With over two decades of experience machining precision plastic and composite parts for the Aerospace & Defense industry, AIP Precision Machining knows that weight and strength are critical for your flight-ready hardware. That’s why we’ve carefully selected, machined and tested all our thermoplastic materials to various aerospace and defense industry standards. Our lightweight polymers and composites have stable chemical and corrosion resistance, as well as improved strength to weight ratios when compared to exotic alloys and non-ferrous metals. AIP’s polymer and composite materials maintain their properties even at high temperatures.

 

Here are some specific examples of thermoplastic materials commonly used in the Aerospace & Defense industry.

 

ULTEM-PEI

ULTEM – PEI

ULTEM has one of the highest dielectric strengths of any thermoplastic material. This enables ULTEM to work very efficiently as an electrical insulator. Being resistant to both hot water and steam, ULTEM can withstand repeated cycles in a steam autoclave and operate in high service temperature environments (340F or 170C). ULTEM also has one of the lowest rates of thermal conductivity among thermoplastics, allowing machined ULTEM parts to act as thermal insulators. ULTEM is FDA and NSF approved for both food and medical contact, making it an excellent choice for aircraft galley equipment such as ovens, microwaves and hot or cold beverage dispensing systems. Finally, its UL94 V-O flame rating with very low smoke output makes this material ideal for aircraft interior components.

 

 

CELAZOLE - PBI

CELAZOLE – PBI

CELAZOLE provides the highest mechanical properties of any thermoplastic above 400F (204C) and offers a continuous use operating temperature of 750F (399C). This impressive lightweight material has outstanding high-temperature mechanical properties for use in aircraft engines and other HOT section areas. These properties include good fatigue resistance, compressive strength, wear resistance and electrical insulation. After being submerged in hydraulic fluid at 200°F for thirty days, CELAZOLE retains 100% tensile strength.

 

 

RYTON – PPS

RYTON’s inherent fire retardancy, thermal stability, and corrosion resistance make it perfectly suited for aerospace applications, while its dimensional stability means even the most intricate parts can be manufactured from RYTON with very tight tolerances. RYTON is typically used for injection molded parts; however, there is limited availability of extruded rod and plate for machining.

 

 

 

DURATRON PI

VESPEL or DURATRON – PI

Like RYTON, VESPEL is dimensionally stable and has fantastic temperature resistance. It can operate uninterrupted from cryogenic temperatures to 550°F, with intermittent to 900°F. Thanks to its high wear and friction resistance, VESPEL performs with excellence and longevity in severe aerospace environments. VESPEL is a trademark material of DuPont and can be provided in direct formed blanks or finished parts directly from DuPont. AIP has provided precision machined components from DuPont manufactured rod and plate stock. You can typically find VESPEL used in high temperature and high-speed bearing and wear applications, such as stator bushings.

 

 

TORLON

TORLON or DURATRON – PAI

DURATRON PAI’s extremely low coefficient of linear thermal expansion and high creep resistance deliver excellent dimensional stability over its entire service range. PAI is an amorphous material with a Tg (glass transition temperature) of 537°F (280°C). DURATRON PAI stock shapes are post-cured using procedures developed jointly by BP Amoco under the TORLON trade name and Quadrant under the DURATRON trade name. PAI components fabricated from extruded shapes that require optimization of chemical resistance and/or wear performance often receive a post-curing cycle. You can find TORLON parts in structural, wear and electrical aerospace applications.

 

 

TECHTRON

TECHTRON – PPS

TECHTRON has essentially zero moisture absorption, which allows products manufactured from this material to maintain extreme dimensional and density stability. PPS is highly chemical resistant and can operate while submerged in harsh chemicals. Additionally, TECHTRON is inherently flame retardant and can be easily machined to close tolerances. PPS has a broader resistance to chemicals than most high-performing plastics, as well. TECHTRON can work well as an alternative to PEEK at lower temperatures for this reason.

 

 

 

RADEL

RADEL – PPSU

With high heat and high impact performance, RADEL delivers better impact resistance and chemical resistance than other sulfone-based polymers, such as PSU and PEI. Its toughness and long-term hydrolytic stability mean it performs well even under autoclave pressure. Importantly, RADEL R5500 meets the stringent aircraft flammability requirements of 14CFR Part 25. These allow the aircraft design engineer to provide lightweight, safe and aesthetically pleasing precision components for various aircraft interior layouts. RADEL can also be polished to a mirror finish and is FDA and NSF approved for food and beverage contact.

 

 

 

KEL-F

KEL – F

Kel-F is a winning combination of physical and mechanical properties, non-flammability, chemical resistance, near-zero moisture absorption and of course outstanding electrical properties. This stands out from other thermoplastic fluoropolymers, as only Kel-F has these characteristics in a useful temperature range of -400°F to +400°F. In addition, it has very low outgassing and offers extreme transmissivity for radar and microwave applications. Many aircraft and ground-based random applications use Kel-F.

 

 

 

PEEK

PEEK

PEEK can be used continuously in temperatures of 480°F (250°C) and in hot water or steam without permanent loss of physical properties. For hostile environments, PEEK is a high strength alternative to fluoropolymers. PEEK carries a V-O flammability rating and exhibits very low smoke and toxic gas emission when exposed to flame. These aren’t the only reasons that PEEK is an increasingly popular choice for metal replacement in aerospace, however. Many manufacturers prefer PEEK for its lightweight nature, mechanical strength, creep and fatigue resistance, as well as its ease of processing. These and other exceptional physical and thermal characteristics make PEEK a versatile thermoplastic polymer for many aerospace applications. AIP has provided flight control, fuel system, interior, engine and aerodynamic-related PEEK components for various aircraft OEM and MRO providers worldwide.

 

 

KYNAR - PVDF

KYNAR – PVDF

Another example of thermoplastic materials used in aerospace and defense is KYNAR, or PVDF. This polymer has impressive chemical resistance at ambient and elevated temperatures, as well as good thermomechanical and tensile strength. KYNAR is extremely durable due to its weather-ability and toughness even in the most severe environments. In addition to being flame-resistant, KYNAR is easy to machine, too. You can typically find KYNAR components in pipe fitting and various fuel or other fluid related precision manifolds or connectors.

 

 

 

 

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Aerospace Manufacturing Company

When looking to design a custom critical component for the aerospace industry, finding the right plastics manufacturer is just as important as deciding what resin works best for your project’s needs. The use of high performing plastics and thermoplastics such as ULTEM, TORLON, PEEK, and RADEL has quadrupled in aerospace design over the last 45 years thanks to their unique dynamic properties, and with them comes the need for precise machining and manufacturing.

 

Here are 5 considerations you should take into account before choosing your aerospace plastic parts manufacturing company:

 

Capabilities & Competency

 

Before hiring a plastics manufacturing company, first ensure that they have the plastic designing and production capabilities necessary to handle your aerospace project’s needs. The three main plastic production processes are 3D Printing, Injection Molding and Plastics Machining. Discovering which technology is most appropriate for your project is dependent on your project’s requirements… and the plastics manufacturer you decide on should be able to tell you the pros and cons of each technology.

 

The manufacturer you choose should also have the ability to navigate from your product’s initial vision through its production, addressing quality and customer care every step of the way. They should be able to competently handle the raw plastic materials of your choice as well, so that you receive the highest quality product in regards to cost, time, precision, efficiency, materials and more. Your project, regardless of specificity, can be machined into a highly precise and extremely resilient product.

 

Here at AIP Precision Machining, our decades of experience working with ULTEM, TORLON, PEEK, and RADEL high performing plastics ensures smooth navigation from your project’s start to finish.

 

 

Industry Standards

 

Product manufacturing companies must follow industry standards like International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) and more in order to ensure that their products hold up to specific requirements. Be wary of companies that have a default “Standard” methods—these are made-up specifications that do not follow recognized, insured specifications.

 

Take a careful look at a company’s ISO certifications. For instance, ISO 9001 is focused on meeting customer expectations, continually delivering customer satisfaction and it requires an organization to demonstrate constant improvement… If an organization doesn’t have this regulated license, you may want to ask them why.

 

Also, consider other notable ISO certifications like the AS9100 standard which is similar to the ISO 9001 standard, but with additional requirements for aerospace manufacturing that are tailored to a particular industry’s quality system expectations and regulatory requirements.

 

Here at AIP Precision Machining, not only are we registered to these standards, but we are registered to the most recent version of the ISO standards.

 

Additional Services

 

Plenty of plastic manufacturing firms offer consulting services as well as developmental processes. Going with a plastic product manufacturing company that has manufacturing conceptualization engineers can help in the long run if your project requires any design modifications. Engineering support also ensures efficiency through every step of your project’s progression.

 

Some plastics manufacturers also offer quality assurance measures. Not every company guarantees that their end products will hold up to your specifications but the firms that do will additionally offer services focused on comprehensive product design, development, patent registration guidance and prototype creation.

 

Here at AIP Precision Machining, we’re proud to offer a complete and effective quality assurance process that focuses on product quality, fast delivery, and cost-effective options.

 

Domestic vs. Overseas

 

If you decide to use an overseas factory, asking the right questions is critical to determine if they have the capabilities, credentials, and experience to become your trusted partner. It can often be difficult to find a reliable company that delivers high quality work. Some ways to find the best plastic manufacturer overseas is by asking for referrals, actually flying to their location, and asking a lot of questions and paying close attention to their responses. Many overseas factories will usually have a U.S.-based agent to represent them. If you find a company that seems like a good fit, ask to contact their domestic agent.

 

Domestic manufacturers, meanwhile, greatly reduce delivery times and shipping expenses; one who is in your same time zone allows for easy communication and improved customer services. There’s also the advantage that U.S. manufacturers have higher quality and labor standards, greater payment security, and high intellectual property right protection.

 

AIP Precision Machining is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida with an additional sales office in southern California. We provide an “open door” policy to our facility for potential and existing clients.

 

Experience & Expertise

 

Checking the track record of a company is important to get a clear outline of their performance, customer satisfaction, and overall product deliverability. Ask about their work history to see their range of experience and their level of expertise with aerospace projects similar to yours.

 

For instance, we at AIP Precision Machining have worked with leading aerospace and defense engineers and contractors such as Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, and GE Aviation. With our 35+ years of polymer machining experience, we’re ready to take on the most stringent challenge to meet your needs.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about how to choose a plastic product manufacturer for your critical aerospace components, feel free to reach out to us online or call us at +1 386.274.5335 for a free consultation with one of our highly-skilled engineers.

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