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Why do we use polymer instead of metal?
The polymer material used in our system is a food-grade industrial plastic that is widely used in manufacturing. Called High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), it is widely preferred over steel in many of today's industries; automotive, aviation, aerospace and industrial manufacturing, just to name a few. It is strong, resilient and lightweight. In fact, it is lighter than aluminum and far lighter than steel. In our application, lighter weight means that the system will not easily make a chair top-heavy... a possibly dangerous condition.
More importantly than weight, it also has a very good "memory" - meaning that it retains and returns to its original shape after being deformed. Because of this ability it performs exceptionally well as a friction-point (such as a pivot or clamp) with virtually no wearing or damage. Aluminum and steels commonly used for this application can be permanently deformed by a small amount every time it is adjusted. These kinds of applications can also cause metals to wear faster than polymer - metal on metal contact is well known to cause accelerated wear, especially when rubbed or pressed against each other with force (as in a pivot or clamp). If over stressed (such as an over tightened bolt), the polymer material will 'give' slightly and reform to its original shape... steel and aluminum will bend and not fully return to its original shape and position. This condition is aggravated by stresses caused from use and readjustment. Metal also is subject to fatigue... cracking or weakening around holes and joints. Again, polymer does not suffer from this malady. The eventual result of this? Metal parts will, by their very nature, wear at the pivots and clamps causing the mounts to eventually lose their ability to grip, allowing them to slip and sag - slippage.
Finally, because of its inherent natural memory, the polymer mounts work like a 'friction clamp', holding pressure against the mounting screws, allowing them to be hand-tightened while at the same time preventing them from loosening up over time. Metal to metal clamps and pivot surfaces require locking nuts and washers that need tools to tighten and loosen. Anyone who has ever had a metal shelf or swing set has most likely seen this problem. Polymer can also be threaded, shaped, painted and is much easier to work with than metal.
What this means is that in this application, polymer will outlast and outperform steel and aluminum and do it with less weight! Years of experimentation and development have proven this to us over and over again. We've tried them all over the years, including many of the designs our competitors now offer. Many other systems that are made of steel will wear far faster than ours and require tools to assemble, adjust and maintain. Even screws threaded into a metal part can 'strip' threads and ruin the component. Once more polymer is superior by being much more 'forgiving' of incorrect threading and can even be rethreaded without a threading tap! Try doing that with metal.
So in many ways polymer is superior to metal for this use and will give its owner years of trouble free, reliable use. All of our original systems, made in the mid 1990's, are still in use and work as well now as they did when new!
We build them with pride and we build them to last.