The oil and gas industry remains a vital part of the world economy. As of 2019, oil and gas accounted for a combined 54.1% of the world’s energy supply. On top of that, petroleum is an essential material in nearly every man-made product, from clothing and pharmaceuticals to boats and wind turbine blades.
To operate at the highest level, components for oil and gas mining and refinery equipment must be capable of withstanding the harshest conditions. Heat-resistant plastics have emerged as a critical solution to these challenges for a wide range of applications, including seals, gaskets, and bearings.
Heat-resistant plastics are uniquely equipped to meet the challenges of the oil and gas industry, improving reliability, efficiency, and environmental safety. In this blog, we’ll address how Ensinger, a heat-resistant plastic parts manufacturer, meets the diverse requirements of your application and provides multifaceted fabrication solutions.
Achieve Tighter Tolerances for Critical Parts With Heat-resistant Plastics
Heat-resistant plastics are used across a wide range of industries because of their low cost, ease of manufacture, and beneficial properties. They go above and beyond standard plastics because they can withstand temperatures that conventional plastics cannot.
Unique Properties of Heat-resistant Plastics
One of the key differences that set heat-resistant plastics from other plastics is their ability to withstand temperatures above 300℉ for extended periods without losing their structural integrity or their mechanical and chemical properties.
On top of this, if you want to strengthen the plastic, there are additives that you can incorporate into its makeup to improve its already impressive characteristics. As a result, you can enjoy stronger and more durable plastic components to aid in your application needs.
The Different Types of Heat-resistant Plastics in the Oil and Gas Industries
Ensinger works with different types of heat-resistant plastics to help clients achieve their desired results. As an expert plastic manufacturer, we offer variety, flexibility, and customization because we understand that different materials provide different outcomes. As such, here are some of the heat-resistant plastic materials we have worked with.
- Polyetheretherketone (PEEK): Among all the materials we use, PEEK is at the top of our list. It has impeccable chemical resistance and an inherent flame retardant feature, allowing it to withstand high amounts of heat. Not only that, but it also has good machinability, slide and wear properties, and heat deflection temperature. It can withstand temperatures as high as 590℉ at short periods and has a melting point of more than 700℉. Compared to the other high-performance polymers on this list, PEEK has the highest flexural and tensile strength, giving you unparalleled performance.
- Polyetherimide (PEI): Better known by its trade name, Ultem, this type of plastic is amorphous, which means that it doesn’t have a melting point, but rather softens over time. It features exceptional mechanical and thermal properties that don’t need additives to become flame resistant.
- Polyamide (PA): More commonly referred to as Nylon, this type of plastic has impressive heat-resistant properties, which can further be enhanced with filler materials and other additives. One of the reasons why we work with polyamide is because it is highly resistant to abrasion, making it one of the most durable materials on the market.
- Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE): This is one of the plastics used in the oil and gas industry because it has low friction, high electrical characteristics, excellent stability across different temperatures, and outstanding chemical resistance. Some of the best applications of PTFE include drilling tools, seals, valve seats, thrust washers, and bearings. While Ensinger does not work directly with PTFE, we do mold materials with a percentage of PTFE.
- Polyamide-imide (Torlon): Torlon is ideal for applications that expose the components to extreme temperatures as well as high levels of friction and pressure. With superior strength and high resistance to distortion, Torlon is commonly used in automotive and electrical applications, specifically for bearings and seals. Ensinger uses Torlon 5030 re-inforced with glass fibers and natural Torlon 4203.
- Polyimide (Aurum ™): Aurum is a trademarked polyimide resin developed by Mitsui Chemicals. Due to its incredibly high heat resistance, chemical resistance, and resistance to wear and tear, it has become an essential resin in electronic components. Uses for this resin have recently expanded into the aerospace, precision engineering, and mechanical engineering industries.
Although these are the top-performing plastics in the industry, heat-resistant materials are always evolving. New materials are being introduced and developed constantly, making it challenging for some buyers to find the best one for a specific application.
On top of ensuring optimal operations, you also need to consider other factors when selecting the ideal material. These include — but are not limited to — tensile strength, wear performance, and chemical resistance. All of these factors are crucial to ensuring a safe and efficient work environment.
Learn More: Contact our team of experts for more information on the types of heat-resistant plastics we use.
The Role of Heat-resistant Plastics in Oil and Gas
As mentioned, heat-resistant plastics are useful across a wide range of industries, but we believe that the oil and gas industry will benefit the most from them. Here’s why.
Heat-resistant Plastics Ensure the Reliability of Equipment
Heat-resistant plastics maintain mechanical, thermal, and chemical properties at high temperatures. The ability to resist degradation is critical to ensuring the long-term durability and reliability of equipment used in the oil and gas industry.
What’s more, seals made from this type of plastic can withstand extreme temperatures without deforming, cracking, or leaking. Plastic bearings used in daily operations can also withstand wear and tear better if they’re made with heat-resistant plastics.
In an industry that’s prone to high temperatures, having heat-resistant plastics in place that are also flame retardants can help mitigate dangerous situations and ensure the reliability of equipment.
Heat-resistant Plastics Increase Efficiency and Cost-effectiveness
Recently, heat-resistant plastics have been replacing ceramics and metals for their advantageous properties. With this type of material in place, your equipment can perform at its optimum level for longer periods of time. As a result, you can improve everyday productivity and benefit from potential cost savings.
Because of its strength and durability, your heat-resistant plastics will last a long time, thereby saving you the cost of replacing broken materials more frequently.
Heat-resistant Plastics Improve the Safety of Oil and Gas Mining Operations
The workers of the oil and gas industry constantly face the risk of fire and explosions due to the ignition of flammable gasses and vapors. Gasses like hydrogen sulfide can be easily released from trucks, wells, surface equipment, and production equipment. When these accidents happen, they can endanger the safety of both employees and bystanders.
Fortunately, heat-resistant plastics provide the solution to avoid such predicaments. These types of plastics have properties that can control the spread of fire and avoid colossal explosions.
Additionally, the oil and gas industry is no stranger to chemical substances like bases, hydrocarbons, and acids. Unlike some materials that melt or break apart when exposed to these substances, heat-resistant plastics can withstand them. They have corrosion-resistant properties that protect the material — and equipment as a whole — from deterioration and damage from these substances.
Protect your equipment and your employees by investing in heat-resistant plastics today.
Ensinger Brings Expertise to the Oil and Gas Industry
Ensinger Precision Components is a plastic molding company specializing in high-performance stock shapes and thermoplastic components to provide multi-faceted fabrication solutions for companies in the oil and gas industry.
A Trusted Plastics Partner for Meeting the Demands of Oil and Gas
Ensinger Precision Components has amassed extensive experience in the oil and gas industry. Through our years of business, we have curated a portfolio that specifically addresses the challenges that the oil and gas industries face.
Whether you need quality seals, backup rings, gears, bushings, and other materials, we have come up with high-quality material solutions to meet the demands of the industry and provide viable solutions to evolving concerns.
Solving the Challenges of the Oil and Gas Industry One Plastic at a Time
Heat-resistant plastics are one of our materials that solve some of the industry’s challenges and offer numerous advantages for a wide variety of oil and gas applications.
The plastics that we have for the oil and gas industry are low-weight, corrosion-resistant, and substance damage-resistant. We make sure to manufacture materials that are durable and long-lasting to ensure optimized performance during daily operations.
On top of this, we guarantee that our materials are good for friction and wear and tear. In the highly complex and demanding oil and gas industries, deterioration is quite common. That’s why we aim to solve this problem through our manufactured products.
Finally, all our thermoplastics for the oil and gas industry are heat-resistant to ensure safety, efficiency, and high productivity. No matter how demanding or challenging the environment is, our plastics can withstand them.
Ensinger: Your Heat-resistant Plastics Provider
Ensinger Precision Components is a leading plastic manufacturer in North America. More than providing high-performance materials and engineering thermoplastic components, we provide finishing capabilities that add substantial value to your daily operations.
Through our extensive experience in the oil and gas industry, we work closely with all of our customers to offer tailor-made solutions to suit their unique needs and application requirements. Our technical experts don’t only recommend the best materials, but we make sure to confirm our recommendations through a series of practical testing.
As a company dedicated to providing only the highest quality plastic possible, we abide by the International Quality System Standard and employ an impressive selection of equipment designed for quality control to guarantee that all of our manufactured materials meet the industry criteria.
Experience expert plastic engineering with Ensinger Precision Components.
Contact our experts today and get started on building your heat-resistant plastics.