What Issues Do Plastics Solve In Sawmills?

We often write about specific plastic sawmill solutions and what benefits those offer in regards to sawmill/planarmill maintenance. However, sometimes it’s good to take a step back and look at the big picture of why we put industrial plastic in sawmills in the first place. It really comes down to a few primary problems that plastic solves: shock, noise, and wear.

First of all, shock. Sawmills are dynamic operations often involving large logs being transported around mechanically, processed, and with lumber that’s still quite heavy being further transferred. While these logs and lumber move they bang around different pieces of equipment. As this occurs month after month, hour after hour, they can damage sawmill equipment. Weak areas such as welds are very prone to shock and impact. Plastics such as Redco Deadplate or dissipater channel assist in protecting equipment by absorbing this shock and thus protecting valuable sawmill equipment.

Secondly, noise. All this dynamic movement, chains running, banging of lumber and logs, causes a lot of noise. Often governmental agencies have limits on the decibel level of noise that is permissible in a facility. Plastics when mated to metal components greatly reduce noise and thus can assist to reduce the noise in a facility to more acceptable levels.

Last but not least, wear. When components of similar materials are mated to each other this causes increased wear. Examples would be metal sprockets mated to metal chain, or chain running in a metal channel. Plastics provide a low friction, wear-resistant surface, that when mated with metals increases the lifespan of expensive equipment. The reduction in maintenance needs also reduces maintenance downtime and thus increases time in production.

For more information on the benefits that plastics offer sawmills and planarmills, please contact us today.


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Custom Colored Polyurethane Parts

Polyurethane is one of the main plastics used for sawmill applications. Everything as diverse as kraftmill safe machined U-channel, to sprockets, Shark Fin lugs, and bearings. Softer urethane being used for Redco Deadplate or other shock and vibration dampening products. Most of the time for customers color isn’t important but sometimes a mill manager or maintenance supervisor might think it is. This could be for any reason from part identification to ensuring a part is high visibility for safety reasons. The good news is that the polyurethane sawmill parts offered on this site are available in custom colors, usually with no additional cost! This assumes its a standard colorant that is stocked by Redwood Plastics and Rubber.

The exception to the “no additional cost” is the bearing-grade urethane Redco 750 used also in sprockets. To be clear, this product IS available in custom colors too – but there will be a charge that is quoted on a case-by-case basis. The reason is a separate machine is used to make these products that requires cleaning and a new set up to change color from the standard red. It is important for you to know it CAN be done! The high visibility option mentioned previously in either orange or yellow has potential that shouldn’t be discounted. If you have any questions, please contact Redwood Plastics and Rubber.

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Sawmill Bushing and Bearing Materials

Plastics are excellent bushing material that replace metal. In contract to metal, plastic bearings are self-lubricating, require less grease or maintenance, and last longer. Typically six different plastic materials could be used as these bushings and each will be described.

Redco Polyurethane:

Called “Redco 750 XL” this is a lubrication impregnated polyurethane bearing material. It’s used where shock and vibration are special factors. It has the advantage of being able to be molded which means a low per-piece cost when purchased in bulk.
Redco Nylon:

The most common bearing material in a sawmill, nylon takes high pressure (4000 PSI) and is available in solid and liquid lubrication impregnated versions. High temperature formulas are also available.


Redco Acetal:

Perhaps the least common material used in sawmills, acetal replaces nylon in moisture-rich or submerged environments as nylon suffers from moisture absorption issues unlike most plastics.


Redco Phenolic:

Typically used under the highest load or highest heat applications.


Redco PTFE:

Used where extreme heat or extreme chemical exposure occurs but where a light duty (500 PSI or less) bearing material will suffice.


Redco UHMW:

No moisture absorption and is good for light load applications.


If you’re interested in more information or a quotation please contact Redwood Plastics and Rubber.

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UHMW Yellow Wear Strip

While many maintenance managers know about UHMW U-channel for use with sawmill chain, less people seem to know that the same yellow/clean/reprocessed material that provides the channel with its excellent benefits is also available in simple, flat, wear strip. This typically comes in 250′ coils though it can be purchased in cut-to-size strips that cost approximately 50% more per linear foot than the full coil. The most common thickness of this stock is 3/8″; however, customers also request 1/4″ and 1/2″ thick strips at times. Widths up to 6″ are available. This is an excellent solution to bolt in on top of existing metal channel. The product is slick, long-lasting, and increases profit by increasing the lifespan of the mated chain (so it lasts longer) as well.

For more information on this product, please contact Redwood Plastics and Rubber.



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The Benefits of Nylon Sorter Sheaves

Swapping out customer’s existing metal sorter sheaves for our nylon sheaves is a typical sawmill application for industrial plastic. But why should you consider this investment? The answer comes down to the fundamental properties of nylon and the benefits it offers to your mill. Unlike most metals, nylon sorter sheaves will not rust and they are also lighter and easier to install. They are commonly available in a dark grey “moly-filled” version of nylon plastic called Redco MD but can also be had in oil-filled grades permitting less lubrication. Redco MD’s moly filler provides excellent wear properties on lower rotation applications. The plastic is long-lasting and requires less maintenance. While a press fit bearing can be supplied, the material itself is also a fantastic bearing material so a simple thru-hole for the bore is usually the most economical.

The benefits to your mill are:

  • Reduced maintenance
  • Less changing of parts
  • Save money in the long run

For assistance with your sorter sheaves please contact Redwood Plastics and Rubber.


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Custom J-Hooks and C-Bars

Polyurethane J-hooks and C-bars are a sawmill staple, with the plastic used usually being 75D hardness polyurethane. These hooks and c-bars are typically molded which means there is an upfront tooling cost; however, the per-part price is much lower than a machined part. Redwood Plastics and Rubber can manufacture whatever hook profile you need but there are other modifications to these hooks that can be done to suit customer’s needs. Firstly, a grit surface can be provided which increases the grip characteristics of the hook. LSI (steel later plates) are commonly embedded in the slider block at the top where the hook gets bolted in to provide reinforcement. In addition, the hooks can be manufactured out of SPS2000 which is kraftmill safe.

The colors of the hooks can also be customized (does not cost additional unless it’s a non-standard colour). Other potential additions include adding a screw for metal detectable properties or embedded lubricants.

For assistance or quotation on your plastic hooks or c-bars please contact Redwood Plastics and Rubber.


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Oil-Impregnated Plastics

One of the common advantages of performance industrial plastic is that, when the optimal material is used, they reduce maintenance costs and equipment downtime. This results in substantial cost-savings and, overall, increased profits. Customers ask – how do plastics result in less maintenance or downtime? One common part of maintenance when it comes to bearings, gears, sprockets, and most metal parts is the requirement to grease. Certain plastics require this as well; however, the fun of plastics is that we get to play with formulations.

Many of the plastics that would be used in dynamic applications can be produced with liquid lubricants. This ability to impregnate plastics with oil reduces friction and the need for greasing. This is very valuable in cutting down maintenance costs; however, it’s even better when it comes to parts that are operating in difficult to access workspaces. Having lubricants in the plastic reduces the wear on them and can also increase part life. The changes in cost for lubricant additives are nominal, between 15-30% depending on the plastic but the added benefits are worth it!

For Redwood Plastics and Rubber, playing with formulations for their nylon and Tuffkast line is easy and can allow creativity. For example, we can combine the excellent wear properties of the moly-filled nylon with oil. Or, we could combine an oil-filled Tuffkast with a UV-inhibitor. Sometimes lubricants are not even required for better slickness and higher wear, for example replacing traditional reprocessed UHMW chain channel with Redco Titanium.

For more information how lubricated plastics can help your sawmill please contact Redwood Plastics and Rubber today.

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Product Spotlight: Redco SPS-2000

Redco SPS-2000 is a remarkable plastic that has excellent properties and is far from being one-dimensional. The product was specifically developed to be used for mills supplying fiber to kraft pulp mills (or for use at those mills themselves). SPS-2000 dissolves in the Kraft cooking process and will not contaminate the fiber. This itself makes it an excellent material but there are advantages far exceeding just being kraftmill safe. Firstly, it has the lowest coefficient of friction of all polyurethanes. This makes it very slick. It takes heavy load (2500 PSI) and is also wear and abrasion-resistant. SPS-2000 is oil & solvent resistant and has high dimensional stability.

Applications for this plastic are wide and should be even more widespread. SPS-2000 functions very well as wear strips, liners, flytes, hooks, or virtually any other application requiring a “hard” plastic. An exception would be bearings where the similar lubricated 750XL is available. Like other urethanes, SPS-2000 is easily molded into custom parts.

For more information on how Redco SPS-2000 can benefit you mill, contact Redwood Plastics and Rubber.


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On-Site Sawmill Audit

Are you a purchaser or a maintenance manager at a North American sawmill? Are you curious how performance plastics might be able to positively affect your bottom line and lower costs such as you’ve read on this website previously?

While we can only offer it in select territories, Redwood Plastics and Rubber’s team of technical sales people are willing to come to your sawmill to discuss your needs and audit your mill’s current performance. We would have you take us for a tour while conversing about maintenance and productivity issues you’re dealing with. Along the way we would keep our eyes open for areas our products might be able to assist as well as quickly spot locations where some of our more standardized products such as kiln wheel bushings, sprockets, and chain channel might fit in.

Our focus is on:

  • Reducing maintenance costs/downtime
  • Increasing productivity
  • Reducing energy requirements
  • Increasing part life
  • Increasing profitability

When it comes to pulp mills we can further drill down to the benefits of our pulp-safe plastics both SPS-2000 urethane and Redco Synsteel. To discuss the potential of an on-site sawmill audit please contact Redwood Plastics and Rubber.

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Simple Nylon Pulleys For Sales Online

Do you have a sawmill and are you in need of some simple sheaves/pulleys? Redwood Plastics and Rubber now offers an online store for quick purchase of a simple pulley. You need to know the following information:



-Rope diameter or groove width

-Groove depth

-Bore diameter

The online site will also give you an option for “color” but this is actually choosing between two materials: Redco natural nylon or Redco MD (moly-filled) nylon which is grey. In most cases the MD is superior so default to that choice unless you have a good reason (such as food processing application). You can expect a 4 week delivery for the sheaves so plan accordingly.

To order the sheaves head to Redwood Plastics and Rubber’s site here.

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