Selecting the Right Plastic Material: Thermal Expansion

Thermal Expansion Plastics today are used in almost unlimited number of applications, many of which were previously handled by metal components, especially when the application required the part to be exposed to harsh conditions such as temperature extremes. Today’s modern plastic formulations are superior in many ways to previous generations of plastic materials; however, they come in a wide range of compounds and not all plastics are suitable for all applications. Every plastic formulation has its own unique characteristics, such as durability, tensile and impact strength, temperature range, and more.

If you’re selecting a plastic material for a specific application, it’s important to choose it based on the critical properties associated with it, such as thermal expansion – the plastic’s ability to change in shape, area, and volume in response to temperature changes. The coefficient of thermal expansion is the degree of expansion divided by the change in temperature. The higher the coefficient number, the more change in size.

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Selecting the Right Plastic Material: Impact Strength

Plastic Material SupplierUnlike metals or ceramics, plastics are viscoelastic materials – that is, they respond to stress as if they’re a combination of a viscous fluid and a plastic solid. In other words, while plastics have solid-related characteristics such as stability of form, strength — and, yes, elasticity — they also possess fluid-like properties such as flow, which can be affected by temperature, rate, and time as well as the amount of loading.

For designers and engineers used to working with metals and ceramics, plastics can be tricky – they don’t exhibit a linear stress/strain relationship. As a result, designers working with plastics for the first time often select and specify the wrong plastic materials for their applications. This unfamiliar non-linear relationship makes it vital for designers to understand stress relaxation, creep, and fatigue properties of plastic.

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Selecting the Right Plastic Material – Heat Resistance

Belt GuidesPlastic compounds come in a staggering array of formulations and materials for a wide range of industries, applications, and products. Selecting the right plastic material that offers excellent heat resistant properties is critical for any application in which thermal properties can be adversely affected by the environment.

High speed material handling conveyor systems are often subjected to temperature extremes. After much research into various plastic formulations that could be appropriate for high quality plastic-component conveyor systems, we determined the best plastic material for heat resistance and the applications we address is polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), commonly known by its brand name, Teflon®. PTFE is a fluorocarbon solid with a high molecular weight and one of the lowest coefficients of friction against any solid, making it ideal for high-speed, high-temp conveyor system components. In fact, PTFE performs significantly better than nylon and acetal and is comparable to ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE).

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High performance, dry lubricant polyethylene ideal for reducing friction, improving performance

BluLub logoA proprietary, new high performance ultra-high molecular weight (UHMW) polyethylene compound incorporates solid lubricants to offer a lower coefficient of friction for significantly improved chain and belt performance in a wide range of conveyor and other material processing systems.

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Metal Detectable UHMW

Metal-Detectable-chain-guide-top_rightMetal-detectable ultra-high molecular weight (UHMW) polyethylene is an ideal solution for rugged, wear-resistant moving components used in food processing, bottling and canning, packaging, pharmaceutical manufacturing – any system in which it’s critical to detect and prevent potential contamination threats that pose serious liability risks.

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High Performance Conveyor Components

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Demanding manufacturing processes faced with extreme environmental or stringent liability challenges need conveyor systems that can meet high standards of performance and reliability. If you’re a discrete or process manufacturer operating in a tough production environment, upgrading your conveyor systems with high performance plastic conveyor components can help you avoid a serious loss of time and money and reduce the risk of liabilities and product recalls.

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Plastic Packaging Equipment Components

Companies and processing plants looking for packaging equipment components have come to rely upon Slideways for a wide range of plastic components including:

  • Plastic Bearings
  • Rollers
  • Pulleys
  • Chain Guides
  • Wear strips
  • Belt Guides
  • Star Wheels
  • Conveyor Components

Whether you’re a packaging equipment manufacturer or a packaging or distribution operations manager looking in for packaging equipment components, we can help you with high-quality plastic components for packaging equipment and conveyor systems that are:

  • Lightweight
  • Low friction
  • Wear and corrosion-resistant material
  • Quieter running
  • Lower costs than other materials
  • Sanitary

Slideways packaging equipment components are ideal for high-speed, high-reliability, high-wear processing lines and applications such as:

  • Pick-and-place
  • Labeling
  • Loading and unloading
  • Marking and printing
  • Scribing
  • High-speed registration

Packaging equipment and components from Slideways are used worldwide in a variety of industries and applications, such as bottling and canning, commercial food packaging, pharmaceuticals, and general distribution centers, where corner tracks, wear strips, chain guides and chute liners and other high impact packaging equipment components take a beating day in and day out.

If we don’t have the right packaging equipment components to meet your specific requirements, our experienced engineers will work closely with you to develop the ideal plastic component solution for your needs.

To learn more about packaging equipment components and our many other premium plastic components, or to get a quote on quality components for your material handling system, contact us or visit

Conveyor chain and belt tracks

Slide TraxIf you need conveyor chain and belt tracks, Slideways has been the leader in heavy-duty, high-reliability material handling system components for over two decades.

Our conveyor chain and belt tracks are found anywhere reliable, heavy-duty, pong-wearing material handling systems are found, such as in bottling plants, food processing facilities, and major distributor centers.

Accurately machined from ultra-high molecular weight (UHMW) plastic, our conveyor chain and belt tracks extend component and system life while reducing noise and friction. UHMW plastic is ideal for constant, rugged use because it’s self-lubricating, highly resistant to friction, and doesn’t absorb moisture easily. In fact, it has the highest impact strength of any currently-available thermoplastic. For extremely high speed or heavy loads other materials, such as Nylatron®, are available to meet your requirements.

Because our chain and belt tracks are precision-manufactured as a single unit using the latest CNC technology, each track is assured of operating within conveyor chain or belt specifications, reducing installation time and eliminating unnecessary wear-and-tear. That can translate into less maintenance and reduced operational costs.

When you order conveyor chain and belt tracks from Slideways, you’re assured of the highest-quality, longest-lasting components available. For over two decades, we’ve been providing customers with expert engineering; consistent, accurate manufacturing, rigorous quality control, and on-time, on-budget delivery.

Let us show you how Slideway’s conveyor chain and belt tracks manufactured from premium UHMW thermoplastic can improve your material handling system and save you time and money.

To learn more about conveyor chain and belt tracks and our many other premium plastic components, or to get a quote on quality components for your material handling system, contact us or visit

Custom machined plastic conveyor parts

Custom machined plastic conveyor partsCustom machined plastic conveyor parts are an ideal solution for companies throughout the country that utilize material handling systems with specialized requirements or processes.

For over two decades, Slideways has been producing the highest quality custom machined plastic conveyor parts for a wide range of companies, industries, and applications using only premium ultra high molecular weight (UHMW) thermoplastic for high reliability and long life.

Once you submit an application for custom machined plastic conveyor parts, a comprehensive, three-part process is initiated:

  1. Sales Coordination between our design, engineering, and manufacturing staff and your team to evaluate your request and determine the best possible options for your specific requirements
  1. Manufacturing using the latest CNC technology and in-process quality control to ensure the most consistent and accurate customer machined plastic conveyor parts.
  1. Packaging and Shipment including securely packaged components to your specifications, using the shipper of your choice and the best possible shipping method available

All our custom machined plastic conveyor parts are carefully manufactured with our state-of-the-art CNC machinery, specially tooled for fabricating plastic components and operated by highly skilled and experience employees to ensure you receive the highest-quality, most-reliable custom machined plastic conveyor parts anywhere in the country. We maintain close contact with you and your team throughout the entire design, manufacturing and quality control process so you can rest assured your custom order is produced and shipped on-time and on-budget.

To learn more about  custom machined plastic conveyor parts and our many other premium plastic components, or to get a quote on quality components for your material handling system, contact us or visit

Conveyor Component Tips

Virtually every materials handling system, such as a conveyor system, is subject to advanced wear caused primarily by friction. Conveyor components – no matter how durable and well-made – eventually wear out, often causing unnecessary downtime and added expense..

However, there are a number of steps you can take to minimize any inconvenience caused by worn conveyor components. Here are a few tips: Continue reading