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Author Archives: KevinP

  1. What Is an Industrial Laminate?

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    Industrial laminates are used in a wide range of commercial and industrial applications. WS Hampshire specializes in laminate fabrication, and our Ryertex® composite laminates and TIMCO Technical Plastics brands are known as the best in the industry. From electrical circuit boards and structural panels to bearings, bushings, and wear parts, our industrial laminates deliver reliable performance across diverse industries.

    Overview of Industrial Laminates

    Industrial laminates are created by stacking multiple layers of materials, typically with a decorative layer on top and a supportive substrate on the bottom. The middle layers may be fabric, paper, or glass fibers bonded together with high-quality thermosetting resins. By combining specific substrates and resins, you can produce properties that aren’t present in the individual substrates or resins alone.

    The resulting sheet material is durable and features high mechanical strength, electrical insulation, machinability, and more. The materials used to create the industrial laminate vary by application and the associated demands placed upon the thermoset composite. These applications include:

    • Bearings
    • Electrical transformers
    • Fixtures
    • Gears
    • Jigs
    • Thermal breaks

    Benefits of Industrial Laminates

    Industrial laminates are trusted because of their unique and customizable characteristics. With the right combination of phenolic, melamine, silicone, or epoxy resin and substrates like canvas, paper, linen, aramid, or fiberglass, you can customize your laminate solution to fit the specific demands of the application. When aesthetics matter, the laminate can include a decorative top layer. Other benefits include:

    • Durability: Industrial laminates can withstand heavy use without deforming or showing signs of wear. They’re lightweight relative to their strength.
    • Chemical Resistance: Certain laminates can be safely and reliably used in environments where they’re exposed to chemicals.
    • Impact Resistance: Industrial laminates are known for their impact resistance and are commonly applications such as steel rolling mills.
    • Machinability: Industrial laminates are easy to work with and are easily machined to suit specific applications and environments.
    • Electrical Insulation: This prized characteristic makes industrial laminates suitable for a range of electromechanical applications.

    Ryertex Industrial Laminates

    Originally known as Bakelite, Ryertex is a group of phenolic thermoset laminate products that were first developed in 1907 by Leo Baekeland. Ryertex has evolved over the years and is now used in everything from electronics to heavy equipment. Traditional applications using Ryertex include buttons, frying pan handles, and telephone mouthpieces. Today, the Ryertex® family of fiber-reinforced plastic composites include a variety of substrate and resin combinations for mechanical, electrical, and heavy industrial applications like bearings, wear liners, structural components, and electrical insulation.

    We also offer other phenolic composite materials, such as Arboron, Resiten, TOPLAB® PLUS, TOPLAB® BASE, TOPLAB® VERTICAL, and Virtuon® sheets.

    Rely on WS Hampshire for Industrial Laminate Fabrication

    As a custom fabricator of industrial laminate composites, WS Hampshire has worked with companies in a variety of industries, including paper and lumber processing, oil and gas, forestry, wire and cable, mining equipment, material handling, food and beverage packaging and processing, and more. We have global access to raw materials, and with our extensive capabilities, there is no limit to the sizes, shapes, quantities, and materials that we can produce. We’re here to help with your most complex challenges.

    Contact us today to learn more about industrial laminate fabrication, or request a quote for your project.

  2. What is Aeroponics?

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    Aeroponics is a technique used for indoor cultivation in a controlled environment.  There is no growing media like soil or coco and the water tanks so well known in hydroponics are eliminated.  In aeroponics, plant roots are suspended in air and fed directly by a nutrient rich water mist.  Because there is no media, plants do not expel energy searching for oxygen and nutrients, which means that grow faster and with higher yields than in other methods.  The use of mister systems allows for reduction in water consumption of up to 95%.

    Aeroponics was greatly advanced by NASA in the 19990’s for growing in space and is now extremely common for growing vegetables in urban environments.  The technique has long been used in the Clone stage of cannabis cultivation and is now becoming commonplace through the Veg and Flower stages.  High levels of grower control, the ability to grow vertically, and massive reductions in water consumption make aeroponics highly favorable.

    You can learn more on this page or this episode of cannacribs.



  3. Electrical Insulation

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    Electrical insulating materials from WS Hampshire take many forms and serve a wide range of application.  From polyester film used in the lighting industry, to corrugated vulcanized fiber in large transformers, to high temperature composites in the electric arc furnace of a modern steel mill.  Our extensive capabilities allow us to slit, roll, punch, form or CNC machine insulating materials into parts per your specifications.

    Contact us today to learn more about how our material and fabrication expertise can help you and your team.

  4. This is not a bearing failure…

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    It may be ugly, but this Ryertex bearing was NOT A FAILURE!  Follow here to see how this bearing set replaced bronze and gave one mill the ability to reduce the risk of tens of thousands of dollars in lost production and damaged equipment.

  5. Nylon Cable Pulling & Tensioning Rollers

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    Cable Pulling/ Tensioning Rollers

    Cable pulling equipment in the electric, telecommunications, and related industries use rollers to support the line being installed and for directional changes to protect the line from damage. This includes support blocks, snatch blocks, corning arrays/quadrants, and boom point roller-type sheaves on a variety of stringing equipment extensions.  These rollers were initially made of steel or aluminum, but corrosion damaged lines and safety concerns due to part weight led to changes. Rubber and urethane rollers have been used, but they have limitations caused by weathering, chemical attack, and wear.  

    Using nylon in place of steel, rubber, or urethane allows for improved performance and operational efficiency as nylon rollers are lightweight and will not cause damage your cable due to corrosion and wear.

    What applications are you working on where this may apply?

  6. What are Timco Technical Thermoplastics?

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    Thermoplastic Parts

    Engineering plastics are a form of polymer that are well known for their high mechanical strength, versatility, and ability to be melted and reformed into other shapes.  For decades, engineers have seen plastics replace metal in applications where weight reduction, corrosion resistance or low coefficient of friction is needed to reduce wear on mating parts.

    Plastics are lightweight so they are safer to maintain than steel and can reduce noise and vibration levels. Options exist to produce parts from fiber reinforced polymers as well as those that are self lubricating which can enhance the performance of plastics. These features help provide longer part life for the entire system, leading to cost savings for equipment manufacturers and end users.

    For example, a significant reduction in the weight of sheaves and wear pads will increases the lifting capacity of cranes or aerial work platforms and may offer a reduction in power requirements. Additionally, the handling and assembly of these parts is made safer as most plastics are one seventh the weight of steel.  Additionally, plastic materials cause very little wear on the contacted surface as seen where wire rope will last two to three times longer when plastic sheaves are used instead of steel. Scheduled maintenance for lubrication of parts is often reduced or eliminated completely when components are manufactured from plastics.

  7. Thermal Insulation Applications

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    CS85 Calcium Silicate Board

    As a full service provider of non-metallic materials, WS Hampshire is not limited to Ryertex and Timco Technical Thermoplastics that you probably know us best by.

    WS Hampshire supplies asbestos free thermal insulation boards for applications such as platen presses, foundries, glass handling, molding machines, fire protection, or customized applications with temperatures up to 1,800ºF.

    Materials include various Marinite, Glastherm, Transite, Mica, or CS85 and we can provide full sheets, or custom fabricated parts.

    Let us know what you are working on today and our team will provide the right insulating board for your specific application.

  8. “Dry” Versus “Conditioned” Nylon Explained

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    European cast nylon producers, and injection molding resin guides, report both “dry” and “conditioned” data for nylon-based materials which are hygroscopic (absorb moisture from the air) and can absorb upwards of 8% moisture by weight at saturation (compared to 0.8% for acetal).

    This is a completely reversible physical reaction as the higher the humidity, the faster nylon will absorb moisture. However, it only absorbs moisture until it is saturated and can absorb no more.  Conversely, it releases moisture and dries out when exposed to dryer air.

    Under normal conditions, nylon will reach equilibrium in a short period of time, though time will vary depending on thickness.  However, “equilibrium” is a relative term given its environment at a given time.  So, equilibrium will vary from Minnesota to Louisiana, and from winter to summer.

    Dry and conditioned data

    Nylons are semi-crystalline polymers, with both crystalline and amorphous regions. The tight crystalline regions give nylon much of its strength, stiffness and wear resistance.

    The amorphous regions absorb the water, which then bonds to the polymer chain and force the crystalline structures apart.  The result is nylon parts that swell and show diminished mechanical properties. Water actually acts as a plasticizer, making the nylon softer while increasing toughness and elongation. Since these effects happen when polyamides are exposed to moisture, they must be considered when designing a part.

    What is the difference between data quoted for dry and conditioned data for plastic materials? And why is this most significant for nylons

    Dry: Data with equivalent moisture content as when it was run (typically <0.2%).

    Conditioned: data after absorbing environmental moisture at 50% relative humidity prior to testing.

    Effect of moisture on properties

    In general, as moisture content rises, impact strength and other energy absorbing characteristics increase. Some other properties decline

    Variation of properties of nylon 6 as a function of humidity

    Dimensional stability

    When designing nylon components, it is important to consider that dimensions will be dramatically affected by temperature and humidity.  This is especially so on long parts. If the dimensional change is unacceptable, you should consider acetal (POM) or polyester (PET) as alternative materials as they provide additional stability in wet environments.

    At room temperature and 50% relative humidity, equilibrium moisture content for nylon tends to remain around 2%, which corresponds to an increase in size of roughly 0.5 – 0.6%. Under similar conditions, acetal absorbs roughly 0.2% moisture by weight and grow around 0.2%.

    Variations between nylon grades

    How much the different properties change depends a great deal on the chemistry of the polymer itself. Nylon types include 6, 6/6, 4/6, 6/12, 11, and 12 (types = number of carbon atoms in the molecule) Polyamide 12, for example, doesn’t absorb as much moisture as Polyamide 6, so Polyamide 12’s properties don’t fluctuate as much with moisture.

    Absorption of Moisture by Nylons by Weight % at 50% R.H. and Saturation @ 23°C (resin data)

    Additionally, as nylon absorbs moisture beyond equilibrium, its surface becomes “amorphous” (spongy), and wear resistance is lower. The addition of liquid or solid lubricants to the nylon offsets most of the decrease.

    Need help deciding what to use? The experts at WS HAMSHIRE can explain this and more, so you can make the best material decisions for your needs! Call us – you’re in the right place!


    Tom Connelly is a self proclaimed “Street Engineer” with over 40 years in the plastics industry.

  9. Happy Thanksgiving

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    Dear customers, vendors, and partners,

    Thank you for allowing us to do what we do.  As we enter the Thanksgiving week, we are reminded again that we would not be in the amazing position that we are today without the trust, support, and commitment that we receive from you every day.  Whether you are customer number one, a supplier that we only buy from sporadically, or somewhere in the middle, please know that we are thankful for all that you do in allowing us to succeed.  We truly could not do it without you.

    From our team to yours, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

    -WS Hampshire




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    Wear Pads

    Nylon – chemically polyamide (PA, not to be confused with polyimide, PI) was invented in 1935 by DuPont’s Wallace Carothers (PA 6/6). Nylon 6 (PA 6, extruded), or polycaprolactam, was developed by Paul Schlack at IG Farben to reproduce the properties of nylon 6/6 without violating DuPont’s patent. Initially used in fibers to replace silk in parachutes, stockings etc, these resins established the basic principles of polymer chemistry that have made plastics such a ubiquitous part of our lives today. Nylon was also injection molded into components for the automotive market with varying degrees of success…people back then disliked nylon timing chain sprockets as they constantly stripped out!

    (FUN FACT – “NYLON” was originally DuPont’s tradename, but DuPont didn’t protect it and it became so commonly used that they lost the right to it – today it is “ZYTEL®”)

    Generally, nylon machined parts have a robust combination of properties, including high strength-to-weight ratio, toughness and inherent wear resistance. Stock shapes in 6/6 nylon are all extruded; in type 6, it can be either extruded (Europe) or cast (worldwide). While there are slight property differences, usually the decision between PA 6/6 and 6 involves either size and/or specifically modified version availabilities.

    PA 6/6, sometimes referred to as Nylon 101 (old DuPont callout), is available in natural (off white), black, glass filled and specialty grades (low smoke, flame retardant, heat stabilized, impact modified).  There are no enhanced wear resistant versions currently available.

    NOTE: The crossover point [cost versus size] between unfilled extruded PA 6/6 and cast PA 6 is about 2.5” diameter rod, and .500” plate, over which cast PA 6 costs less to make.

    PA 6 – in North America, 99+% of PA6 is cast, so we’ll stick to that technology. Cast nylon was first invented in Europe in the 1950’s and introduced in the US in the early 1960’s. Since it is made by combining two liquid feedstreams into a tool which react to become PA 6, additives are much easier to incorporate, and a wide range of sizes and shapes are readily available (from thin plate to custom castings weighing hundreds of pounds).

    Here are the most popular grades of cast PA 6 currently available:


    UnfilledNatural, blackGeneral purpose
    MoS2 filledGrey, blackHigher crystallinity
    Heat stabilizedBlue, blackHigher cont. Temp. Use
    Oil-filledNatural, green, othersHigh load / low speed
    Oil & MoS2 filledDark blue, blackCrystallinity + lubricant
    Solid lubricant filledRed, grey, blackHighest PV rating
    Solid lubricant filledPurpleLowest “stick-slip”
    Impact modifiedBlue, yellowHigh impact resistance


    There are also alloys of PA 6, such as PA 6/12, which can offer lower moisture absorption and higher impact resistance.

    Again, it is nylon’s combination of properties that make it so widely used. There are many applications that have 4 or 5 key property requirements, where nylon isn’t #1 on any of them but #2 on all of them!

    Too many choices? No worries – the nylon experts at WS HAMPSHIRE can guide you through the selection process. You’re in the right place!


    Tom Connelly is a self proclaimed “Street Engineer” with over 40 years in the plastics industry.