Victrex: PEEK delivers power to innovate

Victrex will be showcasing its recent solutions under the theme “The Element of Invention” at K 2019. Complementing the many pioneering innovations that followed the invention of PEEK thermoplastic over 40 years ago, the Victrex PEEK and PAEK polymer-based portfolio on display will include a food grade, as well as additive manufacturing (AM/3D printing), composite, film, and gear solutions. Ranging across leading industrial sectors, these products contribute to solving material limitations in advanced applications, often replacing metals.

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 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 optimized 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.

Cost-effective polymers, forms and parts for the automotive industry include tribologically-optimized Victrex PEEK polymer, thin APTIV films, and robust Victrex HPG high precision gears. Together, these contribute to achieving 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 commercialization, 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 (e.g. within the engine, transmission, pump, actuator, and chassis). Victrex’s gear design and manufacturing facility in Grantsburg, WI, has just received IATF 16949 certification, confirming that the systems and capabilities required to meet the needs of Tier1/OEMs are in place.

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. Most e-motor manufacturers have opted to use the Permanent Magnet Synchronous Machine (PMSM) in which the design of the insulating system is instrumental. Computer simulation from highly regarded third party specialists on an established 80 kW EV e-motor has shown a potential 5% increase torque output in the same size e-motor, enabled by 40% thinner APTIV slot liner, enabling a 2% increased copper content (slot-fill factor). Additional simulation has indicated that the excellent thermal conductivity of APTIV film results in improved thermal management and a reduction of peak winding temperatures by 2-3°C (36-37°F) versus traditional laminates.

The aircraft industry has forecast that more than 35,000 new aircraft will be required within the next 20 years. Meeting this kind of escalating demand clearly calls for new approaches and new technologies in aerospace engineering.

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 (104°F) lower crystalline melting temperature, at only 305°C (581°F). The unique material delivers a combination of cost reduction, lightweight, design freedom, strength and production speed in next-generation components. For example,

  • Up to 6.5x faster for in-situ processing for laser-welded AFP processing
  • Up to 40% cost savings vs. metals
  • Up to 70% lighter than metals with equivalent strength and stiffness

A breakthrough in the time- and cost-efficient production of complex aircraft parts was an all-thermoplastic drive-shaft system overmolded 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 enormous potential for reduced cycle times and large-scale industrial production.

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