Polyethylene: The difference between UHMWPE, HMWPE, HDPE, LDPE Plastic Sheet Plastic Components

The higher the molecular weight of the polyethylene material, the easier it is to CNC machine. Similarly resistance to stress cracking and impact strength improves then higher the molecular weight of the polyethylene.


LDPE Low Density Polyethylene is very rarely CNC machined, it is most commonly supplied as plastic sheet or injection moulded into plastic parts.

HDPE PE300 grade

HDPE offers excellent chemical resistance but it is more difficult to CNC engineer into machine components.

PE300 grade is more rigid than polypropylene PP, it is often used as liners in chemical plants and chemical tanks.

Working temperature range: -40 to +80°C

It is often used as a medium quality food chopping board suitable for medium usage.

HMWPE PE500 grade

HMWPE is widely used as wear parts and abrasion resistant plastic components in the conveyor and materials handling industry.

HMW PE500 is slightly softer than UHMWPE 1000 grade and is the finest choice for food chopping boards, as it is kinder to knives than PE1000, and offers a more even, consistent and durable cutting surface than HDPE.

UHMWPE PE1000 grade

Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene is the toughest grade of the polyolefines. PE1000 grade has the ultimate wear resistance and abrasion resistance properties.

Working temperature: -200°C to +80°C

PE1000 grade is also extensively used as plastic parts on conveyor belts, plastic components such as wear strips, wear plates, conveyor tracks and straights. PE 1000 is approved for food contact making it the ideal material for bottling, canning and food processing plants.

For more information on Engineering Plastics, please download our guide, available below.

For a quotation on bespoke machined plastic components, or advise on the most appropriate plastic for your application contact our Lancashire engineering office direct on 01254 295707 or cnc@partwell.com

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