Your partner in precision urethane-based technology from prototype to production.

Your partner in precision urethane-based technology from prototype to production.

MPC  Polyurethane Knowledge Center

How to Improve Mechanical Machine Failures

Whether you are working through a prototype build or experience frequent mechanical failures from existing machines, something must be done in order to prevent future breakdowns. In this post, we will explore common mechanical failures, ways you can improve your application’s performance with thermoset polyurethanes and uncover a case study demonstrating the benefits of polyurethane over plastic, rubber, and metal in your product design. 


Common Mechanical Machine Failures 

Mechanical failures can occur anytime, anywhere, or anyplace. Since products generally have several interconnected components, one wrong element can typically lead to unknown complications and downtime. Often, failures stem from material degradation due to environmental conditions. This is especially common for products manufactured with materials that are not optimized to operating conditions, leading to extreme wear, debris, glazing, or corrosion, to name a few. While there are various materials to consider for your product design, not all materials will offer the same physical properties. Some metals, for example, are best suited for dry, benign environments, as these materials are prone to corrosion and rust over time. In contrast, polyurethanes offer robust physical properties that can be optimized to meet the most challenging conditions.

Benefits of Polyurethane in Mechanical Machines 

Polyurethanes are more than furniture or insulation foam. Instead, this versatile material can be customized to meet your exact design needs. Unlike metal, plastic, and rubber, polyurethanes can be chemically engineered to have superior performance and durability. Thermoset polyurethanes, in particular, can be customized into a solid or foam with almost endless physical property options. Depending on your design needs, this unique material can extend the wear life of your product or component while minimizing maintenance and service costs. The table below includes some of the benefits of using thermoset polyurethane foam and solids in your product design: 

  Polyurethane Foam     Polyurethane Solid  
  • Self-cleaning pores shed debris
  • High abrasion resistance & tolerance to tight surface finishes 
  • Prevents glazing, maintaining product performance over time & wear
  • Customizable physical properties to meet demanding specifications 
  • Cell size and structure can be customized to meet design needs
  • Can be made into any shape, product or component
  • Available in a variety of surface finishes 
  • Provides uniform material construction
  • Can be made FDA-compliant 
  • Can be made FDA-compliant

To learn more about thermoset polyurethanes and how this unique material differs from thermoplastics, click here.

Case Study

The Problem: A global OEM was experiencing a high volume of field failures in a document collection unit. The existing mechanism was designed with several rubber components each performing a different task. The recurring mechanical failures presented extreme wear and tear precipitated by contact with oils. Customer frustration put a key account at risk, and high service costs were driving margins down.

The Solution: Together with the OEM, MPC developed a mult-layer belt with varying hardnesses and coefficient of friction on each side, including a third layer for reinforcement. With its design, MPC was able to combine the functions of the rubber tires and timing belts into a single component.

The Result: The OEM was able to replace multiple parts with our customized belt, saving an estimated $9M per year in service calls, downtime, and spare parts. Moreover, the customer was able to retain the account at risk.

Case Study


By including thermoset polyurethanes in your product design, you can extend the life of your machine and save on maintenance and downtime. If you are seeking material assistance, complete our design tool, here, or download our material data sheets, below, to learn what our Durethane® F foam technologies can offer your product design. 

Download Our Durethane Material Data Sheet

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