MP PolymerTM Technology

Sucker rod guide development has essentially been flat for the last 30 years. The industry has been limited to the same PA (Nylon), PPA (AF or AU), PPS, or PEEK (also PAEK) resin systems for base guide materials. Customers suffered. Guides wore fast, and the guide manufacturers would get the repeat business. When manufacturer greed holds back innovation, there is a significant problem in the marketplace. Welcome MP POLYMER TECHNOLOGY.

MP Polymer Technology stands for something more. Several key factors separate RFG from the competitors. We validate the lab studies engineered calculations with real field results. To understand plastics, lets talk about a few key things.

WE TEACH PLASTICSpublic data straight from material suppliers

Glass Transition Temperature

Glass Transition Temperature, Tg, is a graphical data-set which represents a plastic’s material stability over a series of temperature changes. Most often, the Glass Transition Temperature is found through Dynamic Mechanical Thermal Analysis, ASTM E1640. 3 states in plastics exist.

  • The Glassy State (descriptive of plastic being as stiff as it can be – ideal for guides)
  • Rubbery State (a plateau between the Tg and Tm, melt temperature)
  • Melt State (temperature at which the plastic needs to be to reshape its form) – molding.

A guides best properties against wear and deflection are in the glassy state. The material is the strongest part it can be.

Mechanical Properties

As the modulus of a material lowers in elevated temperature, its mechanical properties do too. The tensile strength, compressive strength, flexural strength, and dimensional stability decrease similar to the transition found from the DMTA analysis. Operating beyond the Tg provides a weaker part which is more susceptible to premature wear, end-of-life, or cracking.


PA (Nylon) and PPA (AF or AU) are hygroscopic resins, meaning they absorb and hold moisture. Hygroscopic resins, at 100% Relative Humidity, have weakened molecular bonds within the chemistry of the resin, thus, the mechanical properties of these plastics degrade rapidly. Wells are a wet environment, and in 48 hours @ 200 F, material suppliers state 100% RH is achieved. This lowers the Glass Transition Temperature of PA (Nylon) and PPA (AF or AU) dramatically.

Hygroscopic resins are the worst materials to use for guide materials.

Property Correlation

Why do competitors advertise PPA for 400 F when it loses up to ~80% of its properties at 90 F?

These dated guide materials, PA, PPA, and PPS, all feature Tg temperatures well below well-bore fluids. Therefore, the guides operate in the rubbery state. Operating guides beyond their Tg accelerates the wear of the plastic, which then means guide life is compromised.

In addition to wear properties, the overall mechanical stability of the plastic resin is compromised beyond the Tg. Not only is there an increase in wear, there is also an decrease in chemical resistance and an increase in thermal expansion (a decrease in guide-to-rod bond strength).


Wear Study

RFG hired a 3rd party accredited Tribology lab, outside of our industry and outside of material suppliers, to have a non-biased blind study of wear and friction completed.

Wear is directly proportional to friction coefficient, compressive strength, and modulus. Testing was completed with a modified ASTM G133 Standard, Standard Test Method for Linearly Reciprocating Ball-on-Flat Sliding Wear.

However, test is not in full compliance with the standard because:

  • The ball radius is 3 mm instead of 4.76 mm
  • The normal force is 10 N and 30 N instead of 25 N
  • The oscillating frequency is 1.6 Hz and 0.6 Hz instead of 5 Hz
  • The test duration is longer than 16 minutes and 40 seconds, however, the sliding distance is 100 meters
  • Lubrication was applied
  • Heat was applied

As expected, the high glass PAEK material did not show measurable wear, but wear was observed. In oilfield applications, this transfers the wear into the tubing, which is why the market shies away from 40% glass filled materials. In fact, the market typically accepts 33% glass as the most allowable before tubing wear occurs. The less glass the better.

RFG MP Polymer Technology allows the resin system to be the wear surface, not the glass. We utilize glass filler as a strength-adder to the resin system, rather than relying on glass for a wear surface, since glass in excess can be abrasive to tubing. MP Polymer Products feature 20% Glass, we believe the lowest glass filled guiding material in the market.

Lower is better.


Friction has long been a concern for rod pumped wells, especially as the limits are constantly pushed in deep deviated and horizontal applications. Rod string design programs cite that friction coefficients INCREASE with sucker rod guides, by a factor of 1.5x. Respected beam lift handbooks in the industry also cite guides having a higher friction coefficient than steel-rod-on-steel-tubing, but there is no source for the data. RFG reached out to the authors of these handbooks, they cited referencing public domain statements, with no specific references to back up the claims from the text.

Friction data was computed from the G133 Wear Study above.

The results are intriguing. Materials with higher glass content have a lower coefficient of friction. We equate this to glass being a slick, non-porous and hard surface. As you add more glass, your coefficient of friction goes down. However, added glass content does affect the wear on the tubing. 33% glass has long been the industry respected threshold of glass content and sucker rod guide materials prior to guide materials being significantly abrasive to tubing.

Furthermore, all sucker rod guide materials, filled or unfilled, are proving to have a lower coefficient of friction against steel than the rod. Any person can run their hand or finger along ANY manufacturer’s rod guide material surface, rub it along a rod section, and the rod section clearly creates more frictional resistance.

Rod String Design programs cite steel rods on steel tubing as 0.2. RFG MP Polymer products have a COF of 0.1. All Guided rods produce less friction and drag load than slick sucker rods.

Manufacturing Differences

RFG’s commitment to investing in the best means a continuous improvement in product throughput and quality.

In addition to continual investments, RFG MP Polymer Technology utilizes a FLASH PROCESS. This purposefully forces all of the air out of the mold cavities as resin is filling.

Because our resin system is slower to fill the molds and higher viscosity, we are able to flash the tools, meaning excess material leaks through the shut-off insert between the rod and mold tool. The heat of the mold tool, after the tool is flashing material out of the rod-to-tool shutoffs, then solidifies the material through a chemical reaction. This prevents air pockets being locked into the plastic. We force all of the air out, solidify the resin at the ends of the guide, and then pack a high cavity pressure for 99.9% filled, non-porous parts.

The image below shows a non-flash process with poor melt in comparison to molding the RFG way.


Mold Flow Analysis

Typically, cracks form on the weld line of thermoplastic molded parts, which is understood as the weakest section of the molded part. This is due to the material cooling as it flows through the cavity and around the sucker rod.

This degradation of the plastic welding and fusing homogeneously is amplified by the bar temperature and material flow patterns. Rods which have a large thermal delta in comparison to the mold tool will suck heat from the plastic, like a heat sink, further weakening the materials mixture and homogeneous structure.

To minimize this affect, we store sucker rods inside 24 hours prior to molding. Our molding facility is kept at a minimum of 80 F at all times, and bars are heated prior to molding through a patent-pending process. RFG’s gate location on its parts is further down on the fin end rather than in the middle of the part, improving the resin flow pattern, allowing material to flow down the cavity in a well balanced manner, working the last area to fill out of the edge of the part.

RFG’s chemistry based molding process also allows for the material to completely fill the mold cavities before the chemical reaction starts to set. This also insures we have consistent molded parts with consistent properties from one end of the guide to the other.

RFG Guide

Competitor Guide - PPS Flow