While competition appears to be heating up in the PEEK (polyether etherketone) sector with the recent announcement of Solvay (Alpharetta, GA) that it is building a plant in North America, polyaryletherketone (PAEK) polymer supplier Victrex plc (Thornton-Cleveleys, UK) has received a boost in the form of a $2 million in grant funding from the UK government's Regional Growth Fund to assist it in construction of a Polymer Innovation Center in northern England.
"Victrex is continuing to invest in cutting-edge technological leadership in advanced polymers," commented Dr John Grasmeder, Technical Director at Victrex. "Improved application performance at the same or reduced cost is a common objective that we're helping our customers to address across industries. The aircraft industry, for example, is now embracing newly-developed technology for major cost and weight savings combined with accelerated assembly times. That's just one example among hundreds."
|Innovation is high on the agenda at Victrex.|
R&D investment at high levels
Victrex has always maintained a relatively large investment in R&D and the Polymer Innovation Center will sustain that theme. In 2014, Victrex invested over $23 million, 6% of sales, into its R&D programs. The new investment, together with funding from the UK government´s Regional Growth Fund, will reportedly build on that record, while also recognizing the future jobs potential for the north-west of England, where Victrex's headquarters are based. The project is expected to help in the creation of over 80 direct and indirect jobs over the next 10 years and could ultimately see a total $24.6 million investment.
"This boost from the UK government's Regional Growth Fund is great news for Victrex, in enabling our company to continue pioneering the market for high performance polymers well into the future," said David Hummel, Chief Executive of Victrex.
Victrex's return to double-digit growth in 2014, with sales of $390 million, was reportedly helped by a strategy that focuses on high-volume and high-value targets and utilises the company's technical excellence, marketing know-how and innovation across its five chosen focus markets of automotive, aerospace, electronics, energy, and medical.