Polyurethane rollers are often (though erroneously) referred to as urethane rollers. Urethane is a synonym for ethyl carbamate, which is not actually an ingredient of polyurethane.
In other words, polyurethane and urethane are two completely different materials. However, in conversations about elastomeric materials, both words are frequently used in reference to the same material.
That material, polyurethane, is characterized by its strength and its elasticity, which contribute to its durability and shock resistance when applied as a roller. Rollers are important parts of an extensive variety of industrial, commercial and consumer utilities.
They are essential components in conveyors, printers, laminators, many kinds of food processing equipment, medical devices and a wide variety of other equipment. Polyurethane is an economical alternative to natural rubber or silicone.
Polyurethane has high-friction characteristics and is used in applications in which resistance to extreme temperatures, abrasion, and wear is necessary. In addition to its lower original cost, polyurethane rolls often outperform the metals, plastics, and natural rubbers that they replace.
Polyurethane’s durability and shock resistance are some of its most attractive qualities. Those qualities, combined with the material’s easy formability and low cost, make it among the most popular roller compositions.
Polyurethane, because it is an elastomer, can be thermoformed into almost any conceivable shape. This process usually involves compression or injection molding, though polyurethane can be extruded as well.
Polyurethane molding involves heating raw polyurethane above its melting point in order to make it more formable. The heated polyurethane is then loaded into an open mold (in the case of compression molding) or into a closed mold through injection (as is the case in injection molding).
Once the polyurethane takes the shape of the mold, it is cooled and hardened either by air drying or by water jets. When the cooling process is complete, the material emerges from the mold as a new polyurethane roller.
Extrusion is similar to molding in some ways, but it is used to create products continuously instead of in discreet batches. During the polyurethane roller extrusion process, the material is heated and forced through an extrusion die that is designed in the shape that the finished roller will take.
Both processes are very effective and efficient and can produce high-quality rollers.