While I was attending the 10th International VDI Conference on Gears 2023—held in Garching, Munich at the Gear Research Center (FZG) of the Technical University of Munich from September 13th to 15th, 2023—Delrin, an acetal-plastic product family of DuPont, introduced a new high molecular weight nucleated resin specially formulated for use in applications requiring high creep resistance and fatigue durability. Delrin 51HSE further extends the ability of Delrin to replace metal, helping customers save cost and weight while reducing noise. It also enables smart design concepts that are beneficial for achieving lower carbon footprints. Seeing as sustainability was the overarching theme of the conference and one-third of the papers were devoted to plastic gearing, the timing was perfect.
The new Delrin resin draws on a deep heritage of formulations that have set the standard for high-performance plastic gears. While Delrin 100, for example, has been known as the designer’s first choice for highly demanding applications, Delrin 51HSE resin furthers those strengths and offers a step-change in fatigue and creep performance.
Testing shows the improvement in static gear strength of Delrin 51HSE is about 10 percent, but the real benefit comes from a two-fold improvement in durability, giving customers a cost-effective alternative over switching from metal gears or other more expensive solutions.
“Driving innovation remains an intrinsic element of our DNA,” said Sriram Nadathur, Delrin vice president and general manager. “Our customers demand materials that demonstrate unparalleled mechanical performance, exceptional durability, and low global warming potential, without compromising on design flexibility or ease of manufacturing. Innovations such as Delrin 51HSE are the reason why our customers know they can depend on us to deliver world-class resins that fit their most demanding end-use applications.”
I had the good fortune to sit down and speak with Guillaume Doy, Global Marketing Leader from Delrin, to hear more about their acetal homopolymer for high-load mechanical applications.
What markets have been Delrin's focus, and how have the company and its markets evolved?
Over the years, Delrin has set the polyoxymethylene (POM) standard for gear applications in markets such as Automotive/ Gears and Safety parts but also in Industrial and Medical.
Delrin is used in highly demanding applications, where part reliability and durability are key.
Delrin has demonstrated robust supply reliability to its customers and is valued as an industry and innovation partner.
Delrin has been growing in those markets and is positioned for the future thanks to continued innovation (Delrin 51HSE showcased) and a best-in-class (Global Warming Potential) GWP Profile to ensure better sustainability and C02 savings.
What distinguishes your gear products from other processes?
While standard Delrin grades offer inherent Low Wear Low Friction characteristics, Modified grade allows the next milestone, with as low as 0,2 coefficient of friction against steel.
Combined with high stiffness-high strength and Low Noise / Dampening, Delrin is the material of choice for Gears when it comes to replacing metal or specialty products.
Delrin RA provides a low carbon footprint and the highest GWP performance ratio to allow up to 75 percent CO2 reduction versus fossil equivalent. Our lowest footprint offering for gear use is Delrin RA100CPE.
What are some surprising applications where plastic gears are outperforming or replacing other materials?
Delrin's value proposition fits well into all new e-mobility applications such as e-bike drivetrains, drones, and robotics, where saving weight and cost over metal remains strong arguments especially when Mass part production becomes a topic, where Delrin is known for ease of manufacturing, productivity, and reliability.
What are some of the most promising materials and methods of manufacturing for the future of plastic gears?
Injection molding remains the most common processing method for converting Delrin into parts. Delrin is also known for its ease of machining from plates or rods, making it perfect for the realization of prototypes or small series when the part design allows.
The showcased Delrin 51HSE is very promising, as it provides higher static gear strength, better fatigue, and creep resistance, allowing:
- Either to meet higher specifications & replace more costly solutions
- Or to allow smarter design, thinner wall sections, housings, motors, etc. “The best waste is the waste you don’t produce.”
What is on the horizon for Delrin? What recent developments have been introduced?
On the short-term horizon, we are launching Delrin 51HSE, the press release showed up 13th of September 2023.
Driving Innovation remains an intrinsic element of our DNA.
Our R&D pipeline continues to provide great solutions like low emissions and more sustainable solutions (i.e., renewable attributed materials).
Delrin has become an independent company as well since October 2023. While we will continue to stick to our core values, we will have a chance to increase our focus on delivering customer value and innovation.
Any closing thoughts?
One interesting trend for Delrin gears is the growth of EVs leading to lower background noise in the vehicle cabin which necessitates quieter motors and gears, which Delrin is ideally placed to support with its low coefficient of friction and higher damping performance vs. metal or specialty products.