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Emco is a leading provider of machined plastic components, including rods, sheets, and tubes. Acetal plastics (or polyoxymethylene) represent one of our common offerings, often used for a number of applications across industries. As a class of engineering thermoplastics, acetal plastic comes in a variety of forms and brands, each with slightly different physical characteristics—but they generally feature properties such as being light weight, low-friction, and wear resistant.

Emco offers a broad selection of high-quality acetal copolymers and homopolymers, including top brands such as:

  • Acetron
  • Sustarin C
  • Delrin
  • Pomalux
  • Tecaform AD 

 Metal Detectable Brands: 

  • Sustarin® C MDT
  • Acetron® MD
  • Unital® SFX0102M

Metal detectable acetals are manufactured by adding a metal detectable additive. If a plastic fragment were to break off during production, it can now easily be identified using a metal detector during production. For added safety, this acetal material is colored blue to increase its visibility to optical detection equipment in use many food plants.

Due to DuPont's large market share of acetal plastic products, some recognize acetal plastics only by the brand name Delrin—not actually a different type of plastic, but rather an acetal homopolymer. This often results in confusion over whether an application requires Delrin or another acetal plastic—or not knowing what the difference is at all. The following post will help readers to understand the terminology surrounding acetal plastics.

Acetal vs. Delrin: Is There a Difference?

Delrin is a type of acetal homopolymer and therefore generally interchangeable with others of the same class. This means that Delrin still offers the same core benefits of general acetal plastics, such as:

  • Excellent dimensional stability
  • Friction, fatigue, and abrasion resistance
  • Low moisture absorbance, leading to strong performance in wet conditions
  • Desirable electrical properties
  • Machinability to tight tolerances
  • FDA & USDA compliance

The main distinctions between Delrin and other acetal plastics stem from its composition as a homopolymer—it has a uniform crystalline structure rather than one incorporating multiple subunits. This leads to better properties in select areas—such as higher stiffness, flex fatigue resistance, and creep resistance—when compared to copolymers. Overall, Delrin offers slight but measurable benefits in terms of mechanical strength. 

One negative characteristic specific to Delrin over other acetal plastics is its increased centerline porosity—an inconsistency in the center of the plastic caused by gas escape in the cooling process. While not a concern when the center of a rod is to be drilled out, this property can be problematic in certain food and medical related applications as centerline porosity increases the risk of bacterial growth.

Here’s the main takeaway: While Delrin does have some distinguishing properties, acetal plastics share enough in common that they are often interchangeable based on budget and other project-specific characteristics. 

What is Acetal Plastic Used For?

Owing to its strength, rigidity, and stability, acetal plastic is widely desirable across industries for a range of potential uses. In some cases, these physical properties are strong enough that acetal plastics can replace metal components. For these reasons, acetal plastics are common in the following industries:

More specifically, these materials are often used to fabricate:

  • Bushings and Bearings
  • Rollers
  • Gears
  • Electrical Parts and Pads
  • Zippers
  • Gaskets
  • Nozzles

Acetal Plastics from Emco

Emco offers a full range of acetal plastics of nearly any configuration, including Delrin. Our large inventory allows us to provide you with the exact type of plastic materials you need to meet your unique application specifications. In addition, our experts will assist customers with the custom selection of materials that will be ideal for the fabrication of superior machined rods, tubes, and other components. As one of the nation's most distinguished plastic distributors, you can trust that our work will be precise, accurate, and timely.


To find out how our experts can best meet your project needs, contact Emco today. 


Looking for cut-to-size items off the shelf? Shop acetal sheets & bars, rods, and balls from our distribution partner Fix Supply. Check out their Knowledge Center for additional information.

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