Why Urethane is Best for Industrial Applications

When compared to rubber, metal, and plastic, urethanes versatility is undeniable, which makes it the preferred material for many industrial applications. See how urethane stacks up against its top competitors in the context of everyday industrial applications. Make sure you’re using the best material for your needs, your budget, and the safety of your employees!

How Urethane Compares To…


Rubber and urethane often go head-to-head when it’s time to replace parts in automated systems, industrial machines, and other applications. Each time, urethane is the clear winner, especially for bushings, spacers, and other high load-bearing applications.

Compared to rubber, urethane offers superior abrasion and tear resistance, a higher load-bearing capacity, and superior tolerance to grease, oil, oxygen, and ozone.

Rubber parts tend to need to be replaced more often than their urethane counterparts, which can lead to increased downtime and decreased productivity. Together, these factors can lead to an uptick in costs and a stall in operations.

Take rubber gaskets, for example. Gaskets and seals fill the gap between two objects to prevent leakage and act as a vibration dampener under compression. To do their job well, a gasket needs to ensure a tight seal and be durable enough to hold up in a wide range of conditions. Rubber gaskets can degrade and rot over time, swelling and cracking faster than urethane gaskets. This means that an application relying on rubber gaskets will be compromised sooner than one using urethane gaskets.


Urethane has very distinct advantages over metal, especially in industrial applications where noise, weight, abrasion, electrical conductivity, and magnetism must be considered. In an abrasive application, compared to metal, urethane lasts longer and costs less to mold and produce. Urethanes molecular composition means that it doesn’t readily conduct electricity or corrode.

Choose urethane over metal for your industrial application and you can expect improvements in noise reduction, fabricating costs, weight, sparking, abrasion damage, flexibility, and impact resistance.

Springs are generally one application where customers might switch from steel or rubber springs to urethane springs, especially in suspensions, clutches, elevators, escalators, and shock absorbers.


With so many formulations of plastic available, it’s tough to do a one-to-one comparison of plastic and urethane. In general, however, you can expect cast urethane to cost less to tool and provide you with increased noise reduction, abrasion/impact resistance, and material rebound. Also, urethane is not brittle like most plastics and will maintain its strength and impact resistance over a range of durometers (hardnesses).

Let’s look at how urethane stacks up to plastic in a common industrial application, like sheeting for cutting surfaces. While plastic sheeting can be made food-safe like urethane, it is not self-healing or as resistant to as many chemicals as urethane. Cast urethane sheeting can also be manufactured in a variety of thickness tolerances and durometers, to perfectly align with the needs of an application and work environment. Depending on the formulation, a plastic sheet may not be able to offer the same flexibility and reliability.

Call PSI for Your Urethane Applications

PSI Urethanes has over 50 years of experience delivering the highest quality urethane products. Our engineers have already helped hundreds of companies around the world apply urethane products to critical business applications, and they’re ready to help you too! Call PSI Urethanes at (800) 888-5156 to see how we can help improve your business with custom cast urethane products! Or, request a quote online at any time, day or night.

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