Cast polyurethanes have a range of characteristics that make them more versatile, flexible, and durable than other materials like rubber, plastic, and metal. These properties have made them attractive for specific industries, including agriculture applications.
More and more businesses are considering them for their agriculture products, and here are four reasons why:
- Superior Physical Properties and Versatility
- Longevity and Durability
- High-Quality Performance
- Cost Savings
Superior Physical Properties and Versatility
Depending on their formulation, cast polyurethanes can be soft like rubber or extremely hard like nylon plastic. This versatility makes them an excellent alternative to rubber and/or plastic in high-wear, abrasion, vibration and impact applications such as armrests, scraper blades, bumpers, casters, mounts, wheels, and rollers.
With different durometers, materials, and chemistries, cast polyurethanes have an extensive range of properties that make them resistant to harsh environments and suitable for outdoor applications exposed to extreme temperature changes.
Unlike certain plastics, polyurethanes maintain their strength and shape under loading and impact stress and will not break or crack when exposed to extreme pressures or long periods of operation.
Longevity and Durability
Traditionally, rubber, plastic, and steel have been the “go-to” materials for agricultural applications like blades, wheels, and mud flaps; however, over time, they can deteriorate, split, or become distorted.
Cast polyurethane materials last longer due to their durability and flexibility. They are also resistant to oil and grease, which is common in agriculture equipment, making them high performers in heavy-duty agricultural equipment.
Manufacturers of polyurethanes use different chemistries to manipulate their mechanical properties to fit the application and customer needs. Each formulation allows for different durometers, properties, and resilience that extend the performance of components like bend restrictors, wheels, inserts, and rollers.
Compared to other materials, cast polyurethanes have the following performance advantages:
- Versus Metal
- Abrasion resistance
- Easily castable
- Corrosion resistance
- Lighter weight
- Noise reduction
- Versus Plastic
- High impact resistance
- Elastomeric resistance
- Abrasion resistance
- Noise reduction
- Lower mold cost
- Low-temperature resistance
- Versus Rubber
- High abrasion resistance
- High cut and tear strength
- Superior load-bearing capacity
- Oil resistance
- Castable nature
- Processing cost
- Ozone resistance
- Lower mold pressure
Polyurethane’s strength, durability, and flexibility provide many cost benefits for end-users. Compared to other materials like rubber and metal, it holds its integrity and full functionality for extended periods, especially in harsh environments, providing cost savings on replacement parts, maintenance, repairs, and equipment downtime.
Cast polyurethane is also lightweight, contributing to large agriculture machinery and fuel savings.
In terms of the process, casting polyurethane has faster lead times than other processes like injection molding. Injection molding uses metal for the molds, which can take a long time to make–sometimes months. Polyurethane casting uses silicon-based molds that are quicker to make, thus reducing lead times and getting the product to market quicker.
Polyurethane casting is great for low and medium-volume production or one-off prototypes relative to an all-in program cost. While piece prices tend to exceed injection-molded or compression-molded alternatives, tooling costs can be far lower upfront allowing for an overall savings over the life of the program.
At All-State Industries, we mold custom-cast polyurethane parts in-house to accommodate both simple and complex designs for your agriculture application. Our ability to both mechanically and chemically bond our urethane to a variety of materials further enhances what solutions can be provided for any application.