Plastic vs Urethane Sheets for Cutting Surfaces

Whether it be a manufacturing work bench or a table top for food processing, many industries utilize cutting surfaces. Companies have a range of material options for cutting surfaces including rubber, plastic, glass, metal, and urethane. Selecting the right cutting surface for your application is crucial – if you choose a material that does not last, downtime can result in costly production loss and inefficiencies. These problems can be avoided by selecting the right cutting surface upfront.

Plastic vs. Urethane Sheets for Cutting Surfaces

Many industries prefer urethane cutting surfaces over other material alternatives. This article will compare plastic and urethane sheeting, and below are the benefits of using urethane versus plastic sheets for cutting surfaces.

  • Strength & Impact Resistance: plastics often crack or break under impact loading or stress, especially at higher durometers (hardness). Conversely, urethane is not brittle and will maintain its strength and impact resistance over a range of durometers.
  • Elasticity: plastics tend to stretch and either break or deform, unable to return to their original shape. Urethane has incredible elasticity and is able to be stretched and regain its shape without sacrificing strength or integrity.
  • Durability: urethane cutting surfaces are more durable and have a higher abrasion resistance than plastics. Urethanes are also tear-resistant, and can withstand a wide range of operating conditions and environments without sacrificing quality or performance. For example, urethane maintains its excellent mechanical properties in extreme high and low temperatures – something plastic simply cannot do.
  • Self-Healing: this property is a key differentiator as plastic is not self-healing whereas urethane is. Additionally, urethane cutting surfaces prevent cutting blade deflection from scarred working surfaces or from following previous cut marks.
  • Chemical Resistance: this is an important property for cutting surfaces in many manufacturing applications. Simply put, urethanes are resistant to degradation from a wider spectrum of chemicals than plastics.
  • Versatility: urethane is ideal for cutting surfaces as it can be formulated to meet the specific needs of each application. Urethane cutting surfaces are customizable including color, thickness, shape, and durometer (hardness). When compared to plastic, urethane offers versatility and reliability that is unmatched, which makes it the preferred material for many industrial applications.
  • Cost-Effective: urethane cutting surfaces are a very cost-effective solution and are often less expensive than plastic.
  • FDA Approval: robust cutting surfaces are a necessity in restaurants, grocery stores, kitchens, and various other food-related applications. While FDA approval is not typically a differentiator between urethane and plastic, FDA approval along with the properties above make urethane cutting surfaces an excellent choice for food processing and handling applications. Click here to learn more about PSI’s FDA approved urethane products for food processing applications.

PSI’s Urethane Sheeting Solutions

PSI’s single batch casting process allows us to manufacture sheets to your specific needs. Do you need to bond material to metal? We can produce precision cast sheets with no wax on one side or both, and our standard cast sheets with no wax on one side. This means you do not have to rough up your sheet material for it to adhere to a substrate permanently. Do you need a dual durometer sheet for a tough application? We can produce a range of thicknesses and durometers in dual durometer sheets to fit your exact application. Our process guarantees they will not delaminate, even under extreme pressure. Click here for more info on our urethane sheet stock features and availability.

Polyurethane Pads: we hand-pour our urethane pads to meet each customer’s specific needs. Standard durometers include 60A, 70A, 80A, and 90A, and custom durometers are also available. Polyurethane pads can be utilized in their flat state in applications such as table tops, cutting pads and liners. Die cutters, waterjet cutters and machine shops can convert these flat pads into simple gaskets, rings, seals, scrapper blades or an array of other custom parts.

Standard Sheeting: stock urethane sheets for the purpose of giving you a cost-saving avenue when tight thickness tolerances are not critical.

Precision Sheeting: precision cast sheets come in a variety of forms and custom formulations while still maintaining tight tolerances when seamed together. When requested, PSI offers tolerances as close as ±.001″

With over 50 years of experience delivering the highest quality urethane products, PSI Urethanes stands unequaled in helping companies in hundreds of industries around the world apply urethane products to their critical business applications. Since 1966, through our own independent research and activity in the Polyurethane Manufacturers Association, PSI Urethanes has stayed on the leading edge of urethane technology – including developing advances in new materials, comprehensive designs, and processing technologies. Today we are among the most respected and trusted suppliers of custom cast urethane products.

Contact us today to see how we can help with your cutting surfaces, or give us a call at 1-800-888-5156.