Precision PPSU Takes Flight in Mission-Critical Aerospace Applications

Safety and engineering finesse come together in every aircraft on the market. It’s not just about ensuring a good flight experience for consumers; it’s the law. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has regulations in place that dictate the material choices for commercial aircraft. For instance, fireproof materials are an essential part of aircraft interiors.

 

In the late 1980s, FAA statistics showed that about 40% of survivors from impact-related aircraft crashes died from post-crash fire and smoke exposure. At the time, most aircraft interiors were made of combustible plastics. In 1987 the FAA mandated the use of fire-resistant plastics in all passenger planes.

 

Performance plastics like Solvay’s RADEL®, polyphenylsulfone (PPSU), offer not only high impact resistance but also high heat resistance. RADEL® is a key material in mission-critical performance within the cabin of an aircraft. In this article, we discuss the advantages of RADEL® for aerospace applications.

 

Demands of Aircraft Interiors – Beyond Comfort

Passengers might think about leg space and seat comfort, but there is a lot of thought put into the safety of cabin space. Fireproofing an aircraft is a crucial part of construction and engineering. Yet, engineers also look for a material that meets the industry’s lightweight and durability requisites.

 

Performance plastics in aerospace design have played a major role for several decades. Prior to the 1987 FAA mandate for fire-resistant plastics, most cabin interior composites were epoxy-based. These highly-flammable plastics, while providing the aesthetics and durability needed for aircraft interiors, were also highly dangerous in the event of a fire.

 

Since then, aircraft interior material selection has evolved to meet the standards of aesthetics, durability, AND flame resistance. Flame-resistant polymers for aircraft interiors have physical and chemical properties in terms of their effect on the heat release rate of burning material. Those qualities include: fuel replacement, flame inhibition, intumescence, and heat resistance.

 

These fire resistance mechanisms, acting simultaneously or collaboratively, are effective at reducing the heat release rate of a new generation of transparent plastics suitable for aircraft cabin interiors.

 

 

Properties of RADEL® PPSU for Aerospace

Solvay’s RADEL® PPSU meets all of the stringent requirements of the aerospace sector as well as the FAA regulations on flame retardance. 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. It also performs under repeated chemical and hydrolytic exposure.

 

Furthermore, RADEL® PPSU meets the aircraft flammability requirements of 14 CFR Part 25, enabling engineers a material choice that is lightweight, safe and, aesthetically pleasing. It comes in a variety of colors to avoid painting and is FDA and NSF-approved for food and beverage contact.

 

Performance Properties

  • Excellent toughness and impact strength
  • Meets OSU 65/65 and FAR 25.853 (a & d)
  • Color grades eliminate painting
  • Lower-cost paintable grades
  • Flame retardant – Inherently UL-94 V0
  • Exceptional long-term hydrolytic stability

 

Setting the Standard for Aerospace Precision Plastic Machining

Standards in the Aerospace and Defense sector are rigorous and non-negotiable. Aviation contractors put the greatest pressure on finding manufacturers who exceed the standards of the industry.

 

At AIP, we make it our priority to set the standard for aerospace precision plastic machining. For over three decades, we have worked with top aviation and defense contractors to deliver cutting-edge plastic components.

 

We operate an ITAR facility capable of satisfying all customer DOD, NASA, and FAA quality requirements that flow down from our OEM customers. For your next precision machined PPSU project, call on AIP to exceed the standards for mission-critical aerospace applications.

 

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What is orbital reconstruction?

Orbital trauma (trauma to the facial bone structure) can happen due to injuries, benign and malignant tumors, or infectious diseases. In the case of tumors where bone extraction may be necessary, replacing the bone in the orbital region does not usually cause deformity. However, in cases where significant bony material is lost or extracted, surgeons have typically used bone grafting to restore facial form and normality.

 

Yet, bone grafting presents its own issues with misalignment. Medical research has turned to materials such as titanium and precision plastics like PEEK. In this insightful brief, we discuss the advantages of PEEK for maxillofacial surgical procedures.

 

Challenges of maxillofacial surgery

 

There are issues with bone grafting though, namely imperfect alignment and resorption. The slight variability in the three-dimensional (3D) contour of the orbit with flat or slightly curved bone grafts can have a significant aesthetic effect on the outcome.

 

For a patient who has suffered trauma, coming out of surgery without the aesthetics of their face is emotionally devastating. For surgeons committed to providing the highest level of medical treatment, bone grafting is not always the best option.

 

In these cases of orbital reconstruction, it’s common for surgeons to use alloplasty, or inert pieces of metal and plastic for reconstruction. Traditional materials for alloplastic have been titanium plates or mesh. However, challenges associated with these materials include proper fixation and revision surgery complications due to soft tissue ingrowth.

 

 

Why PEEK is changing the face of this industry

 

 

With advancements in 3D printing and subtractive manufacturing techniques in precision polymers, patient-specific implants (PSIs) have been successfully reported in facial reconstruction. More recently, polyetheretherketone (PEEK) is a polymer with ideal alloplastic properties: nonconductive, biocompatible, and stable in the setting of long-term exposure to bodily fluids, elasticity is similar to native cortical bone, and light material makes it suitable for even large defects. As medical technologies continue to advance, PEEK has become a popular pick for PSIs.

 

A case study in PEEK implants

One of the setbacks of titanium and metallic implants is that the manufacturing process takes time. In the case of PEEK implants, subtractive manufacturing offers convenient and quick milling precision at 0.4 mm thickness. The design freedom with PEEK is also much easier to produce than with metallic implants.

 

In addition, PEEK offers excellent imaging properties without artifact blockage, and it is most comparable to cortical bone. Recent research has shown that PEEK is an optimal choice for patients and surgeons with regard to revision surgery as well.

 

In a PEEK PSI group, diplopia after surgery was absent in 82.1% of patients versus 70.6% of controls with pre-bent titanium. These results showed that PEEK PSI demonstrated higher clinical efficacy in comparison to pre-bent plates in orbital wall reconstruction, especially in restoring the volume and shape of the damaged orbit.

 

Comparison to Metallic Surgical Materials

The most commonly used surgical material for orbital reconstruction is titanium. Its strength and flexibility set it apart as a material that lends itself well to meld to complex facial structures. However, Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) presents a major benefit as a material pick for its thermostability and comparability to cortical bone. We’ve mapped out a comparison of these common surgical materials below.

 

Additive Manufacturing Titanium

3-D manufactured titanium produces surfaces without tools or devices. It also enables options for surface design and intricacies that were previously impossible. In addition, additive manufactured titanium implants are so precise they don’t require reshaping processes.

Advantages
• Wide selection of shapes, structures, and styles
• Precise fitting accuracy
• Exceptionally stability
• Osteoconductive structures are possible
• Complete design freedom for the material and its surface
• Quick operation
• Steam sterilization

Limitations
• Additional material work is required for revision surgeries
• Intraoperative cutting to length is exceptionally difficult

 

Titanium Mesh

The special microstructure of titanium mesh allows it to be used in three-dimensional deep draw applications. A thermal process helps maintain the closed structure, which means that this material is both stable and intact while still offering excellent biocompatibility with bone apposition potential.

Advantages
• Very good biocompatibility, potential for vascularization
• Good mechanical properties
• Ease of manufacturing and cutting to size
• Bone cell apposition potential
• Relatively low price level
• No other plates required for fixation
• Steam sterilization (autoclavable)

Limitations
• No three-dimensional bone substitute
• Need for tools

 

Solid Titanium

Solid titanium is a high-strength reconstruction alternative to titanium mesh. Even though it has been widely supplanted by titanium mesh in recent years, it offers several advantages in specific fields of use, such as in relation to the mechanical protective function.

Advantages
• Best mechanical protective function
• High-strength reconstruction alternative
• No plates required for fixation
• Steam sterilization

Limitations
• Increased thermal conductivity
• Post-operative bending is not possible
• Post-operative cutting to size is not possible

 

PEEK

PEEK is a high-performing thermostable plastic. Its physical properties are similar to the cortical bone’s in humans, making PEEK the most frequently used in orthopedics. PEEK implants can be manufactured to be completely solid or contain holes.

Advantages
• Highly elastic, yet very strong and impact resistant at the same time
• Optimal protective function for patients
• No increase in thermal sensitivity
• Low weight
• Resistant to gamma radiation and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
• Low artifact formation in X-rays
• Three-dimensional bone replacement
• Steam sterilization

Limitations
• Only conditional cell apposition potential
• Intraoperative adjustment or cutting to size is only possible with additional effort
• Requires further plates for fixation

 

Unrivaled Expertise in Medical-grade PEEK Devices

Machining complex medical parts and devices takes more than precision. It takes unrivaled expertise. The medical industry is fast-paced and cutting-edge with technology challenges. Precision plastics like PEEK implants play a key role in meeting the demands of the industry.

 

PEEK and other precision plastics are highly sought after for their radiolucency, biocompatibility, and sanitation. Time is of the essence in healthcare, especially with traumas like orbital reconstruction. These types of surgery demand a quick turnaround on design and manufacturing to lessen surgical downtime.

 

At AIP, we make it our priority to set the highest standards of quality and sanitation for our customers in the healthcare industry. Quality assurance is an integral part of our process and we address it at every step of your project from beginning to end.

 

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Celazole® U-Series and Duratron® PBI Take the Heat in Any Extreme Application

Every medical innovation begins with design and manufacturing. Before a small spinal implant goes to the patient, it must meet strict universal industry standards for safety, handling, and product consistency. Afterall, a failure in a medical device can have serious repercussions for not only the health and safety of end users, but also loss of credibility and resources for a manufacturer.

 

That’s why medical device OEMs demand that machining facilities follow the ISO 13485 standard for medical device manufacturing.

 

In this informative brief, we take a deeper look at the benefits of this essential certification and how a precision machining facility can get certified.

 

The Benefits of having an ISO 13485 Certification

PBI has the highest mechanical properties of any polymer over 400°F (204°C). Compared to other performance polymers like Torlon® or PEEK®, it has the highest heat deflection temperature (HDT) at 800°F (427°C), with a continuous service capability of 750°F (399°C) in inert environments, or 650°F (343°C) in the air with short term exposure potential to 1,000°F (538°C).

 

 

Wear-Resistant Performance

Celazole® U-60 is an unfilled polymer suitable for injection molding or CNC machining into precision parts. When it comes to wear and abrasion, PBI has the highest compressive strength of all plastics. Its compressive strength is 57 kpsi and, its modulus strength reaches 850 kpsi compared to grades of Torlon® that start at 440 kpsi.

 

Celazole® can handle high loads at any speed and outperforms wear-grade PAI, PI, and PEEK® under similar conditions. Without additional lubrication, it runs 40-50F cooler than the competition.

 

PBI Grades

PBI comes in grades that can be extruded or melt processed, but in this brief we are covering grades of PBI that are CNC machined.

 

Duratron® PBI
Duratron® CU60 PBI is the highest-performance engineering thermoplastic available on the market. It has the highest heat resistance and mechanical property retention over 400°F of any unfilled plastic. It also offers better wear resistance and load-carrying capabilities at extreme temperatures than any other reinforced or unreinforced engineering plastic.

 

Although it is an unreinforced material, Duratron® CU60 PBI is very “clean” in terms of ionic impurity, and it does not outgas (except when in contact with water). These properties make this material very attractive to semiconductor manufacturers for vacuum chamber applications.

 

Other properties of Duratron® CU60 PBI include excellent ultrasonic transparency. This makes it a strong choice for delicate parts, like probe tip lenses in ultrasonic measuring equipment.

 

Duratron® PBI also serves very well as a thermal insulator. Other plastics melt and do not stick to it. For these reasons, it’s an ideal polymer for contact seals and insulator bushings in plastic production and molding equipment.

 

Celazole® PBI U-Series (U-60)
Celazole® U-Series has superior polymer strength with thermal stability. By itself, PBI can operate at continuous temperatures up to 1,004°F (540°C). As a resin incorporated into plastics, PBI features high heat and chemical resistance and good fatigue resistance, compressive strength, wear resistance, and electrical insulation.

 

Components made from Celazole® U-Series polymer perform well under conditions too severe for most plastics and outperform other materials like polyamide-imide (PAI) and polyetheretherketone (PEEK®) in many extreme environments.

 

Celazole® U-60 is an unfilled PBI polymer suitable for compression molding. It is often molded and machined into precision parts for industrial, chemical and petrochemical industries; aerospace, glass making, and liquid crystal display (LCD) panel manufacture.

 

 

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A Universal Standard of Safety and Quality

Every medical innovation begins with design and manufacturing. Before a small spinal implant goes to the patient, it must meet strict universal industry standards for safety, handling, and product consistency. Afterall, a failure in a medical device can have serious repercussions for not only the health and safety of end users, but also loss of credibility and resources for a manufacturer.

 

That’s why medical device OEMs demand that machining facilities follow the ISO 13485 standard for medical device manufacturing.

 

In this informative brief, we take a deeper look at the benefits of this essential certification and how a precision machining facility can get certified.

 

The Benefits of having an ISO 13485 Certification

Global Standard

The ISO 13485 international standard is the world’s most widely used means of measuring the effectiveness of a medical device manufacturer’s quality management system (QMS). While different countries may have different standards for measuring quality and effectiveness, ISO 13485 provides a globally harmonized model of QMS requirements for international markets.

 

 

Quality Assurance

When it comes to machining for the Medical, Healthcare, and Life Sciences sector, true culture of quality and consistency in manufacturing techniques are paramount. An ISO 13485 certification ensures that machining processes, product handling, storage, and shipping are all accounted for in a facility’s processes. 

 

 

Requirement for Business 

Most medical device OEMs require compliance with ISO 13485, including all European Union members, Canada, Japan, Australia, and more (165 member countries in total). Therefore, precision manufacturers that want to serve the Medical sector must show proof of and adherence to ISO 13485 guidance. 

 

 

Works at the Federal & Civil Enterprise Level

The FDA recently proposed aligning current Quality management system regulations with ISO 13485. This means that at the federal and civil enterprise level, ISO 13485 would satisfy standards for quality, consistency, risk management, and in medical device manufacturing.

 

 

How to get ISO 13485 certified

The International Standardization Organization establishes and maintains standards, but it is not an enforcement agency. Certification for ISO 13485 is evaluated by third party agencies. The first step is establishing a QMS that is in alignment with the guidance. Then, an independent certification body audits the performance of the QMS against the latest version of the ISO 13485 requirements. The agency must be part of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and employ the relevant certification standards established by ISO’s Committee on Conformity Assessment (CASCO). Once an organization passes the ISO 13485 audit, they are issued a certificate that is valid for three years. Manufacturers must undergo a yearly surveillance audit and be recertified every three years. 

 

Here’s what the ISO 13485 certification will asses: 

  • Promotion and awareness of regulatory requirements as a management responsibility.
  • Controls in the work environment to ensure product safety
  • Focus on risk management activities and design control activities during product development
  • Specific requirements for inspection and traceability for implantable devices
  • Specific requirements for documentation and validation of processes for sterile medical devices
  • Specific requirements for verification of the effectiveness of corrective and preventive actions
  • Specific requirements for cleanliness of products

 

Unrivaled Expertise in Precision Medical Plastics

Performance plastics play a huge role in medical device composition. Whether it’s hip replacement or a PEEK spinal implant, these life-saving technologies require durability, cleanliness, and high temperature and moisture resistance. This is no simple process…it’s precise. 

 

That’s where AIP, global leader in Precision Plastics Machining, provides unrivaled expertise in medical machining practices. For over three decades, we’ve served the medical community providing custom designed thermoplastic components for surgical devices, orthopedic equipment, and performance PEEK implants. 

 

We take quality management seriously because we know that performance is only half the equation for medical device manufacturing. For these reasons, we are an ISO 13485 certified facility and FDA compliant. We have been successfully audited by some of the most stringent OEMs in the orthopedic and medical device industries. Our plastics are processed with strict hygienic procedures to ensure innovative medical advancements continue striding forward. Let our team go to work for you! 

 

Find out more by visiting https://aipprecision.com or call us at +1 386.274.5335.

 

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When the Heat Is on, These High-Temperature Plastics Perform Under Pressure

Vespel®, Torlon® and, polyimide-based plastics are all part of a class of materials known as high-performance plastics. These plastics are characterized by their excellent mechanical and thermal properties, as well as their resistance to chemical attack.

 

Vespel® is a registered trademark of DuPont, and their material is often used in applications where extremely high temperatures are involved. Torlon® is a registered trademark of Solvay Advanced Polymers; it’s often used in electrical applications due to its excellent dielectric properties.

 

While these polymers each perform well under pressure and high temperatures, they have slight differences that set them apart. It’s important to know these distinctions when planning out the material selection for a performance plastic. In this informational brief, we’re covering all the nuances between Vespel® and Torlon® down to the molecular level.

 

Features and Capabilities

Both Vespel® (PI) and Torlon® (PAI) are considered high-performance thermoplastics and share similar capabilities. However, there are slight differences in chemical makeup at a molecular level.

For instance, Polyimides are performance polymers containing imide group (-CO-N-OC-) in their repeating units. The polymer chains are either an open chain or closed chain. On the other hand, Polyamides all consist of amide (-CONH-) linkages in their polymer backbone. The amide group is classified as a polar group, which allows polyamides to build hydrogen bonds between chains. By doing this, they improve the interchain attraction.

These slight differences in the chemical makeup enhance various properties of Polyamide-imide over Polyimide and vice versa. The following chart displays the strengths and weaknesses of these two materials.

 

Strengths Weaknesses
 

Vespel® (PI)

·         Thermal stability

·         Excellent chemical resistance

·         Dielectric strength

·         Mechanical toughness

·         Superior temperature adaptability

·         Excellent tensile and compressive strength

·         Transparency in many microwave applications

·         Radiation resistance

·         Superior bearing and wear properties

·         High manufacturing cost

·         High-temperature requirement in the processing stage

·         Specified operating processes such as annealing operations at specified temperatures

·         Sensitive to alkali and acid attacks

 

Torlon® (PAI)

·         Excellent Chemical Resistance

·         Excellent Stress Resistance

·         Excellent Thermal Resistance

·         Excellent Wear Resistance

·         High Stiffness

·         High Strength

·         Higher moisture absorption rate than other performance plastics

·         High manufacturing cost

·         Narrow processing window when temperatures exceed 600°F

·         Melt viscosity that is highly sensitive to temperature and shear rate

·         Thermal cure for 20 or more days at 500 F to optimize properties after melt processing

 

 

 

Applications of Vespel® and Torlon®

Vespel® and Torlon® both maintain stability and functionality under high temperatures and pressures. For this reason, they are often found in applications with harsh, demanding environments, including:

  • energy
  • automotive
  • aerospace
  • and military & defense

 

Does one material perform better than another in certain cases? Let’s take a look.

 

Vespel®: An all-around performer

Polyimides like Vespel® are often used in electrical insulation, aerospace components, and high-temperature bearings. Unlike most plastics, Vespel® Resin does not produce significant outgassing (even at high temperatures). This makes it useful for lightweight heat shields and crucible support. It also performs well in vacuum applications and extremely low cryogenic temperatures. Although there are polymers that surpass individual properties of this polyimide, the combination of these factors is Vespel’s® primary advantage.

 

Torlon®: Bring on the heat

On the other hand, Torlon® is a polyamide-imide with even better mechanical and thermal properties than Vespel®. It is often used in pump housings, valves, and chemical-resistant seals. PAI comes in several grades, including TORLON® 4203 (electrical and high strength), TORLON® 4301 (general purpose wear), TORLON® 4XG (glass-reinforced), and TORLON® 4XCF (carbon-reinforced).

 

Takeaway: Both Vespel® and Torlon® are widely used in industries that require reliable performance under extreme conditions. It’s important to consider the environment, especially for Torlon®, as it has a higher moisture absorption than other performance plastics.

 

Vespel® polyimide Torlon® polyamide-imide
·         Aerospace Applications

·         Semiconductor Technology

·         Transportation Technology

·         Bearing Cages

·         High-Temperature Electrical Connectors

·         Structural Parts

·         Valve Seats

·         Wear Rings

 

 

 

CNC Machining Vespel® vs Torlon®

Let’s talk about processing and machining. While Vespel® and Torlon® can be injection molded, extruded, or CNC machined, we’re going to focus on the protocols for subtractive CNC machining.

 

Annealing

As with any performance plastic, annealing preps the material and ensures that it will not crack or craze in the future. AIP Precision Machining has programmed annealing ovens for plastics that heat the material above its recrystallization temperature. By maintaining the heat at that specific point, the structure of the material changes to become finer and more uniform. This process relieves internal stresses in the material. Both Vespel® and Torlon® require specific temperatures and cool-down time after annealing. This is why AIP uses computer-controlled annealing ovens for the best outcome.

 

Machining

Vespel®

Vespel® can be machined using conventional CNC methods. However, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to achieve the best results.

 

First, Vespel® has a relatively low coefficient of thermal expansion (CLTE), meaning it will expand and contract differently than most metals. This can cause tooling and fixtures to loosen over time, so it’s important to check them regularly.

 

Second, Vespel® is a very hard material that can wear down tools quickly. Use sharp cutting tools made of carbide and take light cuts in order to avoid premature tool wear.

 

→ [READ NOW] Machining Vespel: A Plastics Guide

 

Torlon®  

Torlon® is one of the most difficult materials to machine due to its extremely high hardness and wear resistance. In order to machine Torlon® or any polyamide-imide, it is necessary to use a CNC machining center with special tooling and cutting parameters. The cutting tools must be made of extremely hard materials such as carbide or diamond, and the cutting parameters must be carefully optimized to prevent tool wear. With the proper tools and techniques, Torlon® can be machined into parts with very tight tolerances and smooth finishes.

 

→ [READ NOW] Machining Torlon: A Plastics Guide

 

Torlon® or Vespel®? Ask the experts at AIP

Are you looking for a performance material that works continuously under pressure and heat? Not sure if Torlon® or Vespel® is the right material for your project? Our team of engineers and machinists are skilled craftsmen in reviewing your project parameters and design needs. We will ensure that every facet of your project is taken into consideration and work with you to define the best material for your project needs and budget.

 

We pride ourselves on our industry knowledge and partnerships with leading suppliers of top materials: Vespel® SP, Vespel® SCP products, and a variety of Torlon® grades. Contact an AIP engineer today, and we will be happy to help with your unique project.

 

Get a quote on Torlon® and Vespel®

 

 

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Push the Boundaries of High Performance and Sustainability With Precision Polyimides

When it comes to choosing a polymer for critical applications, there is no room for compromise. You need a material that can withstand the most challenging conditions while still providing the performance you need. For extreme environments, there is no better choice than DuPont’s Vespel® polyimide.

This unique polymer has been proven to exceed the performance of other materials in demanding applications, making it an essential component for mission-critical systems. With its exceptional strength and thermal stability, polyimide is ideal for use in aerospace and automotive engineering. So if you’re looking for a polymer that can handle anything, look no further than Vespel® polyimide.

 

Vespel® Works Overtime in Harsh, Demanding Environments

 

Image Source: Alan Turing Institute

 

Polyimide or Vespel® is a high-performance polymer made to withstand extreme environments where continuous friction and vast temperature variations are the norms. It’s most commonly found in engine components for the automotive and aerospace industries, as well as bushings and seals in industrial and energy applications. These mission-critical parts might come as small pieces, but they make a significant difference in weight, stability, and material longevity. Let’s take a closer look at how Vespel® benefits the Aerospace and Defense industry.

 

Aerospace applications of PI include:

  • compressors
  • fans
  • externals
  • nacelles
  • and engine oil system seals

 

The engine of an aircraft, whether for military or commercial use, is the most essential part of the plane. Keeping an aircraft in the sky and ensuring it reaches its destination is more than mission-critical; it’s non-negotiable. Vespel® meets the challenges of these environments, providing engineers with an innovative material advantage.

 

Vespel® Features and Benefits

Vespel® thrives in some of the most punishing environments like aircraft engines or gas-fired turbines. Here, we explore the top three features and benefits of Vespel®:

 

Feature Benefit
Vespel® is a lightweight alternative to metal. It offers a high tensile (8,750 psi) and flexural (16,000 psi) strength at one-half the weight of metal. Save weight – Vespel® offers astounding weight-saving benefits for aircraft by replacing metal or aluminum parts that add unnecessary weight.
Continuous service temperature – cryogenic temperatures to 260°C (500°F). Resist wear – With high temperatures, high speeds, and constant environmental fluctuations, Vespel® is a top choice for impact resistance and material preservation. It’s often found on bushings, fan blade root wear strips, as well as custom bumpers and pads.
Lower friction versus metal with a dynamic coefficient of 0.2 or less. Minimize friction losses – Components such as bushings need to withstand impact, cantilever loading, and accommodate designs with tight fits. Vespel slows part degradation and improves overall aircraft operability.

 

How Vespel® Compares to Other High-Performance Plastics

Vespel® is a high-performance plastic that is used in a variety of applications where strength, stability, and resistance to extreme temperatures are required. How does it stack up to other performance plastics like PEEK (Polyetheretherketone) and PEI (Polyethylenimine)?

Image Source: Performance Plastics Chart

 

When it comes to precision plastics, PEEK and PEI hold their own as exceptional engineering plastics. PEEK is often used in the medical field as a material for bone implants. PEI is most commonly used in high voltage electrical insulation applications due to its high dielectric strength. In comparison to PEEK and PEI, Vespel® has superior mechanical strength and flexibility.

 

Additionally, Vespel® is resistant to a wide range of chemicals, making it an ideal material for use in harsh environments. While Vespel® has many advantages over other high-performance plastics, it remains more expensive than these materials due to its complex manufacturing process.

 

Why Choose AIP for Your Vespel® Project?

When you’re working with a material like Vespel®, there is no margin for error. That’s why choosing a machining shop includes how they handle the material and how they handle your project from concept to completion.

 

38 Years of Precision Plastics Expertise

At AIP Precision Machining, we have over 38 years of experience in precision thermoplastics. Unlike other shops that may machine metals or other materials alongside plastics, our shop is 100% dedicated to plastics machining. It makes a difference in quality at the end of the day, as you can be assured that your machined parts will not deteriorate or crack from exposure to metal machining fluids.

 

Quality Assurance From Beginning to End

From start to finish, we take quality and compliance seriously. AIP is certified and adheres to the following regulations and standards:

  • ITAR
  • AS9100:2016
  • FDA Registered
  • ISO 13485.

 

Partnering With Leading Industry Suppliers

We have close ties with leading plastics manufacturers to give us even further insight and access to technical help in material selection, sizing, and machining protocols.

 

Through these partnerships, we offer a variety of materials available for expert machining services, including:

  • Vespel® SP and Vespel® SCP products
  • Ultem®
  • Ertalyte®
  • Radel®
  • Torlon®
  • Delrin®
  • and more

 

Unrivaled Expertise. Unparalleled Results

If you are interested in a quote for machined Vespel® or want a consultation for your precision project, give our team a call at (386) 274-5335 or click here. No matter how unique or complex your project may be, we are here to provide unrivaled expertise and guidance.

Find your next aerospace material for your mission-critical application.

 

 

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Here’s Why PEEK Is Kicking Metal to the Curb in Performance Engineering Applications

In the thermoplastic industry, there are a few materials that reign supreme. Among these, PEEK (polyetheretherketone) is king. This polymer has several advantages over traditional metal fabrication.

 

In this PEEK guide, we’re exploring why high-performance thermoplastic PEEK is kicking metal to the curb. PEEK has the strength and durability of metal, but at a fraction of the weight and resists chemicals and hydrolysis. It’s these qualities that allow PEEK polymers to replace metals in precision engineered components.

 

Industries That Benefit From PEEK Versus Metals

Let’s take a look at how PEEK improves performance and functionality in some leading mission-critical industries.

 

Aerospace and Defense

The aerospace and defense sector often replaces aluminum parts in favor of PEEK for weight reduction and its tolerance to high temperatures. The benefits include fuel reduction and longer part lifespan. PEEK is also a safer material to use, since its low conductivity allows for lower heat build-up.

Another strength of PEEK over metals is inherent to all plastics. PEEK has exceptional thermal and electrical insulative properties, which comes in handy with equipment designed to undergo extreme stress. Thermal insulation ensures the pieces won’t melt or damage neighboring equipment, much in the same way electrical insulation will stop damaging currents of electricity from harming critical systems on the plane.

 

Medical and Life Sciences

Material choice and design functionality make a vast difference for surgical instrumentation in the medical field. As a chemically inert thermoplastic, PEEK wins over metal in areas where chemicals may be present. Furthermore, PEEK offers radiolucency for scanning machines that need to produce clear readings of the interior of the body. Metals often muddle or interfere with the imaging.

PEEK has passed all ISO 10993 biocompatibility tests for both short and long-term implants. However, because PEEK is so durable, it’s generally only recommended for long-term implants.

 

Oil and Gas

With excellent resistance to abrasion, chemicals, and hydrolysis, PEEK thrives in tough environments, such as offshore oil rigs. The equipment in the oil and gas industry is placed deep underground where conditions, chemical reactions, and forces are unpredictable. PEEK is a common material for seals and valve plates to ensure a fail-safe environment.

 

Precision Devices

The use of PEEK in precision devices is not just for its elevated level of structural rigidity but also because it provides electrical insulation. Connector covers and transducer cases are made from this material to avoid interference with signals passing through the wires within a device. Since this industry engineers streamlined lighter designs, PEEK is an ideal choice for weight reduction.

 

Weight Reduction

 

 

One of the leading reasons for choosing PEEK over metallic competitors like aluminum or titanium is its lightweight properties. This has opened the door to many engineering material innovations.

 

One area, in particular, is aerospace and defense. Using PEEK over metals can cut fuel usage and create weight savings of up to 60 percent. This translates to lower annual fuel costs, reduced emissions, lower carbon footprints, and extended flight ranges.

 

Enhanced Performance

Polyetheretherketone PEEK provides performance-enhanced products by extending service life and resistance to corrosion with a lower coefficient of friction. In dynamic applications such as bearings or seals, this tough plastic can increase load capacity while also operating at temperatures of up to 480°F. This translates to fewer instances of maintenance and a longer overall performance from the system as a whole.

 

Design Freedom

One of the greatest strengths of thermoplastics is their contribution to design processes. PEEK can be CNC machined, injection molded, and even 3D printed. This type of versatility enables greater design freedom for complex engineering and custom geometries. Thermoplastic PEEK versus metals can be machined to specific tolerances as low as 0.002mm with the right machining shop.

 

High Purity

 

 

The medical sector demands nothing less than complete purity from materials, especially in the case of orthopedic implants, for instance. Metallosis is a real concern for metal implants as they can leach into the body. PEEK ,including Glass-Filled, PEEK-HT (High Temperature), and PEEK-UHP (Ultra-High Purity) are all desirable alternatives for metal applications in food processing, biomedical, and semiconductors.

 

Total Lower System Cost

When it comes to individual material costs, PEEK can range from 20 to 30 times the cost of some metals like stainless steel. Yet, the stand-alone cost cannot be the main factor in high-performance design decisions. Engineers look at the big picture in the long run of material value.

With the overall improvement in material performance, longevity, weight reduction, and purity factors, PEEK significantly decreases the cost of a total system. This is why it’s a popular material choice for high-performance engineering components.

 

The Global Leader for Performance PEEK Components

Precision and performance are what we strive for at AIP Precision Machining. With decades of experience in the industry, our dedicated craftsmen and close ties with leading plastic manufacturers allow us to provide unrivaled knowledge and consulting services in material selection, sizing, manufacturing techniques, and more to best meet your project’s needs.

If you are looking to use PEEK for your precision project, reach out to our team for a consultation. We are here to help solve your plastics puzzle and provide technical expertise and diligent craftsmanship from concept to completion.

 

Thinking about PEEK for your precision project?

Discover what this polymer can do

 

 

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Not just a standard…THE standard

 

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AS9100 is a company level certification based on the ISO 9001 quality standard requirements, but with additional requirements based on the needs of the aerospace industry. These satisfy both ISO 9001 quality standards and DOD, NASA and FAA requirements.

Companies in the business of manufacturing parts and components for both federal and civil enterprises in the aerospace sector are required to provide the highest level of quality assurance for their manufacturing techniques. Why? A single malfunctioning part on an aircraft could have a devastating impact on the entire apparatus. Not only is it dangerous for operation, but maintenance for an unknown malfunction is costly in time, budget, and resources.

That’s why the Aerospace and Defense industry has developed a strict quality management process for manufacturers to follow known as AS9100D. Here’s why it’s essential for precision plastics manufacturers to have an AS9100D certification.

 

Benefits of AS9100D Certification for Aerospace Machining Standards

 

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Global Standard

An AS9100D certification is internationally recognized around the world, but with different numbering conventions. The International Standards Organization equivalent is ISO 9001. Major aerospace manufacturers and suppliers worldwide require compliance and/or registration to AS9100 as a condition of doing business with them.

Quality Assurance

When it comes to machining for the Aerospace and Defense sector, quality and consistency in manufacturing techniques are paramount. An AS9100D certification ensures that machining processes, product handling, storage, and shipping are all accounted for in a facility’s processes.

Requirement for Business

Material suppliers that wish to serve the Aviation, Space and Defense (AS&D) industry must attain this certification to prove the high level of competence required by the industry.

Works at the Federal & Civil Enterprise Level

The guidance recommended by AS9100D satisfies standards for NASA, DOD, and FAA. Whether a manufacturer is working with a federal-level defense contractor or a commercial jet line, an AS9100D certification shows commitment to quality processes around manufacturing aerospace parts.

 

How to get AS9100D certified

Certifying your machining processes are safe and consistent is a requirement for doing business in the Aerospace and Defense sector. In order to get an AS9100D certification, a company must prove its ability to remeasure and reassess a product during the construction phase, ensuring uniformity among mass-produced items. The certification does not focus on product quality, but product consistency in the end result. Here are a few areas to pay attention to if seeking the certification for manufacturing aerospace materials:

  • Emphasis on Risk Management
  • Attention to “Special Requirements”
  • Attention to “Critical Items”
  • Measure: Requirements conformance
  • Measure: Delivery performance
  • Adopt Proven Product Development Processes
  • Eliminate “recurring corrective actions”

 

 

Expert Aerospace Machining for Aircraft Plastic and Composite Parts

Jet fighters, satellites, and in particular spaceships need the highest level of precision engineering to accomplish their goals. To that end, machining plastic components to these exacting standards isn’t easy…it’s precise. At AIP, we’ve been working in precision plastics machining for over three decades. Our projects include major aerospace companies like Lockheed Martin and GE, all demanding the highest level of risk assessment and quality management throughout the entire machining process.

To that end, we are setting the standard for Aerospace and Defense plastic machining. In aerospace and defense applications, adherence to stringent industry specifications is something AIP takes seriously. AIP is a certified and registered ITAR facility and AS9100D certified. We are capable of satisfying all customer DOD, NASA and FAA quality requirements recommended by our OEM customers. We understand the need for lot and batch traceability, as well as materials that can survive extreme operating environments.

Every product we develop is made from carefully selected materials for your specific application and needs. Our high-performance thermoplastics and compounds made for the aerospace and defense industry feature:

  • Chemical resistance
  • Conductive or insulative properties
  • Corrosion protection
  • Extreme Precision tolerance (up to 0.002 mm)
  • Finished smooth surface
  • High-temperature resistance (exceeding 750 F, 400C)
  • Lightweight
  • No stress-induced distortion
  • Radar absorption

Want to contact us about aerospace manufacturing?

Get in touch with us online, or see our  AD9100D:2016 certification.

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What Is an AS9100 Certification?

 

Developed by the International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG), the AS9100 is an international quality management certification. Material suppliers that wish to serve the Aviation, Space and Defense (AS&D) industry must attain this certification to prove the high level of competence required by the industry. AS9100 applies to both military and civil businesses.

 

The standard is accepted worldwide, with different parts of the world having their own numbering systems, but crucially, they all prove the same level of competence. Whether a company is made up of thousands of individuals or just one person, it will require the AS9100 to provide supplies to the aerospace industry.

 

However, just because a company could theoretically consist of one person doesn’t mean the certification is attained on an individual level. The AS9100 is a company-wide certification, meaning that it can only be acquired and applied to a company. So, if Darrel is the sole owner and employee of ABCD Inc. and earns the certification, Darrel isn’t certified, ABCD Inc. is.

 

Becoming AS9100 certified also means earning an ISO 9001 certification along the way. The reason is that the AS9100 is an extension of the ISO 9001 with an additional focus on aerospace regulations. So, companies that achieve an AS9100 will be qualified in multiple quality management systems.

 

Finally, the AS9100 certification is not a standard of product quality. Rather, it’s a standard of the processes taken to ensure a quality, consistent product. To attain the certification, a company must prove its ability to remeasure and reassess a product during the construction phase, ensuring uniformity among mass-produced items. The certificate may not focus on product quality, but the end result is the same.

 

Why Must a Plastics Machining Facility Be AS9100 Certified?
 

 
The quick and easy answer is that the certification is required by many aerospace manufacturers. If a plastics machining facility wishes to do business in this industry, attaining the certificate is an entry-level requirement.

 

The longer answer is that several large aerospace entities endorse the certification. Some of these groups include the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). To become an official supplier to any of these entities, a plastics machining facility Must have the certification.

 

But why do these institutions require the certification? Jet fighters, satellites, and especially spaceships need the highest level of precision engineering to accomplish their tasks; creating plastic components to such exacting standards isn’t easy. So, every stage of the creation process, all the way down to the small plastic materials, must go through a strenuous quality management system to ensure a low-risk management level for the final product.

 

What About AIP Precision Machining Allows Us to Achieve an AS9100 Certification?

 

 
We’ve made it no secret that precision machining is vital to who we are as a company. So much so that we’ve put it in our name! With AIP Precision Machining, you’re investing in a partner that not only understands the needs of the industry but has the decades of experience needed to perfect the processes that go into creating the perfect components.

 

With the regulatory requirements being as stringent as they are, there is no room for the kind of mistakes human factors tend to introduce to the manufacturing process. That’s why we involve several quality control checks in line with AS9100’s requirements during the creation process to guarantee the level of service quality expected from us.

 

We’ve satisfied several aerospace and defense industry requirements in the past, so we know the kind of qualities these industries need in their components. Our highly trained engineers, machinists, and programmers have been specially trained to create components with the types of qualities aerospace and defense organizations look for:

 

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Extreme Temperature Resistance
  • And much more.

 

At AIP Precision Machining, product and service quality assurance is the norm for our customers and ourselves. We are proud to offer the aerospace industry our services in machining quality components. We have proven time and again that we are quick to deliver, cost-effective, and, more often than not, surpass customer satisfaction. Our safe and reliable products meet all statutory and regulatory requirements and are guaranteed to help see your project through to the end.

 

To contact us, call our main office at (386) 274-5335 or visit our website to schedule a consultation. With AIP, you have a manufacturing partner you can rely on.

   

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Few industries require precision and reliability as much as the medical industry. When lives are literally on the line, you can’t risk the chance of arming medical professionals with equipment that’s anything less than perfect.

 

There’s also the burden of choice to deal with. The medical device industry has seen plastics soaring in use due to their numerous benefits, but it’s those same qualities that can make them so frustrating to machine. Choosing the best possible polymer for your needs requires trained professionals that know the options like the back of their hands.

 

So who can you trust? The search for a high-quality polymer manufacturer begins and ends with AIP.

 

Plastic Components Machined to Perfection

 

We at AIP pride ourselves on the level of precision we can achieve when manufacturing polymers for the health care industry. We work at the highest levels state-of-the-art machinery will provide, allowing us to construct medical components within ten-thousandths of an inch precision. With quality checks completed after every stage of the development process, we can guarantee a quality product every time.

 

Reusable Medical Plastics

 

An unfortunate byproduct of increased plastics in the medical industry is the expanding weight of medical waste. As creators of polymer materials, we’re especially conscious of unnecessary waste, which is why our materials are built to last.

 

Our high-performance precision plastic parts offer the medical industry all the advantages of metal, along with the crucial ability to withstand repeated autoclave sterilization sessions. Furthermore, many of our polymers have a low coefficient of friction, making the steaming process faster, and putting them back in the hands of medical professionals more efficiently.

 

Quality Assured

Precision and reliability go hand in hand, and we consider precision important enough to put it in our name. That’s why our materials are put through a quality check through every step of the creation process. But we go one step further than the competition.

 

Many polymer manufacturers double as metal producers, and they tend to create their products together in the same warehouse. The problem is that many of the ingredients used to treat metal are hazardous to the structural integrity of plastics. If they mix, the plastic’s lifespan falls to only a short few months before premature cracks begin to show.

 

We decided long ago that the risk to your product’s quality wasn’t worth it. Our main production facility specializes in polymers, removing the threat of metal contamination entirely from the equation. All our clients consider reliability vital, but when creating components for medical devices, there’s an increased ethical onus on us to build an exceptional product, and we respect that.

 

The Many Roles Medical Grade Plastics Must Fill

 

While there are several kinds of medical-grade polymers, the choices skyrocket when you consider that each has dozens of different grades suited to specific tasks. Crucially, they must all be safe for human contact, but some of the other qualities our polymers can satisfy are:

 

  • Radiolucency
  • Corrosion Protection
  • Extreme Tolerance (up to 0.002 mm)
  • High Dielectric Strength
  • Sterilization Compatibility
  • Lightweight Properties
  • Extreme Thermal Performance
  • Extreme Chemical Resistance
  • Extreme Low Friction

 

Our materials are relied upon in some of the most delicate medical applications. Surgical instruments, orthopedic equipment, even spinal and dental implants utilize our medical-grade plastic parts.

 

 

The Materials and Their Qualities

With each plastic boasting different strengths and weaknesses, you need to know which one will suit your needs the best. Some of our options include:

 

  • PEEK – One of the most diverse materials, thanks to its many different grades; it boasts high strength and excellent resistance to chemicals, steam, and abrasion. PEEK is frequently utilized in both medical implants and instruments.
  • PPSU (Polyphenylsulfone) – Extremely tough and able to withstand nearly unlimited sessions of steam autoclave sessions. PPSU is the perfect material to make reusable medical instruments with.
  • UHMW-PE (Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) – Significantly higher impact strength and abrasion resistance compared to most plastics on the market. Its low coefficient of friction due to its self-lubricating, non-stick surface makes it a great candidate for hip and knee joint replacement components

 

Ease of Access and the Cost-Efficient Choice

 

With Covid placing an incredible weight on material transportation, many metals and other materials have become difficult or simply too expensive to get a hold of. Polymers don’t suffer the same difficulties, as they can be readily manufactured anywhere in the world and remain cost-effective.

 

 

By utilizing more plastic materials in your medical equipment, you safeguard your business against strained supply lines and expensive materials, allowing you to keep your costs and your prices below the competition.

 

AIP Is Here for Your Medical Plastic Needs

 

AIP is registered with the FDA and ISO 13485:2016 certified. Our plastics are processed with the strictest hygienic procedures, and these quality assurance procedures ensure you’ll receive the exact materials you need for the job. We’re proud to be of service to health care providers by playing a part in the tools they use.

 

To contact us, call our main office at (386) 274-5335 or visit our website to schedule a consultation. With AIP, you have a manufacturing partner you can rely on.

   

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