Acrylic is a type of plastic that falls into the thermoplastic category. These plastics, when heated to high temperatures, get softer and more pliable. They can be easily shaped into various forms. Machining acrylic is a popular method of creating a variety of useful products used in many industries.
Benefits of Acrylic
Known primarily for its clarity and see-through properties, acrylic is valued for its many benefits:
* It is durable and strong, and has a high quality finish.
* It is scratch resistant and won’t yellow or fade with time.
* It is a great product to work with as it is easy to cut, machine and polish.
* It’s an affordable plastic.
* It’s flexible to work with and is lightweight.
* It has good clarity qualities making it ideal for many applications.
* It has good weatherability.
Most Common Uses for Acrylic
Take a walk through a shopping mall and you’ll quickly realize that acrylic products are all around us. They are used in just about every industry, especially in the retail world. Here are some of the most common uses for acrylic products and parts:
* Laboratory parts
* Machine guards
* Room partitions
* Aircraft instrumentation
* Retail displays
* Signs and advertising
* Transparent manifolds
* Valve manifolds
* Lenses and light guides
* Barriers used in banks, and to separate passenger from driver in vehicles such as limousines
Acrylic is a popular component in optical applications. It can transmit light and has no color. Therefore it is also wonderful for protecting displays and advertisements both indoors and out.
Several Steps Complete the Process
While acrylic is valued for its clarity and is aesthetically appealing, machining acrylic requires a great deal of effort. It is not an easy material to polish to a clear, optical finish. It is also difficult to achieve high clarity in areas that have been tapped with holes or feature other design elements.
Producing acrylic components and products of the highest quality means machining the acrylic first, and following the process with annealing. Annealing improves the durability of the product and ensures it can withstand stress. Acrylic is brittle and surface stress cracks can form if proper annealing does not occur.
Polished for Clarity
Once a product has gone through these steps, it will be polished for optimum clarity. There are four techniques use to polish plastics and acrylics; vapor polishing, flame polishing, buffing and machine polishing. When machining acrylic, the plastic specialist will choose the most appropriate technique for the specific component and the customer’s needs.
For over three decades, PEP Connecticut Plastics has been an industry leader in the manufacturing and precision machining of plastic components. They specialize exclusively in plastics and are renowned for their quality workmanship and expertise. To find out more about their products and services, visit Pepctplastics.com.