Heavy-Duty Plastic for Extreme Weather


Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE or UHMW) is a heavy-duty, high-impact plastic used in a variety of extreme weather applications from industrial alpine snow removal equipment to snowmobile skis and snowplow edges. UHMW is virtually unbreakable, significantly more wear-resistant than steel, and is unaffected by freezing winter temperatures.


Interstate Plastics' most popular UHMW grades for snow and ice wear applications include its cost-effective UHMW reprocessed sheet and IPX 2000 UHMW advanced wear technology low friction, abrasion resistant, and UV stabilized sheet. Interstate Plastics customers also use UHMW for scraper edge, vat scraper, bucket lip, skid shoe, skid plate, skid loader (skidsteers), running board, as well as plow blade & wing manufacturing.


UHMW is prized for its quieter operation versus steel and as a more gentle material for surface scraping.  These characteristics contribute to preserving roads and protecting aesthetic surfaces such as cobblestone and driveway transitions. Many state, county, and municipal governments have found that the cost involved in retrofitting a fleet of snow removal machines with UHMW to be negligible compared with the amount saved over the lifetime of a road or the equipment itself.


UHMW is also an ideal solution for farm and residential applications, allowing for easy replacement of worn scraping blades on aftermarket push frames and plows fitted to trucks and UTV/ATVs. Customers have found that a material thickness of 3/16 to 1 in. is most effective in these applications, with most opting for a half -inch width. Thicker material produces better results and adds to the life of the wear strip along the blade edge, but is heavier and requires longer and larger bolting holes. Some customers have reported that relief cuts near the middle of the material help prevent a rippling effect created from the repeated scraping of uneven surfaces in certain applications.


UHMW is also used in other cold weather applications requiring easy gliding and protection over snow and ice, such as wear pads for vehicle running boards, snowmobile skis, and even small aircraft ski bottom runners. In remote aviation and bush flying, UHMW is beginning to replace steel and aluminum center skegs. UHMW can be cut to an equal width and installed to replace the original skeg, helping with steering and control.


For snow and ice wear applications, Interstate Plastics cuts UHMW sheet to the customer's specified dimensions. UHMW's desirable machining properties allow customers to drill bolt-holes and mount edges with ease and without the need for specialized hardware.

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