Polycarbonates are polymer thermoplastics which happen to be a specialty for the pros at Anco precision machining. They are more commonly referred to as Lexan. These types of plastics are perfect for manufacturing seeing that they are easily molded and formed with the use of heat. Sadly, a drawback to these various polycarbonates is the fact that they are not recyclable and will be labeled (on the bottom of any plastic containers) as Other or the number 7.
The term polycarbonate stems from the notion that they are in fact polymers containing an attachment of carbonate groups. They have become so popular in recent years due to their temperature and impact resistance and clarity which allow them to be used as products and in engineering and modeling. Polycarbonates (which contain BPA) are very durable. Although they have high impact resistance they have little in the way of scratch resistance so a coating is added to polycarbonate lenses and auto parts. This polymer has high transparency with light and has better transmission characteristics than various types of glass ware.
It softens slowly overtime and does not obey fluid flow behavior which makes it difficult to use in injection molding. Machines must operate above 176 degrees Fahrenheit to successfully mold and strain this type of plastic. The higher the grade of polycarbonate the harder it to mold, but strength remains higher than the lower grades. One aspect that helps polycarbonates stand out is that fact that they can undergo severe deformation (from heat or bending) without cracking or breaking. This also allows it to be formed and cut using the same machines and techniques as sheet metal forming like bending, and pressing. Little heating is needed for even the sharpest angle bends. A similar material, Plexiglass, cannot be bent at room temp and is extremely brittle.
Polycarbonate is generally used in the electronics industry where safety features are important. It is a good electrical insulator and has great heat and flame resistant properties. One of the largest markets that consume polycarbonates is the construction industry where it is used for different types of lighting and sound walls.
The largest market for this polymer is the CD and DVD industry. Blank CD’s and DVD’s are produced by injection molding which is also a service we have available at Anco precision. Other typical products of sheet polymer production include advertisement as signs, displays or posters. Its uniform mold properties result in parts with greater accuracy and less shrinkage than those made of other polymers. It can be laminated and used in bullet resistant glass.
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