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Technical Articles

A Very Basic Introduction

To Plast-O-Matic, Plastic Valves, and Distributors of Plastic Pipe/Valves/Fittings

The valves we manufacture are plastic. But the plastic valves we build are not “cheap” plastic valves you might find on a swimming pool or home aquarium. Plast-O-Matic products are industrial type valves, engineered from more costly plastics. These are used for specific purposes such as chemical treatment of waste water, injecting chemicals to purify drinking water, or handling high-purity cleaning water such as in semiconductor manufacturing or water used in laboratories. Our products are found in applications ranging from filling storage batteries with acid to controlling pressure in a high-purity kidney dialysis system.

Most industrial valves are metal, but there are certain chemicals and processes that are too harsh and will corrode metal valves and piping. In the case of semiconductor manufacturing, metal valves release impurities into the water, so again, plastic valves are needed. Industrial plastic valves and piping are not as common as metal valves, and are usually sold by distributors who specialize in plastic piping systems. These distributors usually also fabricate custom tanks, fume hoods, containment systems, and other corrosion-resistant products made of plastics.

Industrial plastic valves and piping are usually specified by an engineering firm, or by engineers employed by the end user. The engineer is aware of the types of plastics that are compatible with various chemicals or high purity water systems. Most high-end industrial plastic valves are not the type of item that would initially be ordered by a maintenance department. The processes and systems are frequently so unusual — or the chemicals so difficult to handle — that an engineer is usually involved.

The salespeople from the plastics distributor cultivate relationships with these engineering firms, and assist in the specification process. In many cases the design of the piping system or the liquids involved do not match up to a standard product, so the distributor salesperson has to find out all the variables and then request a custom Plast-O-Matic valve.

Although Plast-O-Matic manufactures a complete line of plastic valves, we specialize in plastic valves that control pressure and flow, highly specialized on/off valves, and custom valves.