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Machine Guards & Shields 

Acrylic and polycarbonate are both clear plastics frequently utilized in the manufacturing of industrial machine guards. These materials are favored for their strength, clarity, and resilience, offering durable and effective protection within various industrial settings. Acrylic, or polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), is often chosen for its superior optical properties and high-gloss finish, making it a lightweight and safe alternative to glass. Conversely, polycarbonate stands out due to its exceptional impact resistance, which surpasses that of acrylic, and its chemical resilience.

Industrial machine guards are primarily designed to safeguard employees from potential harm that can be caused by ejected material or damaged tooling in the production environment. Polycarbonate, in particular, is the most commonly employed material for machine guards owing to its optical characteristics, toughness, and close tolerance machinability. It is also inherently self-extinguishing, making it a suitable choice where high temperatures might be a concern. When food contact is an issue, both general purpose and FDA grades are available. In contrast, for applications where chemical resistance is paramount, clear PVC is often preferred due to its resistance to numerous alcohols, fats, oils, and aromatic free petrol.

The choice between acrylic and polycarbonate for machining applications often depends on specific requirements. Acrylic, recognized for its strength and transparency, offers an excellent alternative to standard glass, but requires careful selection of toolpath strategies during machining to prevent cracking or chipping. It's also crucial to maintain a lower cutting feedrate due to acrylic's low heat resistance. On the other hand, polycarbonate, with its high impact resistance, is better suited for machining and particularly well-adapted to CNC milling. It can tolerate more aggressive machining strategies with a smaller chance of causing issues, potentially saving time and cost. Moreover, polycarbonate sheets can withstand greater heat buildup during the machining process.

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