Understanding ‘What is engineered polyurethane?’ is important if you need to source parts that are precisely cut. It’s a solution that offers incredible accuracy and durability.
Polyurethane is the perfect example of an engineered material.
The definition of anything that’s engineered is that you purposefully and skilfully create the item, to an extent that’s not possible naturally or spontaneously.
Polyurethane is designed and manufactured differently according to the form and function of each application. So, you can engineer polyurethane to be a soft foam, used in furniture cushions and car seats for example. Or, engineered polyurethane can be a liquid with superior adhesive properties, drying to a rock-hard finish.
Most of the engineered polyurethane we handle is moulded to a solid form, and precision cut to create bespoke parts.
However, this simple statement covers a multitude of possibilities!
This is because polyurethane that’s solid can still be created to meet a diverse range of tensile targets. Including versions as strong and hard as metal, or polyurethane blends that are malleable, bending and then returning to shape instantly.
How is this variation created?
The vast range of polyurethane forms – and therefore applications – that are achievable all come down to the mix.
The basic ingredients that create this polymer have been established for decades – you need a polyol – which is an organic compound containing multiple reactive hydroxyl groups (OH radicals). Then, you add in a diisocyanate (or polymeric isocyanate).
This blend is highly reactive, and together creates a closely bonded material with a wide range of important benefits. Once this initial mixing is done, you can mould and finish polyurethane in a myriad of ways, to also alter the outcomes.
That’s why Custom Moulded Polyurethane has invested in skills and equipment to meet the diverse finishing requirements that customers demand when commissioning engineered polyurethane parts.
Why engineer parts from polyurethane?
Of course, there are other engineered materials you can use to create bespoke parts. For instance, rubber is often the substance that new polyurethane parts are created to replace.
Why is engineered polyurethane preferable?
Partly due to the way you can diversify its blend. You can mix the ingredients together with additives and catalysts with unparalleled creativity. Each time getting a different result and creating polyurethane formulas to fit a vast range of specs. For instance, you can mix in translucent or pigmented chemicals, varying the appearance, such as to engineer colour-coded parts.
Also, by varying the ingredients that create the chain reaction, you can achieve a shore hardness range for engineered polyurethane that goes from 10°A to 85°D. No other material can boast such perimeters, and still be incredibly lightweight and durable.
Also, unlike rubber, engineered polyurethane is incredibly resilient. It is not affected by friction, abrasion, cold or heat. It’s also resistant to water, moulds, mildew and oil.
The cost advantages that engineered polyurethane has over metal or other plastics are also considerable. It is also lightweight when compared to metal even when engineered to have superior load-bearing capacity.
You can engineer polyurethane to be highly impact-resistant and strong, and the finished part can still be incredibly intricate if you employ the right tools, moulds and skills.
Turnaround time for engineered polyurethane parts
This is another primary reason why engineered polyurethane is increasingly replacing alternative materials. It is possible to commission a bespoke part made of PU in a very short timeframe. Custom Moulded Polyurethane has the technology, equipment and skills to respond to even detailed briefs promptly.
The time savings you can make by using engineered polyurethane can progress a prototype project swiftly, or avoid machinery downtime or inefficiencies. This is another economic advantage of engineered polyurethane, alongside its low cost.
Which industries use engineered polyurethane?
It is actually pretty much impossible to find any industrial sector that doesn’t use engineered polyurethane!
You can find polyurethane parts in everything from the oil and utilities sector, to automobile construction and agricultural machinery. It is found in furniture, construction, car parks and the wheels that turn UK manufacturing along.
The list of polyurethane parts we have produced to date becomes more varied every month.
A better question is, now you know what engineered polyurethane is, why are you not using it already? All you need to do is contact us with your spec, and we can create a fast, free quote for producing engineering polyurethane that’s an ideal match; mixed, shaped, cut and finished flawlessly to meet your brief. Get in touch with us to get started.