All Posts By

alexyellop@gmail.com

What is cast acrylic?

By | NCA news

Welcome back to the NCA Ltd blog where we bring you the latest developments, news and updates from our plastic fabrication and acrylic engineering business. Often, when we are approached by clients they may ask various questions about our processes, procedures and the materials used. Of course, various materials and plastics have different qualities that can both lend themselves to specific operative environments as well as impact cost. In today’s blog post we offer a complete guide to acrylic in “What is cast acrylic”.

What is acrylic?

Firstly, what is acrylic? Well, depending on where you are in the world acrylic can have various names and meanings. Cast acrylic is a form of poly(methyl methacrylate) which itself is transparent thermoplastic that is often used as a lightweight and shatter proof alternative to glass. Cast acrylic is formed through a casting process where a monomer, methyl methacrylate, is mixed with initiators. A monomer is a substance that causes a reaction and polymerises into the polymer. Acrylic has many names and is also known as Lucite, Acrylite, Pexiglass and PerClax amongst others. Acrylic sheets and rods are made by casting into casts whilst acrylic tubes are done through molds that rotate using the centrifugal force to push the material into position.

What are the properties of cast acrylic?

Cast Acrylic has excellent durability and optically clear transparency and lends itself to a wide scope of uses such as in acrylic tubes and other commercial and architectural uses. Whats more, cast acrylic is much more common than you may realise and is used in mobile phone displays, cars and even furniture design. 

What is Acrylic Casting?

Acrylic casting  refers to the  technique of plastic casting where the mold is filled with liquid synthetic resin that then hardens. This means the literal pouring of liquids into sculpted molds to create a final shape.

At NCA Ltd, whilst we do not cast the acrylic used in our projects, our expertise and knowledge of the material allows our team to offer industry leading advice to each client based on their specifications and requirements. For more information about our services and how we can assist your project or to request a quote, contact our team via nca@ncaltd.co.uk or on 01928 790209. 

What are Chromatography Columns

What are Chromatography Columns?

By | NCA news

Welcome back to the NCA blog where we bring you the latest developments from our acrylic and plastic engineering company. Central to our recent expansion and offering of both new services, we want to take the opportunity with this blog to explore one of our key products: Chromatography Columns. As a leading manufacturer of chromatography columns NCA Ltd have, for over 30 years, produced custom made Chromatography Columns for a range of industries and uses. In today’s blog, we explore the use of chromatography columns and why NCA Ltd is at the forefront of their production.

What is chromatography? 

Chromatography is a technique used in laboratories to separate a given mixture. Firstly, the mixture is dissolved into a fluid which is referred to as the mobile phase. The fluid carries the mixture through a structure that holds a different material and is known as the stationary phase. The various parts of the mixture travel at different speeds which causes them to separate based on the differential between the mobile and stationary phase. Chromatography can be used for a variety of purposes such as the purification of a material as a way to either prepare it for use in another process or to separate it for analytical purposes. 

What is a chromatography column?

A Chromatography column is a piece of technology that is used in chromatography to separate the chemical compounds within a mixture. The chromatography column contains the stationary phase of the process and allows the mobile phase to pass through. 

What is the difference between a liquid chromatography column and a gas chromatography column?

Liquid chromatography columns were originally made from glass and have since been replaced by more modern methods such as acrylic chromatography columns. In order to stop the stationary phase mixture leaking out a net inside is usually applied and is often made from stainless steel, ceramic or a polymer. Gas columns were once more popular and have since been replaced by liquid chromatography columns. Previously, gas columns were made of glass or metal and packed with particles of the solid stationary phase. The amkot difference between liquid and gas columns is that within liquid columns the mixture is passed through the process through a liquid solution whereas the sample is passed through the equipment during the gas phase in a gas column. 

Why use NCA to produce your chromatography columns?

Each of our chromatography columns is bespokely made for each client to exceptional standards. We pride ourselves on being able to work closely with each client to fulfill their brief and requirements, helping to create innovative engineered solutions. Our fully equipped workshop allows our team to work at each phase of a project and to control the quality to the highest of standards.

For more information on our services, contact our team via  nca@ncaltd.co.uk or on 01928 790209.

What is the difference between Cast and Extruded Acrylic?

What is the difference between Cast & Extruded Acrylic?

By | NCA news

NCA Ltd have, for over 40 years, been a specialist plastic fabrication firm. Throughout our many conversations with our clients, the differences between cast and extruded acrylic have been discussed at length. In this week’s blog post we explain both what the differences between the two are as well as the benefits of both. 

 

Regardless if they are formed through casting of through extrusion, acrylic polymers are materials that are the result of a chemical reaction between a monomer and a catalyst.Lighter in weight than glass and often a substitute for it, acrylic, also known as Plexiglas or Lucite, is prized for its transparency and strength.

Glass moulds are used to create Cast Acrylic and is where the liquid ingredients and mixed together – the mold giving the shape of the object. Whilst more labour intensive, thus more expensive, casting yields a harder and more uniform final product. This is because casting creates a greater chemical resistance compared to extrusion and is preferred in certain uses such as those involving fragrances, lotions or solvents. Cast acrylic is available in an almost infinite range of colours and is more pliable than extruded acrylic meaning it is both stronger and less likely to melt, bend or chip during its production. Cast acrylic is often more desirable than extruded acrylic as it is not limited in thickness making it a better option for larger structures. 

Benefits of Cast Acrylic

  • Greater range of thickness
  • Lightweight and rigid
  • Low water absorption
  • Excellent optical properties
  • Good electrical and UV resistivity
  • Resistance to long-term exposure to sunlight and weathering

 

Benefits of Extruded Acrylic

  • Thermoformable
  • Less expensive than glass or cast acrylic
  • Excellent optical properties
  • More impact resistant than glass
  • Good electrical and UV resistivity

Acrylic extrusion is a manufacturing technique where the acrylic monomers are first heated before being fed into barrels where the chemical process takes place. Extruded acrylic is Extrusion is a continuous manufacturing production method where acrylic monomers are first heated then fed through barrels where the chemical process occurs. 

Generally, extruded acrylic costs less than cast acrylic and is more stable meaning that the thickness across the sheets is more consistent. Because extruded acrylic is softer than cast acrylic is easier to cut, rout and can be polished more cost effectively. 

Extruded acrylic is less susceptible to dirt, lint, or particulate contamination in the production process and, because of its lower melting point, it is better suited to cementing and thermoforming than ast acrylic. 

At NCA Ltd our experienced teams of engineers can assist you in exploring which type of acrylic to use on your project. Experienced in the design and production of plastic products, our specialist team work with each client to create cost effective solutions to solve real world problems. For more information on our services and to discuss your requirements, contact our team via nca@ncaltd.co.uk or on 01928 790209.

plastic prototyping service

What is plastic prototyping?

By | NCA news

What is plastic prototyping? 

Plastic prototyping, as the name suggests,is the process of using specific techniques to create a 3D, real world physical model of a design idea or brief. Plastic prototypes are used to create a physical model that can be used before full production is started to refine the design and to test the engineering. Economical and quick to develop, plastic prototyping allows for ideas to be explored without the commitment to a full line of production or a finalised design. 

NCA Ltd offer a comprehensive plastic prototyping service from our fully-equipped modern workshop. Using the latest design and fabrication technology and equipment, our experienced teams of engineers produce high quality, cost-effective plastic prototypes design to the exact specifications and requirements of each client. Each of our prototypes are designed to withstand testing allowing you to have confidence before a=confirming the final run and investing in tooling and manufacturing.

We are proud to offer a service that blends design, production and advanced prototyping technologies to provide you with the perfect solution for your plastic prototypes and low volume needs.

The benefits for rapid plastic prototyping include

  • Physical model of the product concept
  • Testing before production
  • Resolve and find design flaws
  • Expand sizes, colours and finishes 

At NCA we have over 40 years of experience in plastic fabrication and acrylic engineering. Our in house team work with each client to assist in both the design and fabrication of products and we are proud to offer a comprehensive plastic prototyping service. 

Our design and engineering teams work with each client to advice effective solutions and assist in the engineering and design stages of the product drawing on our industry leading experience and expertise. 

For more information on our plastic prototyping service, contact our team on nca@ncaltd.co.uk or via 01928 790209.