Engineering Plastics


Tough, hard and rigid, ABS is easy to machine and can be solvent cemented. Grades can be electroplated. Major engineering use as fittings in waste and ventilation systems

Acetal (POM):

Copolymer and Homopolymer. Both grades are dimensionally stable with minimum creep resistance and absorb little moisture. Outstanding abrasion resistance. Easy to machine to close tolerances with good electrical properties. Copolymer has better chemical resistance at elevated temperatures . High tensile strength and flexural strength, resists fatigue and creep. Homopolymer has slightly better mechanical properties with high surface hardness but, may be subject to centre line porosity.

Acrylic (PMMA):

Plexiglas and Perspex acrylic, in transparent grades have a light transmission greater than glass. Also unequalled resistance to weathering and ageing. Very easy to cut, machine, heat bend (can also be cold formed) and shape. Can be bonded with reaction adhesives and polished to mirror finishes. Good resistance to alkalis and limited resistance to organic solvents. Is a natural choice for almost all sign and display applications. Available in Clear, Opals and a large range of colours.

Engraving Laminates:

ABET Engraving laminate consists of 3 or 5 laminations of different colours bonded homogeneously together in resin to provide a high gloss or matt surface which can be engraved to reveal a contrasting colour. Very high abrasion resistance, similar to kitchen worktops, and good chemical resistance is ideal for long term signs however, minor colour changes can be expected over long periods of UV exposure. Class 2 Fire Rating (BS476 Part 7).

Cobex Engraving Laminate is manufactured by pressing thin PVCU calendered foils to produce an homogeneous sheet. Can be easily fabricated using conventional engraving techniques, provided care is taken to avoid heat build up. Ideally suited for internal signs and nameplates. Complies with requirements of BS3757 A1.

Vynalast Engraving Laminate is a modified grade for internal and external signs, labels, control panels and nameplates. Being a flexible thermoplastic, it has high resistance to impact and can be line bent to produce free standing signs, or curved to fit a column. Can be sawn, guillotined or punched. Performs well is chemically aggressive environments. Complies with the requirements of BS3757 A1

High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS):

Styrene is used extensively for Point of Purchase and display advertising. HIPS possesses a very wide tolerance range of forming temperatures, throughout which the polished surface is retained even after heating and bending. Its impact strength means it can be guillotined, punched, routered or sawn without difficulty. It is readily susceptible to solvent attack and therefore presents few problems with the adhesion of silkscreen printing inks or solvent cementing.. Polystyrene will quickly degenerate in UV light, turning yellow and losing mechanical strength. For outdoor use it is possible to produce UV stabilised grades or, for smaller quantities, apply an acrylic spray lacquer for short term protection. Will burn (Class 4 to BS476 Part 7) with a black sooty flame, leaving smuts.

Nylon (PA, Polyamide):

Many grades of nylon have been developed over the years including:
Extruded and Cast Nylon 6 both of which are similar but Cast being harder and therefore easier to machine with improved resistance to creep and heat ageing, this also means that very large, stress free parts can be supplied. Abrasion resistant and overall wear performance are probably the most important characteristics of Cast Nylon 6, invaluable in bearing applications. Natural Cast 6 is FDA Compliant and therefore suitable for applications where food contact is involved.
Nylon 66 has even better mechanical properties, being harder and stiffer. It also has a slightly higher temperature resistance and is the best machining grade.
Nylon 12 has high chemical and hydrolysis resistance. Low water absorption gives good dimensional stability. Good for impact loads at low temperatures.
Molybdenum Disulphide (MOS2) nylon provides a degree of self lubrication leading to an improvement in wear properties of the material. This, combined with lower water absorption extends the range of applications that MOS2 has over cast nylon 6. Additives can be included in this material EG. UV Stabilised and Anti-Static.
Oil Filled Nylon Rod (Oilon, Nyloil) has a bearing life increase of 5 times that of Natural Cast Nylon and, an incredible 25 times that of phosphor bronze. The lubricant is permanent and will not drain, machine, spin, leech or dry out. FDA Compliant.
Heat Stabilised (HS Blue) Nylon has additives in the form of high temperature resistant colours, heat stabilisers and UV Stabilisers which, allows HS Blue to better retain its mechanical properties in applications operating at higher temperature ranges.
Nylube is the ultimate supreme wear resistant grade of nylon containing combined liquid/solid lubricant system allowing for a coefficient of friction as low as 0.08. Particularly suited to dry running bearing applications throughout a wide load, speed and temperature range (up to 120°C). FDA Compliant for food and pharmaceutical industries.


PETG is glass clear. High rigidity, impact strength, food compatibilit, easy processing and thermoforming mean this a suitable material for many shop fitting and display applications, normally recommended for internal applications, UV grades are available for external applications. PETG is FDA Approved and can be sterilised using either ethylene oxide or gamma radiation, making it suitable for packaging in medical applications and food environments.

Polycarbonate (PC) Lexan®, Makrolon®:

Available in clear, opal, tinted and glass filled. Clear Polycarbonate makes an ideal substitute for glass in lighting applications and, is the preferred material for machine guards as it has extremely high impact strength over a wide temperature range. It is weather resistant, some grades are UV resistant and, possess good fire properties (BS476 Part 7 Class 1). In addition to the ‘standard polycarbonates’ we offer special grades, i.e. scratch resistant ‘Margard’ and Aircraft Grades (Europlex and Lexan F2000).

Polyethylene (PE) – LDPE, HDPE (PE300), HMWPE (PE500), UHMWPE (PE1000):

LDPE is a softest of the grades of polyethylenes and is used primarily for washers and gaskets in the plumbing industry and, is suitable for vacuum forming applications.
HDPE is the workhorse of all polyethylenes as it has excellent chemical and good low temperature resistance. It is susceptible to stress cracking and, other than in black, has poor UV resistance. Main uses are for pipe fittings to compliment water and corrosive materials systems. Boron loaded HDPE can be used as a neutron absorber in reactors.
HMWPE is used extensively for wear or abrasion resistant components on conveyors, chutes, troughs, tension bars, shock absorbers and liners. It is often specified for cutting boards.
UHMWPE is the toughest of all the polyolefins. It has extraordinary wear and particularly abrasion properties (ten times better than carbon steel) coupled with good low temperature impact strength, elongation, tensile strength and freedom from environmental stress cracking. It also has low coefficient of friction. Many types carry FDA and BGA approval for use in contact with drugs and foodstuffs. Applications include wearstrips, liners to chutes and conveyor belts, food processing and bottling plants.

Polypropylene (PP):

PP is the hardest and stiffest polyolefin material with a better high temperature performance than HDPE or UHMWPE. Fire retardant and anti-static grades are available for special applications and fleece or fabric backed sheets provide the key to GRP laminations, to provide structural strength for large fabrications. Its usage is limited as an engineering plastic, primarily to pumps, valves and actuators for fluid handling and noxious chemical containment, along with tank fabrication, pickling baths. PP is also used in cladding and hygiene applications. “Correx” fluted polypropylene is also supplied, this is used in the manufacture of signs (estate agents boards etc) and boxes and also ESD packaging.

PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene):

PTFE is an extraordinary material. With no significant mechanical strength, it is nevertheless tough, has moderate tensile strength and high elongation at break. Its uniqueness comes by way of its stability over a temperature range of – 250° to + 250°C, its chemical inertness, its electrical resistance and, above all, its very low coefficient of static and dynamic friction. Because it deforms under load, its value as a bearing material is limited. A variety of filled grades are available including Glass, Graphite, Mica, Bronze and Carbon

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride):

One of the workhorses of the plastics industry, PVC is relatively cheap, has very good acid and alkali resistance and excellent dielectric properties. It is stiff and strong, low moisture resistance and inherently flame retardant (BS476 Part 7 Class 1) and good UV resistance. From an engineers point of view, it has a restrictive temperature range between 5°C, below which it becomes brittle and 60°C, above which mechanical properties decrease rapidly. Foamed PVC (Forex, Foamex or Foamalux) is also supplied by Holbourne and, is used extensively in the sign making industry.

Please contact our sales/technical department on 01543 570011 for more detailed information/data sheets for these, or any other products which you may be interested in.