Potato Grower

June 2017

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34 POTATO GROWER | JUNE 2017 Diggin' In Diggin' In Diggin' In Diggin' In Diggin' In Diggin' In EQUIPMENT | Industry Report Switching to cast polyurethane parts for high-impact, high-wear applications Tough Stuff Although design engineers have traditionally specified parts made of rubber, plastic or steel when durability is required, many are considering a new alternative for the most demanding, high-wear, abrasion and impact applications: cast polyurethanes. Cast polyurethanes, also broadly referred to as urethanes, are tough, elastic materials that combine many of the performance advantages of high-tech plastics, metals and ceramics, along with the resiliency and flexibility of rubber parts. Unlike its closest counterpart, rubber, which is prepared as sheets or loaves before being molded in a high-pressure press, urethanes can be poured as a liquid mixture into less expensive, low- pressure molds. Using this technique, complex mold cavities can be filled without high-pressure molds and presses. This provides a multitude of advantages, not the least of which are lower tooling and production costs than both rubber and plastic molding. Lower material cost than metals and ceramics is another obvious benefit. In terms of performance, cast polyurethane parts are often lighter in weight than ceramics or metal alternatives and are not brittle and will not crack like plastics under stress or extreme temperatures. To be sure, cast polyurethane parts are not new. Nonetheless, awareness of the potential for this type of material has largely flown under the radar. This can be attributed to several factors, particularly a general lack of understanding of the options and formulations. One does not simply specify a polyurethane part, for example. There are many formulations—some proprietary—that can be used to manipulate a range of variables such as hardness, resilience, spring rate and chemical resistance. For this reason, design engineers interested in a possible switch to polyurethane from plastics, steel, ceramic or rubber parts are often best served by seeking out the Since 1972, Western Trailers has been building the highest quality, light weight potato trailers in the industry! Not only are our Spud Express Trailers the strongest, they are also the most gentle and even unloading potato trailers available on the market today! Building the best and making it better…your way! Learn more at www.westerntrailer.com or call 888.344.2539 164088WesTra12h.indd 1 4/20/17 2:24 PM

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