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13th September 2019, Thornton Cleveleys

Developing new markets with Victrex solutions

Victrex at K 2019 show - booth design. © Victrex

Victrex at K 2019 show - booth design. © Victrex

Victrex, a leader in high-performance polymer solutions, will be showcasing its recent solutions under the theme The Element of Invention at the upcoming K 2019 show, which takes place in Dusseldorf next month.

Complementing the many innovations that followed the invention of PEEK thermoplastic over 40 years ago, the Victrex PEEK and PAEK polymer-based portfolio on display will include an innovative food grade, additive manufacturing (AM/3D printing), composite, film, and gear solutions.

“The invention of PEEK polymer has clearly had a very positive impact across industries and, in fact, across the globe. We could never have imagined the continuous stream of innovation this high performing versatile polymer would make possible. Visitors to the Victrex K 2019 show booth can look forward to pioneering new grades as well as exciting progress on forms and parts in critical applications where high-performance polymers deliver a strong advantage in the development of new markets,” said Jakob Sigurdsson, Victrex CEO, in the run-up to the trade show.

Possibilities for 3D printing PAEK

At K 2019, Victrex will showcase new PAEK materials, including products developed for use in 3D printing: filament for filament fusion (FF) or fine powder for laser sintering (LS). These new solutions are said to deliver better results with improved mechanical properties in printed parts and easier printing than past attempts to use PEEK in AM.

To speed the availability of 3D printed PAEK parts for customers, Victrex is investing in these new materials optimised for AM and pairing them with new machine technology in order to create integrated solutions. The company is working directly with key industry partners and customers to build an AM PAEK eco-system.

Driving innovation in powertrain

Cost-effective polymers, forms and parts for the automotive industry include the tribologically optimised Victrex PEEK polymer, thin APTIV films and robust Victrex HPG high-precision gears. Together, these are said to contribute to achieve greater CO2 efficiency and improved durability, as well as a potential reduction in total system cost in conventional, hybrid, and electrical powertrains.

With its gears solutions, Victrex is enabling Tier 1/OEM customers to work with one partner, from concept to commercialisation, who supports the development and testing of high-precision Victrex HPG-based gears, as well as the manufacturing of these gears as a component for integration into larger systems.

In electric drives, PEEK film-based electrical insulation can help improve thermal management, reliable operation and reduce overall system cost. With the automotive industry transitioning to electric vehicles, the quest for more efficient high-density e-motors and lower cost is still on.

Next dimension of PAEK thermoplastic composites

Victrex AE 250 composites have mechanical, physical and chemical resistance properties typical of members of the polyaryletherketone (PAEK) polymer family such as PEEK, but with a 40°C lower crystalline melting temperature, at only 305°C. The material is designed to deliver a combination of cost reduction, light weight, design freedom, strength and production speed in next-generation components.

The innovation in the time- and cost-efficient production of complex aircraft parts was recognised with a JEC Innovation Award 2019 earlier this year, for an all-thermoplastic drive-shaft system overmoulded with an integral gear that is set to advance the use of thermoplastic composites in aerospace. The OrganoTube and gears of the drive-shaft system are using Victrex AE 250 PAEK unidirectional tape (UDT) and PEEK polymers in combination with innovative processing technologies. This innovation is expected to open up potential for reduced cycle times and large-scale industrial production.

APTIV films for advanced performance

APTIV films from Victrex are designed to deliver benefits of high-performance PEEK polymer in a thin format and so provide the versatility and high performance required to address customers' complex demands for a variety of electronic devices in this fast-moving market. APTIV film can be applied in a wide range of products, such as micro speakers, 5G RF antenna substrates, and battery insulation, and also in chip and display manufacturing.

Survive and thrive in the extremes

In 2018, Victrex introduced its new Victrex CT 200 for applications at cryogenic temperatures (-150°C to -200°C). As the latest member of the Victrex CT PEEK polymers, the 200-grade series exhibits improved sealing over a wider range of temperatures, compared to commonly used materials such as PCTFE. It does so at low temperatures on account of its greater ductility, and at high temperatures due to its superior creep resistance. Victrex CT polymers have also been shown to maintain better dimensional stability, with a lower coefficient of thermal expansion than incumbent materials.

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