Trade Names vs. Generic Plastic Materials: What is the Best Value?

Posted on Apr 3, 2017 by

Eagle Performance Plastics, Inc. utilizes materials that must conform to basic minimum specifications and are tested against ASTM or other commonly recognized standards. The specifications for the standard material from different manufacturers are the same.  For instance, Natural Delrin 150 from company A will have the same specifications as Natural Delrin 150 made by company B.

There are many reputable manufacturers of performance grade plastic materials with some of these having been around since the 1950’s. The companies manufacturing high quality sheet, rod and tube stock have invested heavily to develop advanced manufacturing equipment and processes. The quality and consistency of plastics materials is continuously improving.

At Eagle Performance Plastics, Inc, we can supply any material that is available today. We rely on trusted suppliers for our extensive inventory of stock materials.

Materials are often referred to on drawings by a trade name.  When working with a customer supplied drawing that specifies a material by trade name, we are obligated to use that trade name from that particular manufacturer.

This could cause longer lead times as tradename materials may have to be sourced specifically for a job, while equivalent material may be in stock. In addition, volume purchasing by Eagle can effect pricing to the end user.

By specifying the material on the drawing as “trade name or equivalent” or by its generic name, it allows more flexibility to supply high quality material.

There are instances when a brand name plastic material is called out and should not be changed. Reasons not to deviate could be past experience with other materials, or it may be part of an end product that has been certified by a government agency. Sometimes a material supplier may have participated and assisted the end user in the design process in exchange for their material being the preferred choice. We believe this should be honored. In situations where an engineer has specified a particular material for a specific reason, the drawing should note the material and “no substitute allowed”.

There are many different performance grade materials available and still more being developed every day. These materials are proprietary and have unique capabilities, and there is no alternative. However when using a generic material we believe there are benefits to our customers to designate the generic name of the material or, if using a trade name adding “or equivalent” to the drawing.

Click here for a list of material trade names as well as generic designations, or contact one of our knowledgeable Customer Account Specialists for more information.

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