Acetal plastic, also known as polyacetal and polyoxymethylene (POM), is a general purpose, semi-crystalline, low friction engineered thermoplastic. It has high strength, and has excellent wear properties in both wet and dry environments. It is chemically resistant to solvents and neutral chemicals with the added benefit of being easy to machine. This makes it an excellent choice for applications that require complex, tight tolerances, and it is commonly used for parts that need to be very stiff with low surface friction and good dimensional stability.
There are a few types of Acetal which are made using different formulation variations. One thing they all have in common is that they are either a copolymer Acetal or a homopolymer Acetal. The differences between copolymer and homopolymer Acetal plastics are relatively small but measurable.
Acetal (POM) copolymers and homopolymers are available in formulations suitable for contact with food. This includes compliance with FDA. Most Acetals used for these applications are natural (white) colour, however there are compliant colourant additives available that can provide colour options.
As well as the above, there are Acetal plastics with metal detectable additives. These are made for the food processing and food packaging industries. They are often used as they make plastic particle contamination easy to spot using conventional metal detection systems. Food Grade Acetal (FDA compliant) is an optically detectable blue material suitable for food contact. It has good mechanical and wear properties, low moisture absorption, and is easy to machine to tight tolerances.
As Acetal is a thermoplastic used in precision parts, it is 100% recyclable either as feedstock or mechanically.
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