Over the last 50 years, nearly everything about food has undergone a significant change – how we cook it, buy it, eat it, raise it, grow it, and package it. The modern food and beverage industry is much more focused on sanitation, hygiene and safety in their production, packaging, and distribution practices to eliminate the risk of contamination.

In this post, we will take a look at some of the vital facts you need to know about food-grade urethane pertaining to the food processing industry today.

Transition From Cheap Plastic To Food Grade Urethane

As seals and gaskets are two of the most significant components in almost all food processing systems and equipment, they also have undergone major modifications. Instead of using the seals and gaskets made from standard plastic materials – which was the norm up until a couple of decades ago – the food processing manufacturers are now making use of food-grade urethane.

This change occurred after the industry leaders realized that most of the sanitary issues and food contamination are caused by gasket/sealing units made from subpar quality materials. While there are many options when it comes to gasket materials, such as Viton, silicone, and EPDM, food-grade urethane or polyurethane is the only FDA-approved material due to several reasons:

  • It has high abrasion and impact resistance and will not crack, tear, or break easily.
  • It has an extremely high load-bearing capacity.
  • It has exceptional tear-resistance and high-tensile properties.
  • It is capable of demonstrating high mechanical strength even at exceedingly low temperatures.
  • It is resistant to harsh environmental factors involving acids, oils, solvents, and heat.
  • It possesses a wide molecular structural variability.
  • It lasts much longer than other gasket/sealing materials such as plastic, silicone, rubber, fiberglass, felt, and neoprene.
  • It prevents the growth of mold, mildew, and fungi even when it is in constant contact with edible or liquid items.
  • It is resistant to aromatic hydrocarbons, and vegetable and mineral oils.
  • It offers superior performance at temperatures ranging from -30°F to 220°F

Choose FDA-Compliant, Food-Grade Urethane For Your Food Processing Applications

Under section #177.21000, subpart F, food grade urethane is acceptable for repeated contact with edible items. If you’re looking for non-allergenic, non-marking, and non-toxic material for your food-related operations, FDA-approved polyurethane is the perfect choice.

In addition to gaskets and seals, applications include:

  • Transfer systems and hoppers
  • Feet and bumpers
  • Wheels and bumpers
  • Inspection tables
  • Chutes and chute liners
  • Conveyor systems
  • Sprockets
  • Belt scrapers
  • Custom molded parts

Contact Us For Quality, FDA-Approved, Food Grade Urethane & Polymers

The Food & Drug Administration has set a limited list of approved polymers that are considered safe to be used in the food processing industry and are allowed to be used for parts that come in contact with food items.

Our food-grade urethane components are certified by the FDA for both dry and wet applications. This means that regardless of what type of environment you are processing food in, Uniflex Inc. polyurethane products are the solution you need.

If you have any questions, you can call us at 248-956-6765 or request a quote online.

Rubber seals prevent the unwanted leakage of liquids and gases in various components. For example, they are used on pumps to keep them from leaking out too much oil or developing air bubbles that could cause problems with their operation. Rubber seals may also be utilized on valves, vacuum seals, pipe joinery, and much more.

However, not all seals are built equal. The design of a rubber seal has numerous components to ensure that it performs well in any environment. An O-ring, for instance, is a common industrial rubber seal that relies on mechanical compressive deformation to function as a barrier between mating surfaces, restricting liquid or gas flow in specific regions.

As a result, several elements must be considered in the way an O-ring shape is designed to ensure that the compressive force is sustained and that a good seal is achieved. Here are a few more facts about these rubber components you should be aware of:

They Are Your Best Bet Against Damages

Rubber seals have many different characteristics that make them useful in a variety of situations. Flexibility, elasticity, strength, and friction are just a few of the properties that come to mind when thinking about rubber. They also help to prevent vibration and are airtight.

Good quality rubber seals are the key to avoiding water damage. The long-lasting benefits and ability to prevent leaks make rubber seals popular in an extensive range of industries. This includes the construction industry, where they can be used for protecting against moisture exposure that may cause corrosion in metal parts below ground level. These rubber products are also utilized in preventing weathering damages.

They Are Useful Across Many Industries

The durability of rubber makes it a favorable and stable material for many applications across different industries. This versatility means that even with changes occurring in the environment such as frequent temperature fluctuations or exposure to chemicals, you can be sure your product or machine parts will last longer than expected!

Rubber seals are an excellent option for any company in sectors that utilize a lot of machinery to manufacture products. They are ideal for firms involved in mining, manufacturing, oil and gas extraction, and so on.

They Are Different From Rubber Gaskets

Gaskets are helpful in any application where you need to seal off spaces. You can find them in home appliances, construction tools – even your car! These rubber parts come as rings or sheets made from a soft rubber that contracts when heated so it fits snuggly.

On the other hand, rubber seals include a variety of different types. O-rings, valve stem, rotary, and mechanical seals are examples of these broader categories. They are utilized in more active applications such as motors, engines, pumps, and rotary shafts in contrast to a gasket, which is used simply for static applications.

Seals are generally flat and round, with a slanted inner rubber ring surrounded by a metal or plastic outer ring. The tilted angle of the seal’s inner layer aids in dynamic applications’ resistance to liquid leakage. They are frequently utilized to prevent leaks between two moving components, as well as to prevent particle and contaminant intrusion into the system.

Contact Us

Rubber seals are a popular choice for sealing applications in a variety of sectors since they provide a high-quality and comprehensive solution to many problems. Uniflex Inc. is a leading supplier of rubber seals and other rubber products. Why not contact us to discover the ideal solution for your needs?

We’re also available to give you advice on which sort of seal would work best for your specific circumstances. Call us at 248-486-6000 or email us at sales@uniflexinc.com and our experienced and dedicated staff will assist you.

Polyurethane rubber products are made up of complex molecular chains that, when formed, tend to maintain their resilience, flexibility, and shape under compression, tension, or stress. Due to urethane products’ ability to be manipulated into practically any size, shape, and hardness, it is a highly versatile material.

Here’s some key information about polyurethane rubber and how Uniflex Inc. makes sure you get the finest quality components.

Durometer (Hardness)

The “durometer” scale is used to measure the hardness of polyurethane (PU) in terms of its elasticity. A diamond-tipped hammer inside a graduated glass tube is made to fall from a certain height on the product being tested. The harder the polyurethane, the higher the rebound – the hardness number is calculated based on the height to which the hammer rebounds.

“Hardness” essentially measures the resistance of PU to indentation by three-spring-loaded indenter. The higher the durometer number, the greater the resistance.

The Rockwell hardness test or Shore durometer test are the most common ways to test the hardness of polyurethane rubber. Both tests measure its resistance toward indentation, and both provide a verifiable hardness value that doesn’t correspond to fundamental characteristics or other properties.

Durometer hardness, using either the Shore D or Shore A scale, is the widely accepted method for elastomers. The Shore D scale is used for harder polyurethanes while Shore A is used for softer ones.

The relative hardness of elastic materials like PU tends to be the Shore A hardness. If the indenter doesn’t penetrate the sample at all, a reading of 100 is obtained, and if it is able to penetrate the sample completely, the durometer reads 0.

Durometer Scales

Shore A (most common scale): Used for the majority of rubbers and elastomers

Shore OO: Used for exceptionally soft materials.

Shore D: Used for rigid plastics and other harder materials.

While a durometer is a commonly used, industry-wide indicator of other physical properties, it by no means displays the remarkable versatility of polyurethane. Depending on your unique needs, physical properties such as stretchability, flex strength, water/chemical resistance, temperature resistance, shock absorption, and rebound may be more important than hardness.

Uniflex Inc. will be happy to custom formulate your product so it has the ideal physical characteristics you want.

Typical Properties of Polyurethane Rubber Formulas: Shore A

(ASTM D2240) Durometer 40A 50A 60A 70A 80A 90A
(ASTM D412) Tensile Modulus, PSI
300% 259 381 430 470 1120 2640
200% 202 297
100% 142 216 285 370 375 1436
(ASTM D412) Elongation at Break % 692 573 760 700 585 440
(ASTM D412) Tensile Strength, PSI 4691 6206 4320 5450 4500 6382
(ASTM D624) Die C 140 159 195 260 345 514
Tear Resistance (lb/in.)
(ASTM D395B) Compression Set % 16 17 51 36 35 29
Split Tear (ASTM D470) 22 28 42 70 100 222
(ASTM D2632) Resilience (Rebound %) 22 4 32 21 56

Typical Properties of Polyurethane Rubber Formulas: Shore OO

(ASTM D2240) Durometer 25-OO 40-OO 50-OO
(ASTM D412) Tensile Modulus, PSI
300% 14.2 22.7 35.5
200% 7.33 15.8 24.2
100% 3.05 9.06 14.6
(ASTM D412) Elongation at Break % 865 763 706
(ASTM D412) Tensile Strength, PSI 86.5 167 273
Die C (ASTM D624) 8.87 17.3 21.4
Tear Resistance (lb/in.)
(ASTM D2632) Resilience (Rebound %) 25 30 39
(ASTM D395B) Compression Set % 0.00 0.00 0.00

Typical Properties of Polyurethane Rubber Formulas: Shore D

(ASTM D2240) Durometer 50D 60D 70D
(ASTM D412) Tensile Modulus, PSI
300% 4400
200% 3977 5677
100% 2100 3340 4342
(ASTM D412) Elongation at Break % 329 262
(ASTM D412) Tensile Strength, PSI 6800 6346 7391
(ASTM D624) Die C 785 754 983
Tear Resistance (lb/in.)
(ASTM D395B) Compression Set % 28 41 45
(ASTM D470) Split Tear 120
(ASTM D2632) Resilience (Rebound %) 42 45 42
(ASTM D1938) Trouser 314 295

Other Properties of Polyurethane (PU) Elastomers

#1. Compression

In addition to high load-bearing properties in both compression and tension, PU materials have a high load-bearing capacity in shear.

#2. Abrasion

Polyurethanes are known to outperform metals, plastics, and rubber in applications where severe wear is a problem. This often means that a component made from PU can be made with lower cost, reduced maintenance, and less material.

#3. Mechanical Properties

Almost all elastomeric materials tend to bend under impact at lower hardness levels. They are compounded up to a higher degree of hardness so they end up losing their elasticity, which leads to cracks. But even at their highest hardness levels, polyurethanes have substantially better impact resistance than most plastics.

#4. Resilience

PU can be formulated in a wide range of resiliencies. If your application requires quick recovery, it can be made with rebound values from 40–70%, or it can be manufactured with rebound values of 10–25% for extreme shock-absorbing uses.

#5. Flexibility

Polyurethane rubber elastomers do not crack under continual flexing. By decreasing the thickness of the component, any cracking under heavy flexing may be reduced, which allows PU to be used even in incredibly thin sections.

#6. Temperature

Most polyurethane elastomers maintain their flexibility at very low temperatures and display excellent resistance to thermal shock. This is why PU is widely used in many applications in arctic conditions.

Polyurethanes are able to endure dramatic and sudden changes in temperature without cracking. They can also easily withstand consistent rise up to 194 F (90 C).

#7. Friction Coefficients

PU can be made with coefficients of friction ranging from really low (for parts like wear strips, bearings, and bushings) to really high (for parts like rollers and tires).

#8. Water

Polyurethanes that are polyether-based maintain their stability in water as warm as 122 F (50 C) for prolonged periods. Water absorption is extremely low at 0.3% to 1% by weight and any swell in volume is negligible. In water-lubricated applications, this allows operation at tight tolerance.

Contact Uniflex Inc. For Superior Polyurethane Rubber Products

Since 1979, through our own independent research in the polyurethane industry, Uniflex Inc. has stayed on the leading edge of molded rubber and elastomers technology. In fact, we were one of the very first manufacturers in the Midwest to set standard thickness tolerance of precision sheets at +/-.005″.

If you are looking for a partner that can meet your strict specifications in terms of versatility, durability, toughness, and strength of polyurethane parts, get in touch with us today. You can call us at 248-486-6000 or write to us online.

Rollers are employed in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, engineering, and construction. It’s difficult to imagine one trade sector that doesn’t use rollers in some capacity. They come in a variety of sizes and are often moving up and down or side to side at breakneck speeds.

Traditionally, rollers have been made of metal, although resin is a common alternative. More recently, polyurethane and rubber rollers have become popular materials for rollers in the industrial sector because they are inexpensive, durable, and easy to mold in production casting.

Polyurethane and Rubber Rollers

A lighter, more adaptable solution is often preferred for many industrial roller applications. In most sectors, polyurethane and rubber are increasingly being used because of their significantly lower expenses, how smooth on surfaces they are, and their greater structural versatility. These rollers also have a higher capacity to resist friction and abrasion than their metal predecessors.

Polyurethane rollers and rubber rollers have a lot in common, but they are not quite the same. It’s critical to understand the differences between these two types of rollers when selecting which of them is best for your industrial application.

What Is Polyurethane?

What Is Polyurethane

Polyurethane is a plastic material that can be used for a wide range of applications. It is an extremely versatile material that can be manipulated to be hard or soft, rigid or elastic. It may be poured into polyurethane molds, or brushed or sprayed on top of prepared surfaces. Polyurethane can reproduce exceptional detail in models.

Flexible urethanes are available in many different hardness levels. They can be soft like jelly or hard enough to replace metal components. Polyurethanes have low viscosity and self-degas, requiring no vacuum degassing.

However, on the downside, polyurethanes are susceptible to moisture buildup. Using a urethane mold in excess humidity on a hot summer day is not always a good idea. When compared to silicone rubber, urethane rubber is the worst because it sticks to almost everything.

Are Polyurethane and Rubber the Same Thing?

Are Polyurethane and Rubber the Same Thing

While polyurethane and rubber have some similarities, they differ in several ways, therefore they are not the same. Polyurethane is the material of choice for any project that requires superior abrasion, cut, and tear resistance. It can be made in higher hardness ratings to better bear weight while being chemical resistant. However, this material is more prone to negligible shrinkage.

Rubber’s flexibility, however, allows it to absorb vibrations and noise, making polyurethane appear inferior for vibration dampening to durable rubber. On the other hand, polyurethane is also a good energy absorber and can be produced with a very low durometer.

Is Polyurethane Better Than Rubber?

Is Polyurethane Better Than Rubber

Polyurethane outperforms rubber in applications that are either submerged or exposed to wet environments for a long period. This is owing to polyurethane’s higher resistance to moisture. Rubber would rot over time. Another added benefit is that polyurethane is also UV resistant.

Also, most industrial applications, especially those that include dynamic loads and high friction, expose rollers to a lot of abrasions. In both cases, polyurethane outperforms natural rubber. Consequently, if your roller will be exposed to dampness regularly, must carry a significant amount of weight, and must endure continuous friction, polyurethane is a superior choice.

Contact Uniflex, Inc. to Learn More

Contact Uniflex

You may wish to learn more about polyurethane and rubber rollers’ industrial applications. Please see our technical data page for additional information on polyurethane and rubber. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call us at 248-486-6000 or send us an email at sales@uniflexinc.com. We have a knowledgeable staff that is eager to assist you.

Micro molding is a type of fabrication process that creates detailed structures in polymers on a micro scale using molds. The micro molds are made in a micro-tooling department where a cavity is carved into each mold that matches the shape of the part to be manufactured. The component or item can then be swiftly created by the micro-injection molding process. Here, thermoplastic or resin is injected into the cavity at a high speed.

When making micro parts, one factor to consider is “micro tolerance.” This refers to the minimal distance between the required measurements and design size that must be met in order for the micro component to be utilized. The concept assesses whether the margin of error is narrow enough to still work.

The stack-up tolerances must be within 1/100th of an inch in a micro molding process, though in certain situations the molded component must be within 1/1000th of an inch. Traditional injection molding can frequently produce small fragments that do not require such tight tolerances.

With traditional or conventional molding, it’s difficult to manufacture microscopic parts that measure less than a millimeter across. However, with micro-mold-enabling technology and specialized micro machining, we can create highly intricate and detailed plastic components at any size needed!

The Difference Between Micro Molding and Traditional Injection Molding

The procedure for micro-injection molding appears to be similar to conventional injection molding. A mold design and prototype are made, followed by the creation of a double-sided mold. However, there is a difference between the two injection molding processes.

Conventional injection molding is the process of forcing thermoplastics into a mold. Thermoplastic materials are melted in a furnace and then injected with a highly pressurized injection tool. When the molded parts have cooled and hardened, the item is removed.

Micro molding can be completed in the same way as conventional molding, but with a different micro-injection unit (built in the machine) necessary to accommodate the micro components.

Micro Molding Materials

Micro molding is often carried out with thermoplastics, thermosets, polymers, resins, and elastomers. Fortunately, there is a plethora of molding materials to select from when making micro molded parts. It is feasible to make a mold that is smaller than a dime by picking the appropriate material for the item you have in mind.


In many situations, handling and packaging seem to be an afterthought, but in reality, they’re often as essential as producing the part. Handling and packaging micro-sized devices is significantly more difficult than handling and packing macro-sized components, and the solutions are different. Molding and packing micro items so that they are useful to the end user is an important aspect of production.

Custom automation and packaging services may be provided in a variety of ways. They might range from reel-to-reel packaging to light subassemblies, high-speed automated packaging, lead frame die-forming and singulation, in-line automation, and a wide range of other packaging processes. These services go a long way to determine the success of a project.

How Extensively Is Micro Molding Used Across Industries?

Micro molding is used across several industries. It has become an important part of the manufacturing of numerous essential devices that make the modern world work.

In a lot of procedures in today’s medicine, such as minimally invasive surgery, precision is required. As a result, many medical equipment items must be tiny and highly sophisticated. Medical device manufacturing, therefore, relies heavily on micro molding processes.

There’s also a higher demand for high-precision, sophisticated work in the engineering industry. This is because modern electronic devices are getting much smaller and need tiny parts with extremely tight tolerances. Micro molding advantages may be applied to a variety of electronic component manufacturing such as micro-optics, hair-sized core pins, and so on.

These are just a few examples of industries where micro molding processes have became a critical factors.

For all your micro molding or other custom molded urethane and rubber products, reach out to Uniflex. Our company has specialized in custom molded urethane and rubber since 1979, and is a trusted supplier for the aerospace, automotive, robotics, military, oil, gas, mining, and marine industries. We have the ability to design, machine, and manufacture all under one roof, which helps keep prices low and lead times short. Request a quote online or call us at 248-486-6000 to speak with one of our dedicated team members about your order.

With the rapid economic expansion in recent years, the demand for construction materials has also been increasing each day, paving the way for new and superior quality materials in the market. Many of these innovative options like fiberglass are slowly replacing conventional materials like aluminum and steel. Gone are the days when steel grating used to be the preferred material in the construction industry; fiberglass grating is not only far more durable but it is more affordable as well.

Here are a few reasons why choosing fiberglass grating is a prudent choice for your business needs.

Fiberglass Grating Is More Impact-Resistant

When comparing fiberglass with steel or aluminum, at the first glance you may think that steel is surely stronger. But think again. Fiberglass graters are just as strong as steel ones because this material is specifically designed to possess exceptional resistance and strength. Plus, unlike other steel and other metals, fiberglass never corrodes. It is impact-resistant and immensely flexible.

Where dents and damages caused by shocks are easily visible on steel structures, fiberglass doesn’t have that problem because it’s coated with a specially formulated protective gel.

Fiberglass Grating Is More Durable

Fiberglass requires less maintenance and is way more resistant to the effects of the external environment – it can last for decades. Steel and aluminum graters are susceptible to corrosion and thus, need a coating with expensive galvanizing or anti-rust coatings. Fiberglass grating, on the other hand, is resistant to moisture, climate, and other external influences.

Cost-Effective Of Fiberglass Is Higher In The Long Run

A lot of construction industry manufacturers think that steel and aluminum gratings are cheaper in comparison to fiberglass grating. While that may be true at the outset and you may not need to pay at the beginning – you’ll have to pay for it later.

Steel is cheaper but due to its weight, its installation process is very expensive. You’ll also need to take into account additional costs like welders, supervisors and operators, special equipment, etc. The cost of maintenance later on also adds up. And let’s not forget that steel requires expensive anti-corrosion agents and coatings. None of these issues exist when you choose fiberglass grating.

Fiberglass Grating Is Safer

Unlike steel and aluminum, fiberglass grating is not an electrical conductor, making it far safer than the other two. This is an important feature, especially for the safety of workers who need to walk on the graters.

Additionally, fiberglass is a thermal insulator, i.e., it does not heat up like aluminum and steel. It’s not prone to slipping either.  If you work in the construction industry, we highly recommend fiberglass grating because it’s also non-flammable and is not subject to thermal factors.

Contact Us To Know More

As you can see, there are many reasons why fiberglass grating makes a better choice than steel or aluminum ones. At first glance, your costs may seem higher but the variety of advantages and reduction in maintenance costs will soon change your mind.

If you’re looking for graters materials that are long-lasting, durable, and affordable in the long run, contact Uniflex Inc. to find out more about our winning fiberglass grating. You can call us at 248-486-6000 or write to us online.

If you are talking about urethane finishes or varnishes, all finishes are food-safe once they have cured.  This is a well-known fact of Urethane parts safety amongst manufacturers of the food processing industry.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established the urethane parts safety requirements to ensure no case of poisoning from urethane parts is present. Therefore, urethane or polyurethane is a chemical compound, and like all the other chemicals, we must be careful when handling them.

Urethane Parts: Safety Instructions

Urethane is used to make several household and commercial items that we use in our everyday lives, such as:

  • Car padding
  • Furniture upholstery
  • Tires
  • Racquet grips
  • And more.

If it wasn’t a safe material, it would have been banned a long time ago considering it was created in the 1930s. However, when urethane is in the original liquid form, it is like any other chemical. And, you should handle it with the same care you use when handling, say, cleaning products.

Liquid urethane is safe to use – if you read and followed the directions carefully. Its usage shouldn’t occur in proximity to children or animals. Workers who handle liquid urethane wear personal protective equipment (PPE) like safety goggles, disposable gloves, and masks to minimize skin contact. If liquid urethane comes in direct contact with eyes or skin, the individual must seek medical attention immediately.

You must also avoid breathing in the urethane fumes. For the process of mold making and casting, it is critical to use “room-sized” ventilators (founnd in all our facilities at Uniflex Inc.) All of our workers don NIOSH-approved respirators to minimize the risk of inhalation during the custom molding process.

Liquid Urethane or Aliphatic Isocyanates

There are several different groups of urethanes; one class is known as “aliphatic diisocyanates” requires additional urethane parts safety precautions. These are specifically for industrial use and hobbyists or students should not use them.

If you are using urethanes or polyurethanes and are experiencing an allergic reaction, stop using them and go to the ER right away. The ingestion, skin absorption, or inhalation of polyurethane or its fumes is toxic. But once it is cured or turned into an end-user product, it is 100% safe.

If this seems confusing, consider this: do you think apples are poisonous? Of course not, you probably eat them every day. But did you know that the seeds inside an apple contain trace amounts of cyanide? If ingested in a large amount, apple seeds can be fatal. But the odds of you ingesting spoons-full of apple seeds is unlikely.

Similarly, if you are using products or parts made from urethane, your risk of getting sick from exposure to urethane is low. In fact, urethane is naturally found in fermented foods like yogurt, soy sauce, bread, beer, and wine!

Contact Uniflex Inc. to Know More about Urethane Parts Safety

If you still have questions or concerns about using urethane parts, Uniflex Inc. experts will be happy to talk to you. Just give us a call at 248-486-6000 or write to us online and our representatives will get back to you shortly.

Whether you live in a busy urban community or a low-key rural area, you have probably encountered hundreds of custom molded urethane products in your daily life. This is because urethane or polyurethane is one of the most popular and versatile synthetic resins on the market today.

Manufacturers all across the globe use it to create a diverse range of household, industrial, and commercial products. But the million-dollar question is, is custom molded urethane safe for you, your family, and the environment? Let’s talk about it.

What Is Custom Molded Urethane?

Before we talk about how safe or unsafe it is, you need to understand what it consists of.

First things first, if you are wondering about the technical-sounding term “polyurethane”, it simply means that the material consists of multiple urethane groups. Most industry participants use the terms “urethane” and “polyurethane” interchangeably because there is no difference between them.

Polyurethane contains two chemical components: urethane and polymers. Polymers in a chemical process link together urethane groups and the end result is polyurethane. This material is highly versatile and molding it into tens of hundreds of shapes is possible.

This is why millions of manufacturers across the world use polyurethane or custom molded urethane. It is a safe and durable material that is useful in the creation of many products, such as home furnishing items, including:

  • Furniture
  • Tires
  • Wheels
  • vending machines
  • Hot water heaters
  • And many more

Is Custom Molded Urethane Safe?

Urethane or polyurethane is completely safe only if you strictly follow all the manufacturer’s recommendations. Urethane material comes with several safety recommendations regarding storage and handling, and you should comply with them.

Unlike other synthetic materials, urethane is resistant to heat and will not melt when in contact with high temperatures. This makes them perfect for utilization in making, say, a refrigerator or car where large amounts of emission of energy happen.

Please note that while most polyurethane products are heat-resistant, a rare few (like thermoplastic polyurethane) can melt under applied heat.

If you’re worried about the environment and your carbon footprint, you will be happy to know that custom molded urethane products reduce noise and heat with vehicles and also lower the overall energy consumption in electronics.

And there is a reason why furniture manufacturers prefer custom molded urethane or polyurethane over several other materials – it’s not only flexible but perfectly safe to use within the home. Just make sure that if you use urethane in a liquid or foam state, you don’t ingest it or touch it without wearing gloves.

So to put it simply, yes urethane is safe for use.

Have Any Questions? Contact Uniflex Inc.

Are you looking for a versatile material that can fit a variety of your industrial needs? At Uniflex Inc., we create a wide range of custom molded urethane parts for dozens of different industries and businesses.  If you want to reduce your manufacturing costs or upgrade your materials to a more durable option, we’ll be happy to talk! Call us at 248-486-6000 or reach us online with any inquiries you may have.

All industries, including the food processing industry, use polyurethane in multiple applications. So you may have heard the terms “FDA compliant polyurethane” or “non-compliant polyurethane” thrown around in the industry. But what does FDA compliance really mean and how does it make a difference to your purchase decision for polyurethane? Is it worth choosing non-compliant polyurethane? These are the questions we are going to address here in this post.

What is FDA Compliant Polyurethane?

Polyurethane is a plastic material that is used to make numerous products for household and commercial use. From your car’s seat to the conveyor belts in a manufacturing plant. Polyurethane is an essential material for a lot of products today. It can be either flexible or rigid. And, it offers superior performance, making it the preferred material of choice for manufacturers across different industries.

Polyurethane manufacturers are often asked if their products have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in food contact applications. Suppliers and manufacturers of polyurethane must comply with applicable FDA regulations – if their resin (like polyurethane) products may affect the characteristics of any food that it comes in contact with.

Food Contact Applications

To put it simply, if you want to use polyurethane parts or products to handle any food items, you must only use FDA-compliant polyurethane. A variety of food contact applications use polyurethanes such as:

  • Chutes and chute liners
  • Seals and gaskets
  • Conveyor systems
  • Tubing and hoses
  • Hoppers
  • Adhesives for flexible and rigid food packaging

The FDA has set a limited list of approved polymers that are considered food-grade and are allowed to be used for parts that come in contact with food. So, when you hear the term “FDA compliant polyurethane”, it simply means that that specific polyurethane product is food-grade and safe to use with food items.

At Uniflex Inc., our food-grade or FDA-compliant polyurethane products are certified for both dry and wet applications.

Dry food compliance comes into effect when the food product your component will be interacting with is strictly dry food. This dry food item should not have free surface oils or fats.

Wet food compliance takes effect when a specific component will have repeated contact with fatty or liquid-type foods. This means that regardless of which environment you are processing food in, our polyurethane components can provide you with the reliable solution you need.

What is Non-Compliant Polyurethane?

Not all polyurethane products or parts are in compliance with the FDA requirements. If a generic polyurethane component is not being promoted or sold as “FDA-compliant”, it’s safe to assume that food processing manufacturers can use it.

Polyurethane that doesn’t adhere to the FDA safety regulations could have toxic elements that are not appropriate for humans and animals, especially with regard to food products. For this reason, it is vital to differentiate between compliant and non-compliant polyurethane and make an informed buying decision.

Have a Question? Give Uniflex Inc. a Call!

To design your tailored food-grade polyurethane parts, our expert team of engineers will work with you to determine the right solution for your required application. As with our other solutions, special FDA compliant polyurethane orders come with the shortest lead times and top-notch customer service. Whether you need a custom molded part, replacement part, or an engineering design consultation, Uniflex Inc. can help. Call us at 248-486-6000 or contact us online today.

Whether you want to save on tooling costs or you’re in the early stages of prototyping, machining cast urethane parts may be the most cost-effective solution for you. You can perform several machining operations such as grinding, fly-cutting, milling, facing, and turning as secondary operations. But machining urethane or any elastomer is quite different from machining, say, a metal.

What Is Machining Cast Urethane Parts?

Urethane is a polymer that’s used to make a variety of commercial and industrial plastic items. It is so versatile that you can create very rigid products as well as very flexible items that are almost rubbery in texture.

Urethane casting involves pouring the urethane into a mold and letting it cure. This process is a high-quality yet low-cost way to create a plethora of urethane products. It works perfectly for intricate designs as well, creating a high-end finish quickly and without the high price tag of other complicated methods.

Things to Consider Before Machining Cast Urethane Parts

The hardness (durometer) of the urethane has a huge impact on its machinability. The harder the material, the easier it is to cut and the closer it resembles machining metal.

But all elastomers bend and move away from the cutting tool. If the material is soft, it will bend a lot. This leads to the removal of less material than expected. This occurs when the cutting tool has a significant amount of clearance and rake, or the grinding wheel is super porous (although, both conditions are ideal for cutting urethane).

The formulation also affects the machinability of urethane. Even at the same hardness, the physical properties of cast urethane can vary. Properties such as tear strength and tensile strength all affect the ability to machine urethane parts.

Since urethane is a great thermal insulator, it retains heat as it is machined. This can be problematic if the machining is too aggressive as it can melt the material. Using a coolant usually solves this issue but freezing the urethane product before machining also helps.

It is important to note that freezing urethane causes it to contract. And, when it heats up while being machined, it expands. That’s why avoiding freezing should priority for final dimension cutting if you want close tolerances, but it is okay for preliminary cuts.

How The Urethane Casting Process Works

Casting urethane can be a little tricky, so it’s best to order a tester sample before you place a big order. This will give you an idea about the process and determine whether you like the material. Otherwise, you may end up losing too much in failed attempts.

The process begins with a soft mold. To create this mold, CNC machining or 3D printing make a master model of the part. Next, the polymer for the soft mold is poured into the tool imprint of the part to be shaped. After the polymer has cured, the removal of the master part from the soft mold is possible, leaving a cavity in the shape of the desired urethane part. Liquid urethane can then be poured into this cavity to manufacture the desired product.

Need More Information? Talk to Our Experienced Uniflex Inc. Representatives Today!

Whether you have a custom urethane project or want to re-cover existing parts, our experts can help you determine the right specifications for your needs. Call us at 248-486-6000 or write to us online and we will guide you through the best available options.