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A guide to etching – how it can help and what it can be used for

A guide to etching – how it can help and what it can be used for

What is etching?

In addition to being highly resistant to heat and chemicals, fluoroplastics also have low friction properties which makes them ideal for us as a ‘non-stick’ material. This makes them the ideal choice for use in a myriad of both everyday and more specialised objects spanning many different industries.

For this reason, fluoroplastics really are all around us. You might already be familiar with their usage as a non-stick coating for food processing equipment and cookware – and this non-stick ability makes them perfect for factory and industrial settings too.

Because almost nothing can stick to fluoroplastics, it is extremely hard for bacteria to build up on the material. Not only does this minimise bacterial contamination in a food and beverage production environment, but it also reduces the likelihood of infection in a medical setting too, making it ideal for use within medical instruments such as catheters and artificial heart valves.

Fluoroplastic’s low friction properties also prove convenient and useful for tubing within 3D printers, as liners for electrical wires, pipes, lights and thermometers, and even as a protective coating within dental fillings.

However, there are also times when you need fluoroplastic to be strong and resilient, but still attach it to other items and components. So to get around fluoroplastic’s inherent non-stick capabilities, the solution is to chemically etch the surface before bonding.

How can etching help?

If you are looking for a material which can withstand extreme temperatures and maintain its integrity over time, but you need to attach it to another material, then fluoroplastic etching is the perfect solution.

Etching involves immersing fluoroplastic material in a chemical solution to alter its molecular makeup and make it more malleable.

It is actually a unique and clever chemical process which works by stripping fluorine molecules from the carbon backbone of a fluoropolymer, leaving less electrons around its carbon atom. When exposed to the air, hydrogen, water and oxygen molecules work together with each other to restore the electrons, which then prompts a group of organic molecules to form hydrogen, and bond with each other – which ultimately enables adhesion.

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The history of fluoropolymers and their relevancy today

The history of fluoropolymers and their relevancy today

Fluoropolymers are what we here at Adtech do best. We’re experts in the design and manufacturing of polymers, and we supply to a variety of industries. But how did fluoropolymers come about, and why are they still so relevant today?

The history:

In 1938, scientist Roy J. Plunkett discovered fluoropolymers by accident. On working with fluorocarbon gasses, he opened the valve to one gas cylinder, but found that no gas came out of it. Upon cutting the cylinder open, he then discovered a white waxy substance which didn’t melt or dissolve. This was PTFE (nowadays better known as Teflon®), which has since become the most widely-used fluoropolymer material in the world.

In technical terms, fluoropolymers are fluorocarbon-based plastics with multiple strong carbon-fluorine bonds. Put simply, however, they’re the ‘superheroes’ of the plastic industry, some of the toughest materials around.

How common are fluoropolymers today?

Though we don’t always realise, fluoropolymers are now a critical part of our everyday lives. This is due to a number of unique properties which make them suitable for use in automotive, electrical and domestic applications, among others.

Fluoropolymers can be characterised by the following key features:

  • Non-stick
  • Chemical, electrical and solvent resistant
  • Strong and durable
  • Can withstand very high (+260°C) and very low (-200°C) working temperatures

With these in mind, fluoropolymers are vital in helping to provide a clean, safe and functional world.

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Adtech continues to support UoP Racing Team for 2019 season!

Adtech continues to support UoP Racing Team for 2019 season!

We're delighted to be able to support the UoP Racing Team for another season!

UoP Racing Team was created in 2002 at the University of Patras ,under the supervision of the Laboratory for Manufacturing Systems and Automation (LMS) ,of the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Aeronautics. The team consists exclusively of students, aiming to study and build a Formula car. Our goal is to participate in competitions and win the best possible position among top universities. Counting 15 years of continuous participation in the competition makes us one of the most experienced teams.

The Formula Student (FS) is the world's most established training engineering contest. This competition aims to develop and train talented young engineers, offering intensive experience in the field of design and construction, as well as examining the economic aspects of the automotive industry.

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The use of fluoroplastics for chemical processing

The use of fluoroplastics for chemical processing

Adtech supplies to the chemical processing industry on a regular basis. At its core, the chemical industry converts raw materials (oil, gas, water, metals, and minerals) into over 70,000 products which, as consumers, we encounter on a daily basis. From fertilisers which support agriculture to the actual cars we drive, almost every facet of our life is made possible by the presence of chemicals and chemical processing.

As expected, however, there are a number of risks associated with the chemical processing industry. Because chemicals are inherently hazardous and a number of them are flammable, explosive, toxic or corrosive, it’s important for processing plants to use materials which can handle the aggressive manufacturing environment. At Adtech, we produce fluoroplastics particularly with this in mind.

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Testimonial - Fluoropolymer Tube

Testimonial - Fluoropolymer Tube

Case Study - FEP Square Profile Components

Case Study - FEP Square Profile Components

We were approached by a client to create a rectangular profile component using a fluoropolymer.

Critical elements

  • High working temperature 
  • Non-stick
  • Thin wall
  • Good dielectric strength
  • Had to be made from a fluoroplastic raw polymer.
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We're Hiring!  We are looking for an Apprentice to join our Accounts Team

We're Hiring! We are looking for an Apprentice to join our Accounts Team

This role will really give you the opportunity to "own" the tasks delegated to you, to process from start to finish and allow you to develop skills and experience in all aspects of a busy accounts department.

Day to day tasks could consist of:

  • Purchase invoice approval and entry
  • Purchase leger tasks
  • Responsible for accuracy of credit account details
  • Customer and Supplier invoice queries
  • Credit control
  • Issuing of pro-form invoices and taking credit card payments
  • Progression of pro-forma invoices to orders – once paid
  • Invoicing
  • Stock

Working week

Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm Friday 8:30am to 2:00pm

Total hours per week: 37.50

Additional benefits include:

  • Company pension scheme for eligible workers
  • Health scheme offered after 2 years continuous service
  • 30 days holiday per annum including bank holidays
  • Annual shutdown over the Christmas/ New Year Period
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The use of fluoroplastics for environmental monitoring and testing

The use of fluoroplastics for environmental monitoring and testing

A clean and safe environment is essential for a healthy quality of life for the whole population. With so many factors affecting the world in which we live in, it’s vital that we frequently monitor and test the elements (such as water, gas, soil, pollutants, waste) that contribute to an unclean, polluted and potentially toxic air environment.

Day-to-day, these elements produce VOCs, or Volatile Organic Compounds, into the air, which impact both our bodies and the environment. Health-wise, VOCs can cause skin irritation, respiratory issues, headaches and fatigue. Environmentally, VOCs cause pollutants, the production of ozone and damage to materials and buildings.

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Fluoroplastics for safe, effective manufacturing in the food and drink industry.

Fluoroplastics for safe, effective manufacturing in the food and drink industry.

Fluoroplastics are massively useful in a food and drink production context, and at Adtech, we have years of experience behind us in supplying fluoroplastics to the food and drink manufacturing industry. Over time, we have worked hard to produce the best polymers that, when used in this industry, will ensure the safest, most effective workspace for your food and drink production needs.

In the UK, the food and drink industry is by far the biggest manufacturing sector. Contributing over £30bn to the economy and employing roughly one quarter of the UK’s total workforce, the importance of the food and drink manufacturing sector cannot be underestimated.

High performance fluoroplastic heat-shrink tubing and sleeving is crucial for food and drink manufacturing applications, due to their unique properties which set them apart from general purpose plastics such as PVC. In all manufacturing scenarios, but most importantly in the food and drink sector, it’s vital that workers are kept safe, and that products and produce remain uncontaminated. Here at Adtech, we manufacture all our fluoroplastic instruments specifically with this in mind.

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The oil and gas industry benefits our lives in many ways, supplying energy, heating homes, and fuelling transport. However, in the oil and gas industry, danger is almost always present.

The oil and gas industry benefits our lives in many ways, supplying energy, heating homes, and fuelling transport. However, in the oil and gas industry, danger is almost always present.

The oil and gas industry benefits our lives in many ways, supplying energy, heating homes, and fuelling transport. It is also vital to the production of most everyday essentials - from medical supplies to household appliances. Without the oil and gas industry, the production of our fluoroplastics wouldn’t be possible.

Yet in the oil and gas industry, the combination of powerful equipment, chemicals and processes creates an extremely hazardous environment – danger is almost always present. These harsh environments require rigorous safety measures and a range of materials that can withstand extremely high working temperatures, brine solutions, chemicals and oil residue. Fortunately, Adtech’s fluoroplastic materials do just that.

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