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 Ultem Sheet and Rod Shortages Causing Manufacturing Slow Downs Ultem Sheet and Rod Shortages Causing Manufacturing Slow Downs Sabic Ultem 1000 Sheet and Ultem 1000 Rods

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 delays Ultem Sheet and Rod Shortages Causing Manufacturing Slow Downs Ultem Sheet and Rod Shortages Causing Manufacturing Slow Downs sabic ultem shortageproduced 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



Ultem® Sheets Rods – Polyetherimide, PEI

Polyetherimide or PEI is the generic name for one of the popular engineering resins. The most common resin supplier for this material is Sabic Plastics (formerly known at G.E. Plastics). This material comes in two common varieties used in the production of plastic shapes, the first is Ultem® 1000 which is an unfilled – natural material, the standard color for unfilled PEI is a transparent amber. The second is Ultem® 2300, which is a 30% glass filled PEI resin, this resin is a creamy tan color. Several other resins are available, including different percentages of glass fill, black pigment or color, and a few high end specialty grades. Ultem 1000 Machined Parts, PEI Ultem® 1000 and 2300 Sheets and Rods - Polyetherimide or PEI Ultem® 1000 and 2300 Sheets and Rods - Polyetherimide or PEI Ultem Machined Parts1

Ultimate Ultem 1000

Some members our our industry refer to Ultem® as the ‘ultimate’ in plastic materials. With some of the best available properties, this material out performs most plastics in critical applications. This material is certified to: FDA compliance, USDA, 3A and also USP Class VI for medical use. Polyetherimides have exceptional tensile and flexural strengths and excellent electrical properties. Ultem® resins have inherent flame resistance and are UL 94 5VA at .075″. It machines very well, and can be used at temperatures of 340 degrees continuous.

Polyetherimide – PEI is the Ultimate Resin

The Polyetherimide family of plastic resins really excel in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. These industries have incredible demands on plastic materials, and most plastics fail quickly. Ultem resins handle the heat, chemical, stress better than almost any other material. For complete technical data sheets and more information chick for data sheet page. Sabic Polymer resins - formerly general electric plastics Ultem® 1000 and 2300 Sheets and Rods - Polyetherimide or PEI Ultem® 1000 and 2300 Sheets and Rods - Polyetherimide or PEI sabic

Several of our major manufacturers produce Ultem® PEI resins into stock sheets and rods. Some trade names from these suppliers are: Unitem®, Tempalux®, Sustatec® and many more. Ultem has some of the best properties of all the available plastic materials. Some materials that have some similar properties: Acetal, Radel, PEEK, PTFE. Check the data sheets on each of these materials to help in deciding which material is appropriate for your application.

Rod is normally available in rod from .375″ – 4.0″ diameters, and sheets from .125″ – over 2.0″ thickness, and we stock many items for immediate shipment. Additional sizes are available on request, including larger diameters, thicknesses, molded tube, extruded shapes, strips and bars.
Contact us for more details on this exceptional material. Email us or call us at 866-832-9315

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Large engineering plastic from Gehr Plastics

One of our secret claims to fame

Since 1975 we have provided large diameter plastic rods and thick plastic sheets, plates, slabs and blocks. One of our long time ‘secret’ sources has been Gehr Plastics. Since 1932 the Gehr family has owned and operated the Gehr Plastics company. They are a worldwide leader in semi-finished plastic shapes in thermoplastics, primarily sheet and rod. The headquarters for Gehr Plastics is in Mannheim, in south western Germany. For almost 30 years, Gehr Plastics has had production facilities in the Philadelphia area, providing the USA with the same high quality plastic shapes. When we mention large diameter rod, we mean it! Gehr can produce plastic rod up to almost 20″ diameter in several grades of plastic. They also produce sheet plastics up to 8″ thick, and make the largest materials of most manufacturers of plastic sheets and rods.

At Gehr Plastics, Quality Engineering Plastic Comes First

Our first purchases with Gehr Plastics was in the PVC rod family. Once again, they make huge cross sections in many materials, including the PVC rod. Many manufacturers struggle with large sections of PVC rod because keeping it void free throughout the large diameter is very difficult. Not for Gehr Plastics, they specialize in engineering plastic materials. We have chosen this high quality manufacture for their exceptional product quality. We know the demands of our client base, and only choose the best factories to supply our products. Gehr is definitely one of the premier plastics producers in the world. While the quality of the PVC rod is excellent, the rest of the Gehr Plastics product line is also some of the best plastic semi-finished shapes available in the market place. Here is a list of some of the many materials that Gehr Plastic produces:

Many of the above items are also available in sheets, plates, slabs or blocks.Gehr Plastics PVC, ABS, POM-C, Acetal and Ultem Rods engineering plastic specialists Large Plastic Sheet and Plastic Rods from Gehr Plastics Large Plastic Sheet and Plastic Rods from Gehr Plastics gehr logo1

Gehr Plastics – one of our engineering plastic partners

We have been proud to offer the complete line of plastic rod, sheet, slab, plate and block from Gehr Plastics, and consider them a highly valued partner in supplying these engineering plastic materials to you, our valued client. For more information on the size range, availability and pricing on these and other plastic materials, click here or call us at 866-832-9315

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Innovative Plastics Manufacturer

Produces Innovative Sheet and Rod Materials

Gehr Plastics has been a major global manufacturer in the plastic sheet and rod industry since 1932. During this period, Gehr has become a leader in a variety of product lines, and also become known for very large sizes in both sheet and rod. Currently Gehr can produce Acetal rod up to 20″ in diameter and sheets up to 8″ thick. Gehr Plastics PVC, ABS, POM-C, Acetal and Ultem Rods Innovative Plastic Materials from an Innovative Manufacturer Innovative Plastic Materials from an Innovative Manufacturer gehr logo1  Some of the many plastic materials the Gehr produces:

Winner of the 2008 Bioplastics Award

Bio Based EcoGehr Plastic Rod Innovative Plastic Materials from an Innovative Manufacturer Innovative Plastic Materials from an Innovative Manufacturer ecogehr Being innovative also means looking forward. Gehr was selected as the Bioplastics manufacturer of the year in 2008, partly for the new line of plastic materials which have a bio base. These materials have a variety of bio based forms, including: a PLA base, Cellulose based, Polyamide and Wood – Plastic Composite (WPC). One such material is ECOGEHR PLA-L which is a blend of polylactic (polylactic acid), some lignine, fatty acid and wax. This biopolymer is new to our industry and can be used in temperatures ranging from -22 °F to +140 °F. This complete line of materials is one of the only available in the plastic industry to be comprised of many renewable raw materials. Gehr leads the way in this exceptional and innovative product line.

ClearGehr Polyamide Rod

This brand new product is a Clear Polyamide rod. The outside surface is as extruded, and can be polished. This enables the production of a relatively clear sight glass quality material with most of the high end properties of Polyamide – Nylon material. We have supplied this material for small machined parts where neither Polycarbonate nor Acrylic would work well. Because of the natural inherit chemical resistance of Polyamide, this high end ClearGehr rod can out perform all normal transparent plastics. Give us a call to see if this new innovative product will work in your difficult application.

FDA Approved Wear Grade Acetal

Have you been looking for an extended wear Acetal material (like the PTFE filled Acetals – Delrin AF), but need it to be FDA approved? Then perhaps you should consider WearGehr. This propriatary filled Acetal material has excellent wear resistance, and retains the FDA approval of the base Acetal, unlike the PTFE filled Acetals which are not FDA approved. It is made in a blue color for easy identification, also it remains very machinable. Contact us for more information on this excellent high tech material. Call us at 866-832-9315 or send us a note here.

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