ESPE Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Author Archives: Ryan Pethes

  1. Printing on Fabricated Products

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    Many parts and components we manufacture here at ESPE provide protection to personnel by covering electrical components and providing a barrier between the electric field and any conductive enclosure. When circuitry can be accessed, it is advisable to provide adequate warning markings to alert people to the dangerous voltages that the barriers isolate.

    While our typical end use is protecting from electrical shock hazards, our products can be printed with pinch-point hazards, hot surface warnings, and even common part numbers or folding instructions for easy assembly. Stickers and labels can provide temporary warnings sometimes, but they will fade and can be easily removed or tampered with.

    ESPE will work to provide permanent visual warnings to your fabricated barriers and coverings, protecting end users throughout the life of the product or machinery they go in. In this blog post, we’ll provide more details about printed product fabrication, pairing the correct fabrication method with the best printing method for the job.

    Techniques of Fabrication

    Printed products are produced in various methods that involve different processes and materials, including:

    1. Steel Rule Die Cutting

    Steel Rule Die cutting uses a single or several long blades bent to the part’s final dimensions, inlaid in a large flat board with grooves and punches matching the bent steel blade. The die is then set in a hydraulic press that stamps the steel blade into the material at extreme pressures, cutting scoring, and perforating shapes on materials as they progress through the machine. This production method is most conducive to embossing, but doing so increases die costs and requires remanufacturing of the dies for revisions of the design or wording.

    2. Stamping

    Stamping involves using a die to press a shape or design into a material using mechanical force. This process creates patterns on materials and could imprint lettering, but like embossing, it increases costs and requires remanufacturing upon revisions.

    3. Laser Cutting

    Laser cutting uses a high-powered laser to cut through or engrave materials. The laser’s intense heat melts and burns away the material at the beam’s focal point. Computer-controlled motion guides the laser over the material, creating precise cuts or patterns. Engraving with lasers can create sophisticated patterns and images at varying intensities to create depth with a resolution of up to 600 dpi. However, this method can be costly, as the time and energy needed to create a single 6″ x 6″ image at maximum resolution can take more time than cutting out hundreds of parts.

    4. Drag Knife Cutting

    Also referred to by us as digital die cutting, this method uses a sharp carbide knife on a large plotter to cut out shapes of nearly any dimension or complexity with very little initial investment in tooling. The same head that drags the knife can drag a pen; this is called plotting and can be used to drag around a ballpoint pen or felt marker to plot precise markings and letterings. While limited to a single color, it is the most economical method regarding upfront cost and revision for simple lettering. The machine can handle long, complicated drawings but, like laser engraving, can take much machine time.

    5. Routing

    Routing involves moving a fast spinning drill bit to cut out shapes and parts either too hard or too thick for other machining methods to accomplish cleanly. The depth and routing tool can be changed within the same setup to engrave or etch the part’s surface; this will leave a permanent channel in the material and can be revised easily but may not be the most visible, suiting this method best for part numbers or channels.

    Types of Printing Methods

    Here’s an overview of some key printing methods:

    1. Silk Screening

    Commonly referred to as screen printing, this method involves pressing ink through a mesh screen onto a part, creating images, patterns, or text. It’s the go-to choice for producing vivid designs in a repeatable fashion, as it can use any color of ink in any shape by layering different colors.

    2. Ink Printing

    This traditional yet effective method employs inked plates to transfer designs onto materials. It’s widely used for producing high-quality images on paper, packaging, cloth, and various surfaces. This is perhaps the highest fidelity printing method but could be considered overkill for hazard labels and part numbers.

    3. Scribing/Etching

    Scribing or etching involves creating markings on a material’s surface through mechanical means. This technique is commonly used for engraving or marking metals, producing permanent and legible markings, such as serial numbers. This is not to be confused with chemical etching, which is another process entirely

    4. Hot Stamping

    Hot stamping involves pressing heated dies onto foil and transferring a thin layer of pigment or metallic material onto a substrate. This method is rudimentary as it relies on set block lettering to achieve simple indications like a multi-position switch. Being limited to a few letters and a small surface area limits the capabilities of hot stamping to niche situations but can be an economical option when the desired lettering is minimal.

    5. Plotting

    This method employs computer instructions to drag pens or markers across paper or other materials. Originally used for technical drawings, the technology has been co-opted to mark finished products. Plotting is limited to a single pen or marker color but can be done while other production methods are deployed, saving setup and production time.

    6. Embossing

    Embossing raises the design from the material’s surface by pressing it between two dies. This method adds texture, depth, and decorative elements to paper, plastic, and metal. The result is a tactile and visually appealing effect that enhances the overall appearance. While this method works best with rigid metals like a license plate, certain plastics also take well to embossed lettering like a credit card number.

    7. Engraving

    Engravings are cut or carved designs, text, or patterns into a material’s surface using mechanical force or lasers. We can create intricate and lasting markings on surfaces; however, the path the tool or laser needs to travel to complete the engraving is typically many times the length of the exterior of the part and, as such, can be a significant percentage of the overall machine time and thus cost per part.

    This method should be limited to harsh outdoor environments where even inks can break down highly intricate and visually significant cosmetically focused parts. An acrylic port hole cover may need permanent engravings to indicate fluid level, or a channel may be cut behind a gasket to provide airflow behind an otherwise flat plate.

    Experience the Potential of Printed Product Fabrication With ESPE Manufacturing Co.

    Ready to evolve your manufacturing business? Partner with ESPE Manufacturing Co., Inc.! We are a trusted company prepared to provide expert guidance and innovative solutions to make your vision tangible. We cater to various industries with our wide range of services, including fabrication, laser cutting, stamping, and more!

    Take the next step and contact us to learn more. You may also request a quote to transform your creative ideas into tangible products today!

  2. Flame Retardant Properties of Polypropylene (Formex, Nomex, Fishpaper)

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    Flame retardancy is important in electronic and electrical equipment materials to comply with fire safety standards. Polypropylene is a versatile material with a flame retardant capability, making it popular in various manufacturing applications.

    This article will explore the flame retardant properties of polypropylene, specifically Formex, Nomex, and Fishpaper — the three types used by ESPE Manufacturing Co. We will delve into the features behind their flame retardancy and their applications.

    What Is Flame Retardancy?

    Flame retardant properties are the capacity of a material to hinder the progression of flames or delay the onset of a fire. They are particularly important in industries prioritizing fire safety, such as construction, transportation, and electronics and electrical equipment.

    The function of flame-resistant compounds is to inhibit the chemical reactions that occur during combustion. This reduces the material’s combustibility and contribution to the spread of fire.

    Numerous techniques exist for applying flame resistance to materials. These include using chemicals, coatings, and flame retardant fibers or fillers within the substance.

    Polypropylene Materials

    ESPE Manufacturing Co. works with various electrical insulating materials to meet the needs of various applications. Here are some of the materials we employ and provide:


    Formex is a type of electrical insulation material made from flame retardant polypropylene. It prevents electrically charged components from arcing and protects the users, equipment, and maintenance personnel. Its properties also ensure that the material will not melt or combust up to 115 °C (239 °F).

    This material has received a UL 94V-0 rating, indicating that it meets specific flame resistance criteria and has undergone Underwriters Laboratories (UL) testing. This proves that they do not propagate flames and extinguish them on their own within a few seconds.


    Nomex is a meta-aramid material renowned for its ability to resist flames, which can be attributed to its distinctive chemical composition. The material consists of polyamide molecules with long chains, making them highly heat-resistant and difficult to ignite. When exposed to high temperatures, the polymer chains within Nomex link together. This forms a protective layer of char that insulates the material and slows down the combustion process.

    This polypropylene type has a wide temperature range from -196 °C (-320 °F) to 250 °C (482 °F) without significant degradation in its mechanical properties. This makes it suitable for high-temperature environments, such as aerospace, marine, electrical, and automotive industries. Furthermore, it has been extensively tested and has received the UL 94V-0 rating.

    Fishpaper and Vulcanized Fiber

    Fishpaper is an electrical insulation material composed of thin layers of paper that have been treated with a thermosetting resin. The resin acts as a binding agent, holding the layers of paper together and providing the material with its flame retardant properties. Due to this composition, fishpaper has a high flame resistance and is not prone to igniting or supporting combustion.

    This material has moderate heat resistance and can withstand up to 120 °C (248 °F). This temperature range is ideal for electrical insulation applications with a moderate heat exposure risk. However, specialized grades can withstand higher temperatures of up to 155 °C (311 °F) or even 180 °C (356 °F). It has also received the UL 94V-0 rating.

    Partner With ESPE Manufacturing Co. for Premium Electrical Insulation Materials

    ESPE Manufacturing has been a trusted provider of electrical insulators for more than 70 years! We serve a wide range of markets and have a deep understanding of our materials’ unique properties. We also have an expert team that can assist you in selecting the most suitable material for your specific needs.

    Contact us today to discover more about our top-quality products and services! You can also request a quote, and we will gladly help you with your needs.

  3. Materials ESPE Works With and Their Dielectric Properties

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    Using materials with insulative properties has become crucial due to the increasing need for energy conservation. These materials are often employed in various industrial applications — such as construction, transportation, and packaging — to enhance energy efficiency and reduce overall consumption. They are also crucial in maintaining indoor temperatures, reducing noise pollution, and preventing energy loss.

    ESPE Manufacturing Co. is a trusted supplier of electrical insulators, including washers, gaskets, and fabricated plastic parts. We also specialize in the fabrication and conversion of non-metallic materials, allowing us to serve diverse markets and industries.

    In this article, we will take a closer look at the materials we at ESPE work with and their respective dielectric properties.

    What Are Dielectric Properties?

    Dielectric properties are the electrical characteristics of a material that acts as an insulator, impeding the flow of electricity. These properties play a vital role in industries where electrical insulation is critical, such as telecommunications, electronics, and power transmission.

    Here are three essential dielectric properties of a material:

    • Dielectric Constant: Also known as relative permittivity, this is the measure of how well a specific material can store electrical energy.
    • Dielectric Strength: This is the maximum electric field strength that a material can withstand before breaking down.
    • Loss Tangent: This is the energy lost as heat when a dielectric material is subjected to an alternating electric field.

    Dielectric Materials and Their Properties

    ESPE works with several electrical insulating materials to cater to diverse applications. Listed below are some of the materials we use and offer:


    Formex is an insulating material recognized for its flame-retardant insulation and adaptability for various applications. It possesses excellent dielectric strength, with 0.010-inch Formex GK having 2200 V/mil strength. This makes it highly resistant to electrical surges. Additionally, it has a UL 94V-0 Flame Class Rating that meets global safety standards.

    The exceptional dielectric properties of Formex are further enhanced by its non-hygroscopic quality, which means that it has an extremely low moisture absorption rate of less than 0.06%. This characteristic enables the material to retain its electrical insulation properties for an extended period.


    ESPE specializes in the design, production, and distribution of Nomex materials, such as Nomex papers and Nomex pressboards. The formulation of these products involves incorporating meta-aramid polymers into their great, heat-resistant synthetic fibers. As a result, they possess outstanding electrical insulating properties and resistance to chemicals, heat, and radiation.

    Nomex Type 410 is an insulation paper providing exceptional dielectric strength, mechanical toughness, flexibility, and resilience. It is available in 12 different thicknesses, ranging from 0.05 to 0.76 mm, for almost any electrical sheet insulation application. Specifically, the 0.010-inch Nomex paper has a dielectric strength of 815 V/mil, making it an excellent choice for high-voltage uses.

    Fishpaper and Vulcanized Fiber

    At ESPE, we offer a wide variety of vulcanized fiber and fishpaper products. Vulcanized fiber is a chemically pure cellulose material that is environmentally friendly as it contains no adhesives or resins. This low-pressure laminate is produced by reacting cotton or natural wood with various chemicals, including acids, bases, and zinc chloride.

    Meanwhile, fishpaper is an insulating board or paper made from vulcanized cotton. It is a flexible material easily cut and shaped to fit around electrical components. As a result, it is commonly used to insulate electric motors, generators, and transformers.

    A 0.015-inch vulcanized fiber boasts a moderate dielectric strength of 200 V/mil. It is useful for many electrical insulation applications and can provide adequate protection against electrical surges and breakdowns.

    ESPE Manufacturing: Your Trusted Partner for High-Quality Electrical Insulation Materials

    At ESPE Manufacturing, we have over 70 years of experience developing and distributing electrical insulators. Our expert team can also help you choose the best material for your requirements, as we cater to multiple markets and understand materials’ distinct properties.

    Get in touch with us today to learn more about our products and services or to request a quote. Let ESPE be your trusted partner for all your electrical insulator needs!

  4. Material Spotlight: Fishpaper & Vulcanized Fibre

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    Click to ExpandMaterial-Spotlight-Fishpaper-Vulcanized-Fibre

    Even though electricity is one of the breakthrough technologies that are most frequently utilized and relied upon, it is also one of the most hazardous when mishandled or when its uses are misunderstood. Therefore, electrical insulation has to play its role. Non-metallic materials — such as plastic, rubber, or PVC — are frequently used to create insulation. These materials are designed to limit the current flow between conductors.

    Fishpaper and vulcanized fibre sheets are multi-functional engineering materials used in various mechanical and electrical applications, particularly electrical insulation. Although they may appear similar to one another, they have characteristic differences. Mechanically, these materials do not share the same tensile strength and tensile modulus, and their electrical properties — such as dielectric strength and arc resistance — also differ.

    Let’s define what these two materials are.

    Fishpaper and Vulcanized Fibre

    The term “fishpaper” refers to electrical-grade vulcanized fibre sheets in general. It is a vulcanized cotton electrical insulation board or paper easily cut and shaped to insulate electric motors, generators, and transformers. This material is also a good choice for oil-filled transformers.

    On the other hand, a vulcanized fibre is a chemically natural cellulose material that is free of adhesives and resins, making it environmentally friendly. It is a low-pressure laminate created by the reaction of cotton or natural wood with various chemicals such as acids, bases, and zinc chloride. Aside from that, vulcanized fibre sheets can be formed, slit, molded, or wound into tubes for use in various applications.

    Vulcanized fibre can also be used for including washers, insulating plates, switch and appliance insulation, electric motor insulation, gaskets, automobile parts, luggage, patterns, and more.

    Advantages of Fishpaper and Vulcanized Fibre

    The following are the advantages of using fishpaper and vulcanized fibre:

    • Fishpaper and vulcanized fibre have excellent dielectric properties and are suitable for oil-filled inductors.
    • Mechanical strength. Because it is fibrous, fishpaper electrical insulation has high mechanical strength.
    • Heat resistance. Cellulosic paper is more heat-resistant than many plastic materials because it is hard and wear-resistant.
    • At low temperatures, fishpaper and vulcanized fibre retain more flexibility than plastic materials.
    • Cost-effective. Fishpaper and vulcanized fibre are suitable for diverse general-purpose applications due to their size, versatility, and resistance to heat, chemicals, and tear,

    Fishpaper and Vulcanized Fibre As Insulators

    Fishpaper and vulcanized fibre sheets are effective electrical insulators for various reasons. One of those is that they are durable and flexible, with unique combinations of strength and formability. Fishpaper is also insoluble in common solvents like benzene, petroleum, alcohol, ammonia, turpentine, naphtha, and ether.

    Furthermore, fishpaper has a very light property, weighing roughly half the weight of aluminum. As a result, it’s an excellent insulator for applications where weight reduction is essential for maintaining maximum product performance and optimizing fuel efficiency. Some types of fishpaper insulation and vulcanized fibre — such as those that comply with UL-94 and ASTM D-365 standards — are also used in components such as wear plates, arc chutes, and circuit breaker baffles.

    In addition to being used as electrical insulators, here are some of the other applications of electrical-grade fishpaper insulation in the mechanical and electrical industries:

    • Electronic devices
    • Automotive parts and components
    • Circuit breakers
    • Electrical instruments
    • Gaskets
    • Fuse tubes
    • Railroad track installation

    On the other hand, the following are the common applications of vulcanized fibre:

    • Washers
    • Insulating plates
    • Switch and appliance insulation
    • Electric motor
    • Automobile parts
    • Luggage
    • Gaskets

    ESPE Manufacturing Co., Inc. Services

    Using quality components for insulation ensures electrical safety and helps retain the integrity of various equipment and devices. Not only is insulation crucial in avoiding accidents and property destruction, but it also protects the value of your products by preventing electrical damage and prolonging the lifespan of various industrial and commercial goods and equipment.

    ESPE Manufacturing Co., Inc. manufactures a diverse range of vulcanized fibre and fishpaper products to meet the specific needs of our customers. Our employees are trained for the job, whether prototyping an intricate part on our laser or running production quantities on our mechanical and hydraulic cutting presses. So if you need vulcanized fibre sheets and fishpaper insulation products, ESPE has one of the Midwest’s most extensive inventories!

    To find a specific insulation product that works for you, you can view our catalog or contact us if you have any questions or inquiries.

  5. Guide: What Is Stamping?

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    Click to ExpandGuide-What-Is-Stamping

    As the global markets continuously evolve, the demand to quickly produce large quantities of high-quality complex parts rises simultaneously. Because of this, stamping, a popular manufacturing process, has been sought-after by many manufacturers as a cost-effective and efficient solution to large-quantity manufacturing needs in various industries.

    One of the popular processes in the manufacturing industry is metal stamping. However, non-metal stamping, especially stamped parts made from electrical insulation and barrier materials, is also gaining popularity among many manufacturers in fabricating different components for various purposes.

    As a leading supplier of a large inventory of stamped products, ESPE Manufacturing Co. specializes in stamping electrical insulation, barrier materials, and other non-metallic materials such as plastic, rubber, paper, and more! This article will walk you through what stamping is in the manufacturing industry, its benefits, and its applications.

    Stamping In Manufacturing

    Also referred to as pressing, stamping is a manufacturing process of converting or altering flat sheets into different shapes to produce a valuable component or part. The process is usually carried out on sheet metal. But it can also be used on other non-metal materials, including a broad range of specialty polymers, aramid papers, neoprene, acrylic, and more.

    The stamping process involves placing your material of choice in a stamping press where a tool and die surface form the workpiece into a final shape. Parts or components produced from stamping are used in automotive, electronics, medical, defense, aerospace, and many other sectors.

    Non-Metal Stamping Operation

    ESPE’s stamping operations involve slitting material and feeding it into the presses, where stamping takes place at 50-200 strokes per minute.

    When selecting a non-metal material for a stamping operation, it is essential to consider a few factors to achieve optimal production and performance, including the material’s properties and characteristics.

    Manufacturers should look at the material’s mechanical, electrical, magnetic, and thermal properties, as well as its durability and performance under normal and high-stress operating conditions. Moreover, the design for stamping should also meet the application’s absorption, compression, and alignment requirements.

    Benefits Of Stamping

    Manufacturers utilize the stamping technique because it is time- and cost-efficient. Specifically, stamping provides the following advantages:


    Stamping reaches a micron-level accuracy on the cuts applied to the sheet material. Hence, this process’s sophistication and intricate nature allow manufacturers to shape and sell parts in the most complex forms at the highest quality.

    Cost Efficiency

    Stamping enables manufacturers to mass produce parts with lower labor costs, which helps to achieve lesser expenditures and higher profit.


    Detailed part specifications are easily achieved through stamping, as it allows for alteration of the shape and design of material into any desired form, even the more complex ones.

    Advantages of Non-Metallic Stamping

    In addition to the general benefits of stamping, there are a couple of advantages in stamping non-metallic parts and products, like electrical barriers and insulators, including:

    Mass Production

    The tools that shape and cut sheet materials are called stamping dies. These dies can be used for multiple production runs or swapped out quickly for different parts, making the stamping process fast and efficient.

    Higher Accuracy

    With durable dies set up, the stamping process can produce high volumes of identical parts with strict tolerances.


    The common industries that utilize stamped electrical barriers and insulators, and other non-metallic parts and components include:

    • Aerospace
    • Agriculture
    • Architecture
    • Automotive
    • Dental
    • Electronics
    • Food and Beverage
    • Machine tools
    • Marine
    • Medical
    • Oil and gas
    • Packaging
    • Renewable energy
    • And more

    Top-Quality Stamping Services At ESPE Manufacturing Co.

    ESPE Manufacturing Co. understands the fundamental role of stamping in responding to the manufacturing industry’s growing demands for different components or custom parts supply. We live up to our reputation as the technical authority in producing the best quality stamped parts.

    Our stamping outputs are made from electrical insulation and barrier materials, such as ITW Formex®, ITW Statex®, and Nomex®, as well as vulcanized fiber and fishpaper. We also offer non-metal materials like polymers, vinyl, acrylic, nylon, and aramid papers. We manufacture thousands of products from stamping, such as washers, arc chutes, and other insulators — from prototype to production quantities.

    ESPE Manufacturing Co. is your partner for proficient and top-quality stamping operations that involve compound die, progressive die, and punch press, which allow us to sustain and meet any geometric complexities, designs, and specifications!

    Contact us directly to learn more about our stamping capabilities or request a quote today, and our friendly experts will be happy to assist you.

  6. Material Spotlight: Nomex

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    Click to ExpandMaterial Spotlight: Nomex

    A suitable electrical insulator can help prevent electric shocks and other electricity-related hazards. But how would you know which products are the best and most reliable? Don’t fret! ESPE Manufacturing Co., Inc. got you covered! We have one of the most extensive inventories of electrical insulation in the Midwest.

    In this article, we feature our Nomex product lines, one of the high-quality products we designed, manufactured, and distributed. We vigorously promote our customized Nomex products to meet the wide range of applications requiring excellent compact insulation materials.

    So, What Is Nomex?

    Nomex is a flame-resistant material developed by DuPont in the early 1960s and was first commercialized in 1967. It is typically available in two forms: paper, or rolls of thin gauge material, and pressboard, or sheets of medium or thick gauge material. What’s more, Nomex is chemical, thermal, and radiation resistant, allowing it to strengthen and extend the life of your products.

    When it comes to electrical insulation, it has long gained recognition for exceptional quality and dependability. Use it appropriately, and it will extend the useful life of your electrical system while decreasing the likelihood of it malfunctioning.

    What Are Electrical Insulators, And Why Are They Important?

    Electrical insulators, as the name implies, are synthetic materials that resist the current that flows through them. Simply put, electricity does not pass through these materials because the primary function of insulators is to prevent electricity from flowing outside of conductors and contain it only where it is supposed to flow.

    These materials are essential in preventing electrical hazards such as electricity leakage and electric shock. Short circuits with low current flows, which are frequently caused by poor electrical insulation, are often the source of leaks. On the other hand, electric shocks occur when a person comes into contact with a source of electric energy. Take note that the results of these shocks can range from no injury to death.

    To better understand how electrical insulators work, examine how electrical cables are made and structured. These cables are typically filled with wires made of metals such as copper, aluminum, and silver. The wires serve as electrical conductors, allowing electricity to flow freely. After securing the inside of the cables, coatings are added to act as insulators, and they only allow electricity to flow within the cord. Nylon, PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), and wire enamels are some commonly used standard coatings.

    One of the most crucial things to remember is that electrical insulators are critical and must be used correctly. Each has resistance value, so choosing the best material for your application is vital.

    What Is Nomex Insulation Paper, And Other Nomex Types?

    Nomex 410 is the original Nomex insulation paper widely used in various electrical equipment applications, including sheet insulation and manufacturing of electrical components. It possesses high-performance insulation with excellent intrinsic material capacity, electrical durability, flexibility, and resilience. It is sold in rolls with thicknesses ranging from 0.002-0.03 in (0.05-0.76 mm) to accommodate a wide range of gravities.

    Some of the features of Nomex 410 include:

    • Excellent heat-resistance ability and does not melt easily
    • Quality thermal stability that can withstand temperatures up to 220°C
    • Satisfactory resistance to splitting and scraping
    • Intrinsic dielectric strength
    • Broad chemical compatibility that can resist solvents, acids, and alkalis

    Additionally, some of the applications of Nomex 410 are:

    • Wire and cable industry
    • Welding equipment
    • Mining equipment
    • Engine and motors industry
    • Electrical and electronic industry

    We also offer other available Nomex products which cover every type of Nomex paper and pressboard and serve your custom-manufactured fabricated parts:

    Nomex 993 is a sheet pressboard material available in thicknesses ranging from 0.04-0.16 in (1.0-4.0 mm) for specific gravities. This product can preserve its general structure and resistance while conforming to minor imperfections on the exterior it is lining. Nomex 993 also seals well with electrical contacts.

    Nomex 994 is the denser version of Nomex 993. It is typically used in similar but more heavyweight applications. It is available in thicknesses of 0.04-0.380 in (1.0-9.6 mm) and can withstand compressive loads due to its superior stability and excellent absorption.

    Let ESPE Handle All Your Nomex Needs!

    ESPE Manufacturing Co., Inc. is ready to help you find the best insulation solution for your electrical systems. With a complete stock of Nomex 410, Nomex 993, and Nomex 994 product lines available, combined with our full suite of fabrication and manufacturing capabilities, we ensure to be your go-to source for Nomex rolls, sheets, and other products.

    We can help you develop and manufacture prototypes and customized parts in low or mass-producing orders at the quickest turnaround time possible. React to us and request a quote for your next project.

  7. Formex for Insulation of Batteries & Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs)

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    Electrical insulation involves non-electrically conductive material used to control the flow of electricity and protect sensitive components. Various materials can be used, such as rubber, plastic or material like Formex for insulation. These materials work by blocking the passage of electrons more effectively than semiconducting and conducting materials. This means that they can be used as a protective barrier around the conductor, ensuring energy stays on a specific path and doesn’t interact with other components, causing short-circuiting.

    Importance of PCB & Battery Insulation

    In applications involving PCBs, insulation acts as the dielectric material used to separate conducting elements and layers. Most PCBs used today are multilayered, which means multiple adhesion points are present. This increased board height requires more soldering and makes proper insulation vital to the board’s effectiveness. In PCB applications, having a thorough understanding of your PCB’s construction is the best way to ensure it’s insulated adequately and can operate at its highest potential.

    Another key application for electrical insulation is in batteries. Electrical vehicle batteries, for example, require insulation between each component to ensure no electrical arc can arise between battery components. This is a necessary precaution to prevent fires, shocks, high temperatures, short circuits, and more.

    When choosing a material to insulate PCBs and batteries, there are several factors that should be considered. One of the primary concerns is the material’s thickness in relation to its efficiency. Insulating material needs to be highly effective, but thickness also needs to be taken into account. Certain insulation applications feature highly compact components that are not suited to a particularly thick material.

    It’s also important to consider what type of processing your insulator should undergo. Certain insulation materials are significantly easier to process than others and, depending on your application, this may be a significant concern. However, an easy-to-process material might not perform according to your required standards. Insulation weight and cost-to-function ratio should also be factored into decision-making. For PCB and battery insulation applications, a particularly high-performing material is ITW Formex. This material is uniquely suited to PCB and battery applications, meeting all of the typical demands.

    Why Formex?

    ITW Formex is ideal for protecting delicate components and is widely used throughout many applications. It offers excellent dielectric strength and provides reliable mechanical protection. Formex can be formed into even the most complex three-dimensional shapes by die-cutting, scoring, and bending. In PCB insulation applications, Formex is used for barriers between PC boards as well as between PC boards and housings.

    Formex electrical insulation is made from polypropylene, which is lightweight and inexpensive, while meeting rigorous electrical barrier and insulation requirements. With a flame class rating of UL 94V-0, Formex has excellent flame-retardant properties and will not combust or melt at temperatures up to 239° F.

    Additionally, ITW Formex features several key characteristics that allow it to outperform other insulation materials, such as preventing electrically charged components from arcing. Formex is ideal for many types of EV battery applications as it protects from contact corrosion, provides EMI shielding capabilities, and more. For electric vehicle battery applications, Formex stands up to chemical, mechanical, and environmental demands.

    ESPE Manufacturing: Your Source for Reliable Insulation

    PCBs and batteries are used throughout nearly every industry and require high performing, reliable insulation. Formex contains many beneficial characteristics that make it ideally suited to these applications. In addition to being uniquely easy to shape, it also features notable strength and valuable fire-retardant properties, all while being cost-effective.

    ESPE Manufacturing Co., Inc., has been providing high-quality electrical insulation solutions since 1948 and features one of the largest inventories in the Midwest. We offer ITW Formex rolls and sheets and carry several varieties suitable for a wide selection of applications. Our experts can help you select the best type for your project. Browse our catalog or contact us to get started. To partner with us and take advantage of Formex insulation for your application, request a quote today.


  8. Material Spotlight: Teflon® for Electrical Insulation 

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    ESPE Manufacturing works with a number of electrical insulation materials and with a variety of fabrication methods. Even the most complex specifications are manufactured accurately using techniques such as laser cutting, die cutting, digital plastic cutting, and more. We provide prototyping services and can fabricate custom parts in both high and low production volumes. Our products are available in many suitable materials, including PTFE or Teflon® for electrical insulation purposes.

    This blog post will discuss what Teflon® is as well as the many advantages of using Teflon® for electrical insulation products.

    What is Teflon®?

    Teflon® is the widely recognized brand name for polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). PTFE is a type of plastic that is used to coat various products and equipment, creating a non-stick, waterproof, non-reactive, and corrosion-resistant protective barrier. Teflon® is extensively used throughout various industries, including automotive, construction, aerospace, and more, for applications such as pipes, gears, wires, and cables.

    Why is Teflon® Good for Electrical Insulation?

    Teflon® is impervious to nearly all solvents and chemicals, including those frequently used in electronics manufacturing. It is a very resilient, non-reactive material that can withstand temperatures ranging from -454° F to 600° F (-234° C to 315° C), making it an excellent insulator for electrical applications exposed to extreme heat or cold.

    Teflon® is composed of carbon-fluorine bonds that are very flexible, even after significant bending and stressing. Teflon® insulated wires cannot be cross-linked and have a long, reliable flex life. The extreme durability of Teflon® ensures long-lasting protection of electrical components.

    Teflon® also displays excellent dielectric strength, making it an excellent electrical insulator. Teflon® coated components are very low friction, meaning components will experience minimal resistance. At ESPE Manufacturing, we can produce a variety of Teflon® electrical insulation products, including:

    • Bearings
    • Bushings
    • Gears
    • Slide plates
    • Piston rings
    • Seals
    • O-rings
    • Spacers
    • And more

    Advantages and Benefits of Teflon® Parts

    There are many benefits of Teflon® parts, including:

    • Versatility. One of the primary benefits of Teflon® parts is their versatility, meaning it is suitable for an extensive range of applications and industries.
    • Corrosion resistance. Another key advantage of Teflon® parts is their corrosion resistance, which makes them especially useful for electrical insulation.
    • Water and oil resistance. Teflon® parts repel water and oil, which increases the lifetime of the part itself as well as the application it’s used in.
    • Non-stick. Teflon® is non-stick, meaning Teflon® parts are easy to clean, typically only requiring a wipe down.
    • Low friction. Teflon® parts exhibit low friction properties, which offer reduced wear and longer-lasting components. This makes Teflon® parts an excellent option for industrial applications involving parts or gears that slide against each other.
    • Dielectric properties and high melting point. The non-conductive properties and high melting point of Teflon® parts make them a popular choice for electrical wiring and insulation for a variety of industries.

    Teflon® Electrical Insulation from ESPE Manufacturing

    The significant advantages of Teflon® make it a natural choice for electrical insulation projects. Teflon® parts work longer and more effectively than alternatives and can easily be incorporated into a wide array of applications. ESPE Manufacturing offers a wide range of Teflon® fabrication services that can be customized to meet your application’s exact needs. We have a long history of delivering effective non-metallic solutions, and we possess one of the largest electrical insulation inventories in the Midwest. To learn more, view our catalog or contact us today.

  9. A Guide to Die Cutting vs. Laser Cutting vs. Digital Cutting

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    die cutting vs. laser cutting vs. digital cutting

    ESPE Manufacturing Co., Inc. is a fabrication company specializing in the production of electrical insulation materials and custom plastic components. Using advanced industrial die cutting and fabrication techniques, we manufacture washers, gaskets, bushings, and other high-quality parts from a wide range of non-metal materials. Our manufacturing capabilities also include electrical insulation parts and barriers that are designed and manufactured in compliance with strict quality and safety standards.

    The Methods of Die Cutting at ESPE

    Our die cutting services allow for the quick and efficient production of precise, uniform parts from various materials. To meet a range of customer specifications, we offer the following techniques:

    Flatbed or Steel Rule

    Flatbed die cutting, also referred to as steel rule die cutting, is a technique that involves cutting or perforating a custom shape from a workpiece using a flatbed press and steel rule. This type of die cutting is well-suited for handling thick materials, fabricating relatively large parts, and processing low-volume production runs. Compatible materials include everything from fabric, paper, plastic, and rubber to a variety of composites and laminates.

    Punch Press

    Punch press die cutting cuts or shapes parts from thin materials using a die set consisting of male and female dies. Placed on opposite sides of the workpiece, the two dies punch a hole through the material when mated. Punch pressing is ideal for producing hole-intensive parts, however, it is important to keep in mind that this process can generate a great deal of noise and is limited to materials with thicknesses under ¼ inch.

    With customizable dies and various material options, die cutting can be used to create parts for a wide range of applications. A few of the most common materials used to produce custom die-cut electrical insulation parts include:

    • Fishpaper. Lightweight and easy to manipulate, electrical-grade fishpaper is commonly used to fabricate high-strength insulating washers, gaskets, bushings, and other products that can withstand harsh environments.
    • ITW Formex®. With its superior dielectric strength and flame-retardant properties, Formex® is a great option for electrical insulation barriers.
    • Vulcanized fibre. Vulcanized fibre is an impact- and abrasion-resistant material that is well-suited for washers, switch and appliance insulation, gaskets, and automobile parts.
    • Nomex®. The unique heat-resistant synthetic fibers of Nomex® make it an excellent choice for the fabrication of chemical-, thermal-, and radiation-resistant parts used in aerospace, automotive, and electrical power applications.
    • Insulating polymers. Nylon, Teflon, Polycarbonate, PVC, and other electrically- or thermally-insulating polymers can be used to fabricate protective electrical elements such as electric cables, switch boxes, gears, seals, and bearings.

    types of laser cutting

    What are Different Types of Laser Cutting?

    Our laser cutting services include the following techniques:

    • Flying optics lasers. The flying optics laser cutting process involves holding the workpiece in place while a laser follows a computer-programmed path to make cuts along X and Y axes. The process is extremely fast and precise, making it ideal for projects requiring tight tolerances and quick turnaround times.
    • Moving material lasers. With moving material lasers, the workpiece moves along X and Y axes while a stationary laser beam performs the desired cuts. This type of laser cutting requires fewer optics than the other techniques and creates a consistent standoff distance between the beam source and workpiece.
    • Hybrid lasers. Combining the advantages of flying optics and moving material laser cutting, hybrid laser cutting involves moving a laser along the Y-axis while the workpiece moves along the X-axis. With this technique, a much more consistent beam delivery can be achieved, resulting in lower power consumption during the cutting process.

    Laser cutting offers several advantages over other cutting methods, including superior precision, flexibility, speed, and cost-effectiveness. This makes it a preferred fabrication choice across a wide range of industries, including:

    • Automotive. The speed, accuracy, and repeatability of laser cutting make it well-suited for fabricating instrument panels, electronic components, interior covers, and other automotive products that require a high level of consistency and uniformity.
    • Die, mold, and tool industries. Lasers can make cuts at various depths with exceptional accuracy, making laser cutting perfect for creating extremely accurate dies and high-precision injection molds. In the tool industry, laser cutting is used to fabricate simple hand tools and engrave logo designs on rubber tool handles.
    • Medical devices. Laser cutting is commonly used to manufacture small, high-precision parts that are incorporated into sophisticated medical devices, surgical instruments, and diagnostic tools.

    Digital Cutting

    Unlike conventional die cutting techniques, digital cutting makes precision cuts without the use of a die. This technique offers many of the same advantages as conventional die cutting, using bits, lasers, and small blades to make precise cuts, scores, and creases. Benefits of digital cutting include:

    • Quicker turnaround. Digital cutting enables faster production and shorter lead times since it eliminates the need to switch out die shapes.
    • Enhanced precision. The digitally controlled blades, lasers, and bits used to perform the cuts enable a higher level of precision.
    • Reduced costs. By eliminating the costs associated with manufacturing and using dies, digital cutting can be performed at a lower cost than conventional die cutting.
    • Software integration. Digital cutting is compatible with a wide range of software programs, and the integration process is relatively quick and straightforward. ESPE Manufacturing will machine directly from a range of file types so the shape you send is the part you receive.

    How Do They Compare?

    Die Cutting vs. Laser Cutting

    When deciding between die and laser cutting, it is important to consider the benefits and limitations of each method as it relates to your project’s needs. Some factors to consider include:

    • Cost and efficiency. Die cutting requires separate dies to perform each different type of cut, which can become expensive and time-consuming. An advantage of laser cutting is that the machine can be programmed to cut virtually any size or design without having to manufacture or change out dies. This makes it a cheaper and more cost-effective option for prototyping and small-scale production runs. For higher-volume production runs, however, die cutting can typically process materials at a faster rate and lower cost.
    • Material compatibility. While laser cutting is compatible with a wider range of materials, die cutting tends to be better suited for difficult-to-cut materials.
    • Design complexity. While die cutting is great for creating straightforward designs at high speeds, laser cutting is better suited for achieving more intricate or difficult patterns and details.

    Die Cutting vs. Digital Cutting

    Factors to consider when deciding between die cutting and digital cutting include:

    • Cost and efficiency.While tooling costs are more expensive with die cutting, using the die across a large volume of items helps offset this added expense. For this reason, die cutting tends to be more time- and cost-efficient for high-volume production runs, while digital cutting is better suited for low- to medium-volume runs.
    • Material compatibility. Digital cutting is generally preferred for processing thicker, tougher materials, while die cutting is better suited for thinner materials.
    • Design complexity.  When it comes to making highly intricate or detailed cuts, digital cutting tends to outperform die cutting. However, die cutting is the preferred method for rapidly and efficiently punching out a large volume of identical forms.

    Partner with ESPE Manufacturing!

    With a wide range of material options and cutting techniques available, ESPE offers customers the design flexibility to create custom parts in the most cost- and time-effective way possible. We can perform simple or complex cuts on a range of plastics, electrical insulators, and other non-metallic materials, producing high-quality products that conform to exact technical specifications and strict industry standards. Several decades of experience in our field allows us to provide personalized guidance and innovative solutions for the most complex design challenges.

    To learn more about our capabilities, please view our services pagecontact us, or request a quote today.

    plastics cutting & fabrication services

  10. What to Know About Electrical Insulating Materials

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    At ESPE Manufacturing, we specialize in the manufacture of high-quality custom plastic parts and products, including electrical insulating materials. We maintain an extensive inventory of non-metallic materials for use in our manufacturing operations and distribution to our customers. One of our core material offerings is electrical insulation. Below, we provide an overview of this material, including what it is, why it is needed, how it is used, typical applications, and types available.

    The 5 Basic Aspects of Electrical Insulation

    1. What Is Electrical Insulation?

    Electrical insulation refers to materials that do not allow electricity to flow through them freely (e.g., rubber or plastic). In contrast, conductors and semiconductors do allow electricity to flow through them freely (e.g., copper). This difference in performance stems from the difference in their resistivity. Electrical insulating materials have higher resistivity than semiconducting and conducting materials, which means electrons do not pass as easily through the former as they do through the latter.

    electrical insulating vs conducting materials

    2. Why Is It Needed?

    Electrical insulators help control the flow of electricity. They ensure energy reaches the desired destination within the system by acting as a barrier around the conductor, preventing the energy from straying from the preferred path. In doing so, they also prevent electricity from flowing to other components, which can cause short-circuiting or electrocution depending on the configuration of the system.

    3. A Glimpse at the Process

    The following illustration points out the process of electrical insulation:

    electrical insulation

    4. Applications That Use Electrical Insulation

    Some of the primary applications that require electrical insulation include:

    • Automotive components
    • Computers and computer peripherals
    • Consumer products
    • Conventional and uninterruptible power supplies
    • Electrical and power distribution systems
    • Lighting
    • Medical equipment
    • Telecommunications equipment

    5. Commonly Used Electrical Insulation Materials

    There are many types of electrical insulation materials available. Some of the most commonly used include:

    • Cardboard/Paper: These materials are a cost-effective option for insulation applications involving low heat and voltages.
    • Clay (ceramic or porcelain): This material is the standard for high-voltage and radio-frequency (RF) insulators.
    • Glass (limestone, silica, and soda ash): This material is used occasionally in low-voltage applications.
    • Mica: This material offers good electrical insulation and thermal conduction properties.
    • Perfluoroalkoxy (PFA): This material is flexible, transparent, and chemical resistant. It is commonly used in near-ocean applications due to its salt spray resistance.
    • Rubber: This material was used as an insulation in natural and synthetic variations up until the 1950s. However, it has since been largely replaced with plastics.

    The experts at ESPE Manufacturing fabricate a variety of custom parts and products from electrical insulation material. Check out the list below to see the material options available.

    Custom Manufactured Electrical Insulating Materials

    Electrical Insulation Material Offerings and Options at ESPE

    At ESPE, we utilize a wide range of electrical insulating materials in our custom manufacturing operations. The primary materials we work with are:

    • Formex: Formex is a brand of electrical insulation materials, all of which are made from flame-retardant polypropylene. They are a versatile and cost-effective solution for a variety of applications, ranging from consumer appliances and electronics to commercial data centers to industrial-scale systems.
    • Nomex: Nomex is a line of paper and pressboard insulation products. These meta-aramid polymer materials offer chemical, thermal, and radiation resistance in addition to their electrical insulation properties. They are commonly used in the aerospace, automotive, power generation, and marine industries.
    • Fishpaper/Vulcanized Fibre: Fishpaper is the generic term for electrical grade vulcanized fibre. It is lightweight, easy to work, and resistant to hot and cold conditions. It is often used in the production of components such as bushings, washers, gaskets, and more. Fibre is the generic term for commercial grade vulcanized fibre. It is hard, durable, and chemically pure and offers excellent strength, flexibility, and workability. It is often used in the manufacture of components such as gaskets, insulating plates, and washers.

    We also offer a variety of other types and grades of electrical insulating plastics and papers.

    ESPE Manufacturing: Your Expert and Partner for Electrical Insulation

    Electrical insulation is essential to ensuring electrical and electronic devices, equipment, and systems are safe. However, the type employed depends on the application, with different applications requiring different electrical resistivity and other physical, mechanical, chemical, and thermal properties. While determining which electrical insulating materials are right for your application can be difficult, the experts at ESPE Manufacturing are here to help.

    Whether you’re looking for an electrical insulation material supplier or a manufacturer of electrical insulating parts and products, we can meet your needs. To learn more about our material offerings and options, check out our material catalog. To discuss your material or manufacturing needs with one of our experts, contact us or request a quote today.