Custom molded polyurethane products offer a wealth of options for companies that need a component that is extremely durable and cost-effective. There are few limitations on what engineers can do with polyurethane, and because the material regularly outperforms metals, plastics and rubbers in durability and stability tests, it is a standard option in many industries. This includes industries that demand the absolute most from their materials, like the oil and gas, aerospace, automotive and construction industries. But it’s not just about polyurethane’s durability, as it can be customized extensively and done so with short lead times.
Custom Molded Polyurethane Products, a Major Advantage
Polyurethane can be fabricated into almost any shape or size, and even used to coat an existing part to give it improved properties. Some of the most common polyurethane components include:
It can also be fabricated into larger components, such as augers, conveyors or elevators in the agriculture industry. Again, there is little the material cannot do.
But why is polyurethane asked to do so much?
It starts with its durability. Consider the other primary materials that polyurethane competes with – including metal, rubber and plastic.
Compared to Metal – Polyurethane offers superior abrasive resistance when compared to metal, and is much lighter, making it easier to install and maintain. Polyurethane is also more resistant to corrosive effects and costs less to fabricate than metal. This is primarily due to the more extensive machining efforts required to produce metal components, while polyurethane components require little, if any, machining.
Compared to Rubber – Polyurethane provides better tensile strength, so it will not tear as easily as rubber. Polyurethane is also more resilient than rubber, provides superior abrasive resistance and can withstand exposure to ozone better. Polyurethane can also handle exposure to oils better than rubber, and can be fabricated with impermeability to fluids.
Compared to Plastic – Polyurethane is, again, more resilient, and better equipped to handle abrasion than plastic. Polyurethane is also much better at turning away impact forces and will retain its shape more readily. Plastic cannot manage the same heavy loads that polyurethane can, nor can it reduce noise like polyurethane can. In fact, polyurethane operates much more quietly than all other materials, which is a concern for manufacturing facilities that need to manage their noise levels for worker safety.
There are several advantages to custom molded polyurethane products that go beyond material durability and stability, as well. Some of these advantages have to do with how polyurethane products are fabricated, and include:
- Polyurethane components can be fabricated with minimal effort – In many cases, drawings are not required to produce a custom component, as they can be reverse engineered from an existing component. However, if drawings are required, Marine Urethane’s expert engineering crew can produce them in 3D modeling programs and prototype them for a client, ensuring they offer the necessary physical properties for the client’s task.
- Polyurethane components require little machining – Because they are molded from a machined mold, they require little machining of their own. This is not true with other materials, like plastic and metal. Skipping the machining process will greatly reduce lead times and cost.
- Polyurethane components can be fabricated to any scale – No matter how many components a client needs, whether they need a single component or thousands of them, the process is efficient and cost-effective.
- Polyurethane components can be produced with any physical properties – Polyurethane is built for the task, so whether it needs to be rigid and smooth, or highly flexible, polyurethane is up to the task. In fact, polyurethane can mimic many of the properties of metal or rubber in terms of their surface properties.
- Polyurethane can be bonded to other substrates – Some clients need components that contain more than just polyurethane, and may need plastic or metal parts as well. Polyurethane is unique in that it can be readily bonded to many other materials, including metal and plastic, giving it expanded customization options.
- Polyurethane can be fabricated in a hurry – No other material offers the excellent lead times that polyurethane does. Orders can be filled in a fraction of the time that metal or plastic components require.
Polyurethane is a marvel of modern engineering, using the best material and chemical sciences available to produce a material that is inexpensive, tough and versatile. And part of that versatility is its ability to be fabricated in any form, no matter what the job calls for.