Plastic Machining in the Food Industry

There are many applications for various plastics in the food industry due to the chemical resistance, greater wear properties, and FDA approval available in many grades of material.  Products such as Acetal, Nylon, PEEK, PET, PTFE, UHMW, and HDPE are just a few that meet FDA requirements for contact with food and are prevalent in processing equipment.

These applications included valves, manifolds, and dies to form, measure, and control various food products during manufacturing.  Conveyor parts such as timing screws, star wheels, rollers, bushings, bearings, gears, and sprockets are commonly made of plastics for their superior wear, non-galling, and even noise reduction properties.

Additionally, packaging machinery typically utilizes transparent polycarbonate for machine guards and view windows.  Some equipment utilizes HDPE cutting boards to improve wear, reduce bacteria growth, and are able to stand up to typical chorine wash down solutions.

To learn more about plastic machining in the food industry or for an affordable quote, please e-mail us, call us at 888-761-4262, or use our contact form.

Plastics Applications in the Food Industry

PMI provides machined plastics that are used extensively throughout the food processing and handling industries for applications that require wear resistance, temperature resistance, and tensile strength.  In food-contact applications where consumer safety is imperative, plastics offer FDA-compliant grade options that are readily sterilized and tolerate disinfectants without degrading. Combining lightweight durability with design versatility, plastics are resilient, easily cleaned, and can be machined into virtually any shape.


Plastic packaging provides superior product protection, helping to guard against contamination, extend shelf-life, and preserve freshness and flavor.  Freezer-safe, microwavable, and reusable, plastic packaging can withstand temperature extremes without damaging food taste or appearance.  Machined plastics are inexpensive, convenient, disposable, and frequently recyclable.


Plastic products are strong and easy to clean, offering non-porous surfaces that won’t splinter, rust, or absorb odors.

Transportation and Distribution

Transportation/Distribution.  Plastic’s characteristic strength, durability, and versatility make it ideal for transportation and distribution applications.  Machined plastic components and products combine the strength of steel with the lightness of aluminum, and will not rot, mildew, or splinter.

Retail Display

With its endless versatility, plastic is a cost-effective choice for display products such as menu holders, beverage signs, dispensers, dip trays, condiment holders, bar caddies, and organizers.

Preferred Plastics for the Food Industry

The following plastics are frequently used in the food industry:

  • ABC Plastic
  • Acetal Coplymer
  • PEEK
  • Polyester
  • Polyetherimide
  • HDPE and LDPE
  • PET-P
  • Polyphenylene Oxide
  • Polypropylene
  • PVC Plastic

For help selecting the optimal material for your application contact the PMI technical support team.  We understand the unique advantages and limitations of each plastic material and can help you make the best choice for cost, function, and durability.


Amorphous thermoplastic with superior impact strength, chemical resistance, and dimensional stability.

Acetal Coplymer

Semi-crystalline with extremely low wear and good rigidity, toughness, and dimensional stability.  It has low moisture absorption and is easy to machine.

Learn More About Acetal

PEEK (Polyetheretherketone)

Semi-crystalline material that provides exceptionally high temperature performance with good wear and friction properties.  Easily machined, formed, and welded, it is maintenance-free and wipes clean.  Provides design versatility with excellent dimensional stability, has good chemical resistance, and won’t degrade with exposure to water or steam.

Learn More About PEEK


Excellent strength and dimensional stability.  It absorbs very little water and has good gas barrier properties and good chemical resistance.


Broad chemical resistance.  It has an excellent ability to withstand a wide variety of sterilization methods.  It also has outstanding mechanical properties and is easy to machine.

Polyethylene (HDPE and LDPE)

Olefin-based polymers with excellent chemical resistance.  It is easy to machine, is highly resistant to abrasion and stress-cracking, and has good water resistance.

Polyethylene Terephthalate Polyester (PET-P)

Semi-crystalline thermoplastic with excellent wear resistance and superior dimensional stability.  It is resistant to moderately acidic solutions, is capable of sustaining high loads, and has low moisture absorption.

Polyphenylene Oxide

Low moisture absorption and good electrical insulation properties over a wide temperature and humidity range.  It has superior impact strength, long-term dimensional stability, and is easily machined to close tolerances.


Thermoplastic with unique combination of outstanding physical, chemical, mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties.  It is highly resistant to corrosive materials, has a high temperature resistance and tensile strength, and has excellent resistance to organic solvents and degreasing agents.


Flexible, easily tailored for additional heat, chemical, and wear resistance.  It has good resistance to oil, low permeability to gases.  It is also easily machined, heat-formed, and welded.

Learn More About PVC