March 2012

Acrylic fabrication beyond decorative
Clear rectangular acrylic tank which is joined to the piping with a conventional expansion joint.

Almost everyone is familiar with decorative acrylic fabricated items such as display cases, point- of-purchase displays and even furniture. Far fewer people envision the vast depth of possibilities in the use of acrylic for more industrial or specialty commercial applications.
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Inside this issue

New development of continuous cast laser processing technique
Technical Advisory
Sustainability: Did You Know ...

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Expand Your Knowledge

New development of continuous cast laser processing technique

Two industry leaders in innovation, Lucite International and Universal Laser Systems established a collaboration between the two companies that resulted in a specific new laser processing technique for cutting and engraving a specific line of Lucite's continuous cast acrylic sheet products.

"From the initial design and styling of our sheet products, to the processes used for fabrication and to the final sale of the end product, Lucite is always looking for new and innovative ways to build upon the high standard of quality and function that define our brand," said Chris Robinson, sheet business manager for Lucite.

This laser technique has now been added to Lucite's fabrication guide, included in the article below and also on its web site.

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Technical advisory

• Acrylic thermoplastics are products of polymerization of acrylic esters.

• Acryic materials are available in cast sheet, continuous cast and extruded sheet, film and a number of small pellets for injection molding and extrusion. Tubes and rods can also be cast or extruded.

• All cast grades are strong, stable, weather resistant and thermoformable. Sheets are also available in transparent, translucent and opaque colors, and in a variety of surface textures.

• Sheet coating is available at a premium price to those customers who object to the scratching and marring of acrylic sheet.


Sustainability of plastic: Did you know…

• The use of plastics in the generation and storage of energy, as well as to prevent heat energy, are clear.

• Light transmission is the most critical factor in systems that use solar energy to generate power. Certain types of acrylic with 92 percent light transmission or above are the best choice in these systems.

• A key benefit of acrylic is that it can lower operational costs at your facility. Using a heatstopping material in a skylight rather than glass or standard acrylic can save as much as $0.77/sq. ft. per year in air conditioning costs. In scenarios in which air conditioning is not used, the number of high-temperature days indoors is reduced by 30 percent, creating a much improved work environment.


More Plastics Resources

Introduction to Plastics is more than an introduction
It's everything you need to know about more than 50 plastic materials commonly used today in industry, signage and visual merchandising, building and construction, and pipe, valves and fittings. This book provides such details about plastics as:

  • Their comparative properties
  • How they're made
  • Appropriate applications
  • Processing and fabrication techniques

Learn more


Get to know your distributor

IAPD distributors are your best source for finding materials for your application. Go to www.iapd.org to find a distributor in your area. You can search by company name, location or product category.

The IAPD Magazine
This bi-monthly magazine contains expert-written articles on innovative plastic materials and applications. Each issue focuses on different materials and industries. Subscribe today to stay informed of what’s going on in the plastics distribution market.

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Designing with Plastics is published by the International Association of Plastics Distribution. While every effort has been made for accuracy, IAPD encourages you to verify information with a plastics distributor to ensure you select the correct plastic products to meet your needs.