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Monday, 22-Oct-2012 02:17 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Flat washers

Flat washers or disks have had a long and useful history ever since their use was documented in some ancient 13th century documents in the UK. They are used to serve as a buffer between two metal parts, or as spacers, to provide cushioning or for friction reduction and also for evenly distributing loads. Washers can also prevent movement and vibration between two heavy moving parts, and serve as a flat, smooth surface for one part to move or get tightened onto another. In many instances, a flat washer serves to bridge the gap when the hole is slightly larger than the bolt or screw that needs to be used.

They are made of different kinds of material and the choice of material depends on the application for which the washers are to be used.

Wood, leather, fabric, all kinds of metals, like steel, copper, iron, aluminum, bronze, brass, zinc etc, ceramic, paper, rubber and plastic are some of the commonly used materials. Compounds, bi-metals and alloys are also used for special purposes. Washers are extensively used in the plumbing and construction industries. They can also serve as a corrosion prevention device especially when used between two metal parts. Some metal flat washers are pre-treated with heat to withstand high temperatures. Other composite materials include glass-filled nylon, cotton-reinforced plastics, fiberglass etc.

Plastic and nylon flat washers are especially useful in the electrical and electronics industries, where their hard-wearing qualities are of great importance. These materials are also non-conducting and so they serve as insulation between two metal parts. Since plastic is also a material that does not catch fire easily, this is another reason why plastic and nylon washers are used in these industries. When threaded parts are tightened with an intervening washer, they are securely fastened and they are also able to have a good grip without further movement as they get fixed into position. Plastic flat washers also protect the parts against getting damaged due to rust, moisture and other corrosive weathering.

Flat washers may also be coated with other substances if required in certain applications and industries. Zinc and chrome plating are commonly used for protection against corrosion while providing a decorative look, while black powder coating offers protection against moisture and rust. Flat washers may also be painted in different colors to distinguish their use.

Generally washer sizes are standardized across the world according to thickness, diameter and hole size. However, many manufacturers offer customized products if required.

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Monday, 22-Oct-2012 02:16 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Plastic plugs

Plastic plugs are designed to protect different items, pipes, tubes, machinery and equipment from damage during storage, shipping or handling, and also from external elements like dust and dirt, moisture, grease and other contaminants. Plastic is the material of choice since it is cheap, lightweight and very easy to install. It is also resistant to heat, cold, water and a wide range of aggressive solvents, acids and gases. Since plastic is very ductile and malleable, it can be molded into a variety of designs. The domed design ensures that any water that falls on the plug slides off, while tabs and tamper-proof pulls ensure the safety and security of materials during storage and transportation.

Tapered design: These plugs can also be used as end caps for tubes and pipes or as finishing accessories. In normal usage, the manufacturers recommend that the plug size is slightly larger in diameter than the pipe or tube end that it is meant to plug. When vinyl plugs are used, they offer more flexibility and can be stretched across the tube or pipe for better grip or fit. Generally made of low density polyethylene and this prevents the entry of dirt, dust and moisture. Plastic material also does not corrode so this ensures protection during long periods of storage and shipment conditions.

Heavy-duty: plastic plugs have an additional sealing gasket or ring design for better grip and protection.

Wide-flange: This design is suitable when impact or load-bearing is required. The flange design ensures that the plug does not move by accident into the opposite part during shipping/handling.

Push-fit: Generally used in the automotive and engineering fields, these caps protect the exposed ends of studs and can be removed and replaced easily.

Threaded plugs: When there is a requirement to protect exposed pipe ends from dust, dirt and moisture, threaded plugs are ideal. They are used wherever firm closure and sealing are required as in pneumatic, automotive and hydraulic industries and the threaded tightening ensures that they don't get removed accidentally.

Gas-cylinder Valve: To ensure that leakage of gas does not take place, plastic plugs with a tamper-proof and tamper-evident tab are the best solution. These are removed only when required and also have provision for a label or check mark by the personnel in the factory to ensure complete safety. These valve plugs also have a vent flap that ensures that any excess build-up of gas pressure can be safely released.

All these varieties of plugs are available in different densities of plastic, plastic compounds like PVC, polyethylene, polypropylene, etc and can be easily molded to the appropriate specifications. Many manufacturers also offer customized plug designs based on specific requirements and these can be ordered either from the local retailer or from an on-line catalog supplied by the manufacturers.

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Monday, 22-Oct-2012 02:14 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Plastic handles

Plastic compounds are used in a variety of industrial and commercial applications. Since it is easily moldable, can be colored, textured and given different finishes and is also lightweight, heat-resistant, non-conducting and does not burn easily, it is used extensively in manufacture of handles, grips and knobs especially where durability and good looks are as important as their other qualities. Plastic handles are also much cheaper than their metal, ceramic or wood counter-parts, they may also be oven and microwave safe, can be used in temperatures up to 200C and they're also easy to clean. When attached to pans or skillets, they can be safety put into dishwashers unlike wooden handles which may crack or rot in repeated presence of hot, soapy water.

When used in machinery, plastic handles may be reinforced with metals like stainless steel or aluminum. They may also have additional rubber or silicone grips, which don't transmit heat and have a chromium plated finish to prevent corrosion. Keeping the handle flush to the equipment is important to avoid snagging or hurt when people pass close to the machines. This can be done by using spring-loaded handles. Indexed clamping handles which should be returned to the correct position after use are also manufactured in plastic since they can be color-coded for different applications.

Some varieties of plastic handles:

Bridge: This style is ideal for a secure grip and they can be in different colors for different applications. The bridge style is solidly anchored to the machine, door or equipment by its two ends which are screwed in place. Angled bridge style is another option available in this design.

Pull: These handles are for lightweight pulling applications and can be in decorative, glossy or matte finish. Ergonomic designs are available in this variety for ease of use.

Stand-off: plastic handles with a metal insert for better strength is a good option for slightly heavier duty pulling applications.

Finger-carrying: plastic handles are small, circular handles for very lightweight applications and can be operated by a single, two or three fingers.

Concealed/Recessed: these are fixed by the movement of the handle into a mounting-hole. They offer better finish as they remain flush with the door or machinery surface. However they are not as strong as the bridge style since they have a spring loaded format.

Corrugated Box Handles: are used in a variety of retail applications like boxes and plastic carry-bags for apparel, foods, fruit/sweets/chocolate, detergent and soap boxes, toys, glassware, appliances etc. They are similar to the finger-carrying handles but they can be manufactured according to the retailer's specifications and customized for special uses.

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Monday, 22-Oct-2012 02:10 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Silicone paper

Emerging technologies in the paper industry have seen the advent of various types of coated paper. These are used in applications like soap-covers, labels, industrial materials and coatings and food and beverage packaging. Silicone is ideal for pressure-intensive and sensitive adhering and can form a very thin coating that is very durable, resistant to heat, temperature changes, moisture, exposure to sunlight and also holds dyes and colors well without leakage or staining. This kind of lamination also protects and increases the life of important documents and ensures that they are not torn, spoiled or damaged. Silicone and its compounds are highly versatile and suitable for a variety of applications. They are used for sealing, surfacing, coating and as adhesives where they provide very strong, practically unbreakable bonds with the base material.

Silicone paper, a term which is used to characterize hundreds of types of silicone-coated papers, refers to paper that is coated on one or both sides with a thin film of silicone polymer. This makes it highly heat resistant and when used as a surface-coating, silicone surfacing allows some level of protection to your documents and papers. Water slides off the surface coated with silicone, so there is no risk of valuable documents getting damaged by rain or spillages. Silicone also flows easily and this makes it ideal as a coating substance which does not react to most solvents and other aggressive chemicals. It is available in long sheets of different widths or in rolls, and can be cut into suitable sizes and shapes by hand or by automated die-cut process. In some applications, the thin layer of silicone may also be peeled off when required.

Label and tape manufacturers use silicone paper in many processes. Self-adhesive stickers, labels, construction products and protecting valuable works of art and craft is possible by the use of silicone paper. In many instances, the silicone layer can be de-linked later which makes paper re-cycling possible. Since silicone coatings are highly resistant to sunlight and UV exposure, they are suitable for sticking-labels on products which need to be stored outdoors or in window displays. The use of silicone in paper manufacturing is extremely eco-friendly, since it helps to reduce the use of aggressive chemicals and solvents. They also do not form hazardous by-products and are hence useful in waste water management systems.

Silicone paper can be used as pouches for wrapping soap and packaging liquid soap/detergents, corrugated cardboard cartons and boxes, packaging for tea/coffee, medicines, pharmaceutical and surgical products. Silicone paper can also be used to pack steel/metal/iron products since it is waterproof. Silicone coatings are also lightweight and hence reduce transportation costs.

Depending on your requirements, silicone paper can be purchased directly from the manufacturers or from local outlets that supply such items.

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Thursday, 11-Oct-2012 03:47 Email | Share | | Bookmark
End caps

End caps or pipe-end caps are used to cover or finish the open ends of tubes and pipes to prevent damage to the ends, injury to those who accidentally brush against them and also to give a neat finish to pipes and tubes. They also protect pipes which have threaded ends and prevent scratches, chipping and cracks to the ends. They may be in different designs for different applications. For instance, there are vented end caps to prevent pressure build-up inside the pipe, threaded caps with domed heads for better finish, flexible rubber or silicone caps to provide good grip and tamper-proof or tamper-evident caps to indicate that hazardous materials like gases are being transported.

Some of the materials used for manufacturing end caps are: stainless steel, carbon steel, electroplated zinc, brass, aluminum, high and low density polyethylene, rubber and rubber compounds, silicone, PVC, molded plastics etc.

Designs can vary according to function. Some end caps may have additional inside gaskets to provide better sealing, while others are push-fitted and easily removable when they're used to finish the exposed ends of a tube in a shelving display. They may also have pull-off tabs, vents etc.

Some of the end caps used are:

Dished end cap: Used extensively in electrical applications, the dished end looks elegant and is made of corrosion and temperature resistant metals which are non-conducting.

Molded: Made of hard, durable plastics or plastic compounds, these caps are available in a variety of thicknesses, sizes and colors.

Flexible: These caps can be stretched over the exposed end and provide very good grip to protect the tube or pipe during storage and transportation. They are also easy to fix since they can be push-fit onto the pipe end. Special functions like grease-fitting or lubrication-fitting end caps help to prevent dirt and moisture from damaging the grease or lubrication fittings.

Washer type: These are slid over hoses to prevent the hose from sliding over the fittings. Similarly, double sided lateral end caps are used in various industrial applications.

Tear-tab: are made of low density plastics and have a tear-off tab for easy removal. The tab also provides tamper-evidence.

Flanged: These caps are designed for fixing and removal both manually and by automated process. They provide a secure grip to threaded or O-ring ends and are made of flexible low density polyethylene.

Special shapes: hexagonal or square end caps are used to finish or cover hexagonal or square pipe ends.

Tapered: when working with pipe ends that have different inner and outer diameters, the tapered design can either be inserted or fitted over the pipe ends. They prevent dirt and debris from entering and also protect against corrosion and moisture.

Depending on your needs and requirements, you can purchase the appropriate end caps from your local hardware store or order them on-line from manufacturers.

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