Suppliers

How to use Virgin PTFE Rod

PTFE Rod is a remarkable product. PTFE – Polytetrafluoroethylene was discovered on April 6, 1938 by Dr. Roy Plunkett at the DuPont research laboratories. And this original PTFE was further developed by Dupont, and was released as a product in 1945.

This product is extremely chemical resistant, and can handle temperatures above 500 degrees. One of the first household uses for PTFE is the ‘PTFE Coated Frying Pan’. While this pan works very well, it is a different process than the PTFE Rod and Sheet we supply. It is a sprayed on coating that is almost black in color, where the pure PTFE Rod and Sheet is bright white in PTFE Round Rod Steam Valve Packingcolor.

What are some of the uses for PTFE TFE Rod?

Because PTFE exhibits high temperature and chemical resistance, it is commonly used in valve applications. From simple steam / hot water valves to high heat, caustic chemical valves in the fluid handling industries. This material is a semi-rigid to rigid plastic, and can be machined very easily – one of the easiest plastics to work with. The PTFE rod can be machined to very close tolerance, and in most small diameter rod it is supplied with a +.002″/-.00″ on the diameter (check for tolerance on your requested size). The chemical resistance is one of the key properties associated with the material. In sheet or thin sheet (film) PTFE is used as gasket material for similar high heat and chemical resistant flange and seals.

PTFE RodPTFE sheet and film - used as gasket material

Since 1945 Dupont has been the world leader in producing PTFE resins. Over the last couple of years, with the global shortage of Fluorspar (a key ingredient in producing all Fluoropolymer Plastics) Dupont has made some changes to their product offerings. Included in this change is a discontinuation of the production of one of most common granular molding powder (resin) used in the production of PTFE Rod and Sheet. This has the industry in a panic, the remaining global suppliers of PTFE resin are scrabbling to fill the void left by this decision. What does this mean to you? If you are used to purchasing PTFE rod or sheet, you may find the base materials may not be from Dupont. Our suppliers have small amounts of the Dupont resin, but mostly are replacing their raw materials with molding powder from other manufacturers. It may be, in the very near future, that all PTFE rod and PTFE sheet may not be made from Dupont brand resin.

Click here for current pricing on PTFE Rod.

UHMW rod is also a very slippery plastic material, but it does not take the high heat the PTFE rod does.

If you are one of the many clients that need this material, please contact us for clarification, information, supply chain news and possible changes in sources of supply. Call us at 866-832-9315 or email us here.

Thank you,

Industrial Plastic Supply

Before You Choose, read 7 Things You Must Know When Choosing Your PTFE Sheet Suppliers.

Google+ – Hayden Hess