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What Are the Pros and Cons of Urethane Bumpers?

B. Turner
B. Turner

Urethane bumpers refer to hard plastic knobs or pads used in manufacturing and industrial facilities. These bumpers serve as an alternative to traditional rubber or metal units, and are used to line the edges of conveyor belts and manufacturing equipment. Urethane bumpers serve as an effective method of aligning or positioning goods as they move through the production system, and also help to minimize damage to both machines and the products themselves. Despite their many benefits, these urethane devices may not be the best option for every application due to the high risk of wear or damage under certain conditions. Company owners and maintenance crews should weigh the pros and cons of urethane bumpers before deciding whether to add these devices to a factory or assembly line.

One of the primary advantages associated with urethane bumpers is their low cost compared to traditional metal or mechanical devices. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and are easy to mold into both recessed and non-recessed profiles. By guiding components through a machine, these bumpers help to speed up production and reduce the need for manual intervention. Compared to other types of bumpers, they are also non-marking, which helps to reduce damage to the product. They are also quieter and contain no moving or mechanical pieces, making them easier to maintain over time.

Man with a drill
Man with a drill

Urethane bumpers are one of the most wear-resistant plastics on the market, and will last longer than rubber or PVC under most conditions. They are also strong, yet flexible enough to absorb shock and protect products without damaging them. These bumpers are very simple and easy to install, and many feature built-in adhesive or fasteners to minimize downtime. Unlike alternative bumper-and-shock-absorption systems, these units feature no springs or other complex operating systems that could pose a challenge during installation.

While urethane bumpers work well in many settings, other bumpers may be more appropriate for certain types of applications. For example, urethane and other plastics are vulnerable to extreme temperatures, and should not be used around very hot objects. Extremely cold objects could also cause the urethane to crack or shatter, leading to rapid failure. These units also offer very little resistance to fire, and will melt or distort during a fire emergency or exposure to high levels of heat.

Urethane bumpers also are a fairly ineffective option for projects involving contaminants like grease, oil, or chemicals. These substances will wear away the surface of the bumper as they come into contact with it, which could reduce its effectiveness. This could also lead to frequent replacement and more downtime compared to bumpers made from more durable materials.

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