JC Finley’s UHMW (or “ultra high molecular weight polyethylene”) is a remarkably tough plastic known for its superior resistance to wear and abrasions. As its unabbreviated name suggests, UHMW has a remarkably high molecular weight compared to other hard plastics. It is this exceptional characteristic that gives UHMW its unique combination of strength and durability while maintaining a minimal coefficient of friction. It is a favorite for high-contact applications in which materials are to glide from one spot to another such as conveyors, chutes, and hoppers. In many industrial settings, UHMW is used to protect metal components and ensure that loose product (dirt, rocks, debris, etc.) does not get stuck and impede processes. Available in handy rolls or large sheets, UHMW tape also adheres this slick quality to any surface with ease (a stubborn desk drawer, for instance).
In addition to its strength and slickness, UHMW also performs well as a sound-dampening material. For this reason, it is used frequently in the bottling industry to minimize the “clinking” of glass bottles as they journey through the plant or distribution center. The UHMW aspect helps to protect the bottles themselves and extend the life of the metal machinery through which they pass.
UHMW and other polyethylenes are much too tough and unstable to mold, so UHMW fabricating is essential. Though it is extremely tough and slick, UHMW fabrication is fairly commonplace and can be done with relative ease for UHMW fabricators of every skill level. UHMW machining, on the other hand, can be rather difficult given its relatively low melting point (270 degrees) and other factors. For this reason, UHMW machining is best left to experts.
In terms of UHMW distribution and sales, the material is available in cut-to-size sheets and rods of varying thicknesses and comes in a number of colors and grades depending on your needs. Contact the UHMW fabrication experts at JC Finley to learn more or to get started.