Heavy process industries represent an ever-growing market for high-performance polyurethanes. But with the proliferation of next-generation polyurethanes, the selection of the best material for a particular application can prove challenging. This article outlines the ABC of engineered polyurethane and provides some tips on selecting the correct polyurethane to suit your specific bulk handling product needs.
A – The Alternatives
Without too much discussion on the technicalities of the chemistries involved, it is important to acknowledge that the composition of polyurethane is not all the same. For instance, Isocyanates form one part of the prepolymer and affect the cure characteristics of the polyurethane. The main alternative high performance polyurethanes are either diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI) or toluene diisocyanate (TDI). Then there are 2 further alternatives – hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) or isophorone diisocyanate (IPDI).
Functionally they have the same performance properties but these latter two exhibit specific characteristics such as inhibition of yellowing in parts that will be exposed to sunlight.
Polyols also contribute to the function of polyurethane: in particular polyether polyols produce Shore A and Shore D hardness systems that, depending on additives used, feature high tear strength and superior abrasion resistance. Whereas polyester polyols are combined isocyanates to form Shore A hardness with outstanding elongation characteristics. Depending on the formulation and the processing temperature decides the final polyurethane type. Hybrids of these create even further alternatives. Confused? You are not alone.
B – The Benefits
The key benefits of many of the new high-performance polyurethanes are property combinations that were previously not available including: high heat, high impact, high modulus products as well as systems that can withstand exposure to gouging, cutting, chemicals, oils and solvents.
In addition, for parts that come in contact with oats, wheat and cereals, some MDI polyurethanes are now FDA-approved for dry food contact.
But the real benefits can best be observed when compared to traditional steel lining systems. The first benefit is the simplicity of installing polyurethane. When compared to steel that requires labour intensive construction and welding, a polyurethane lining system is light-weight and can either be glued or bolted on. The benefits over steel also includes significantly lower noise levels, which not improves only employee working conditions, but when operations are close to residential areas this needs to be a priority consideration.
C – Your Choice
It is expected that every bulk handling site has its different conditions and so your criteria for choosing a polyurethane lining should be handled in order of priority. If abrasion resistance is the primary requirement, this should be the starting point followed by hardness, elongation, impact strength or ability to handle a load or high temperatures.
Consider now Kinder & Co’s K-Superline® Polyurethane, a unique purposely engineered polyurethane to meet the particular demands of heavy process bulk handling. It is available in 6 colours depending on its sliding abrasion and level of elasticity, impact angle and resistance, plus suitability for lump size. By correctly matching your requirements against the K-Superline characteristics, an easy and genuine replacement for steel wear liners can be found.
Determining the best material for a project requires a thorough understanding of flow materials as well as polyurethane properties to get the best and most cost effective result.
With the recent advances in chemistries, a next-generation of thermoset polyurethanes now offers new options other than steel for moulding durable flow materials. With unique combinations of performance characteristics, such as outstanding tear strength, high resistance to abrasion, as well as high impact strength, the switch to polyurethane makes good business sense.
Neil Kinder, managing director at Kinder & Co adds:
“We can look to other significant heavy process countries such as the USA and China to see the level of uptake of these new materials. Australia has a reputation for being an early adopter of new technologies so we should use this opportunity and utilise the benefits of polyurethane to our advantage. The key is knowing which is the best polyurethane for your application.”
Ask Kinder & Co on the best choice of high performance polyurethane for your application.
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For further information contact Christine Kinder, Marketing Manager on 03 9587 9244