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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PART SUMMARY:

 

One of the high-performance thermoplastics that AIP machines is Polyetherimide (PEI), known by its tradename ULTEM.  Due to its weight-saving properties, high chemical and hydrolysis resistance and tensile strength, ULTEM is popular across several industries: Automotive, aerospace and defense, electrical and electronic market, medical and life sciences and industrial applications and appliances.  Read on to learn about what this incredible polymer can do!

 

MATERIAL PROPERTIES:

 

Polyetherimide (PEI) is an amorphous thermoplastic.  Polyetherimide was developed to provide sufficient flexibility and good melt processability while maintaining excellent mechanical and thermal properties.

 

Key properties of ULTEM PEI include:

  • Handling at temperatures up to 340°F (171°C)
  • Heat Resistance
  • Flame Resistance
  • Chemical Resistance
  • High Rigidity
  • Highest Dielectric Strength
  • Hydrolysis Resistance
  • Low Thermal Conductivity

 

ULTEM Applications

As mentioned previously, ULTEM is a highly sought-after thermoplastic for weight-saving capabilities in aerospace components to reusable autoclave sterilizations in medical applications.  However, it’s most commonly used in high voltage electrical insulation applications.

 

Common uses include:

  • Analytical Instrumentation
  • Dielectric Properties Required
  • Electrical Insulators
  • High Strength Situations
  • Reusable Medical Devices
  • Semiconductor Process Components
  • Structural Components
  • Underwater Connector Bodies

 

So, what can this polymer do?  Let’s take a closer look at how ULTEM (PEI) is applied in the Aerospace & Defense, Medical & Life Sciences and Specialized Industrial markets:

 

WHAT CAN ULTEM DO FOR AEROSPACE & DEFENSE?

 

In the Aerospace & Defense Industry, ULTEM is often applied to aircraft components for weight reduction in place of metal parts.  Additionally, since it has a high thermal resistance rating, polymer components have the benefit of evading radar detection in military aircraft.

 

AIP machines ULTEM 1000 & ULTEM 2300

 

ULTEM 2300 is a 30 percent glass filled version of virgin ULTEM 1000.  The addition of glass increases ULTEM 1000’s dimensional stability by almost three times.

 

For over three decades, AIP has provided flight control, fuel system, interior, engine and aerodynamic-related ULTEM components for various aircraft OEM and MRO providers worldwide.  As this industry continues to expand, evolve and innovate, the demand for high-performance materials like ULTEM contribute significantly to streamlined operations.

 

WHAT CAN ULTEM DO FOR MEDICAL & LIFE SCIENCES?

 

In the Medical Industry, biocompatibility and sterilization are paramount to medical instruments and implants. ULTEM is often a popular choice in this sector due to its resistance to chemicals and lipids.  Polyetherimide also withstands dry heat sterilization at 356°F (180°C), ethylene oxide gas, gamma radiation and steam autoclave.

 

Some popular medical applications include disposable and re-usable medical devices and medical monitor probe housings.  These could be surgical instrument handles and enclosures or non-implant prostheses.  It gets extensive use in membrane applications due to its separation, permeance and biocompatible properties.

 

WHAT CAN ULTEM DO FOR SPECIALIZED INDUSTRIAL Sectors?

 

At AIP, we precision machine ULTEM for many specialized industrial applications as well: automotive, electrical and metal replacement, to name a few.  Despite the diversity of these industrial applications, we have the inventory and machining capabilities to provide solutions for any project specifications.

 

PEI is most often used in electrical and lighting systems in the automotive market for its high heat resistance, mechanical integrity and strength.  Principal automotive applications include: transmission parts, throttle bodies, ignition components, thermostat housings, bezels, reflectors, lamp sockets and electromechanical systems.

 

The electrical and electronic markets demand high heat resistant materials.  ULTEM is an excellent choice for applications such as electrical circuit boards, switches, connectors, electronic chips and capacitors.

 

As discussed previously, thermoplastics like ULTEM often replace metal parts in industrial applications.  For this reason, it’s often used in housewares, especially fluid handling systems.  Some of these applications are: HVAC equipment, microwave cookware, steam and curling irons, dual-ovenable trays for food packaging that meets FDA food packaging requirements.

 

What can AIP Precision Machining do for you?

 

From concept to completion, our team of engineers will work with you to realize the final product.  With some of the fastest lead times in the industry, our unrivaled technical experts we can tackle your polymer challenges.

 

What Can This Polymer Do? Supportive Information

 

Medical Sector Biomaterials Guide

Energy Sector Materials Guide

Aerospace Sector Materials Guide

Amorphous Materials

Aerospace Case Study: Weight-saving Polymers

 

 

CUSTOMIZED FOR YOUR APPLICATION

Schedule a Consultation.

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PART SUMMARY:

 

PEEK (PolyEtherEtherKetone) is a lightweight highly chemical resistant thermoplastic popular in the Aerospace & Defense and Medical & Life Sciences Industries.  From implants to custom medical devices or machined lightweight aircraft components, PEEK is ideal for a variety of specialized applications.

 

MATERIAL PROPERTIES:

 

PEEK is considered a semi-crystalline, high-performance thermoplastic. This gives it enough elasticity to be precision machined to various custom designs, with strong mechanical properties that provide resistance to fatigue and stress-cracking, as well as a good structure for bearing, wear and structural applications.

 

Key properties of PEEK include:

  • Handling at temperatures up to 480°F (250°C)
  • Abrasion Resistance
  • Chemical Resistance
  • High Ductility
  • High Elongation
  • Hydrolysis Resistance
  • Low Outgassing

 

What can this polymer do?

 

Due to its elasticity and resistance to chemicals, abrasion and hydrolysis, PEEK is a highly sought-after thermoplastic for both industrial-grade and medical-grade applications.

 

Common uses include:

  • Aerospace Weight Reduction Components
  • Dental Implants
  • Food and Beverage Automated Manufacturing Equipment
  • Food and Beverage Filling
  • Medical Implants
  • Medical Instruments
  • Metal Replacement
  • Processing Equipment
  • Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment
  • Vacuum Chamber Applications

 

So, what can this polymer do?  Let’s take a closer look at how it is applied in the Aerospace & Defense and Medical & Life Sciences industries:

 

AEROSPACE & DEFENSE

 

In 1978, ICI invented PEEK, a member Of the PAEK (polyaryletherketone) family of thermoplastic polymers.  It quickly gained recognition in the aerospace and defense industry for its weight-saving capabilities over metal alloys.  For example, Airbus used PEEK for a primary structural component in the door of the A350 XWB to improve quality and reduce weight and costs by 40 percent.  Over the next 15 years, industry professionals forecast that 41,000 new and replacement planes will be required.  Officials and engineers in the aerospace industry are looking for alternative high-performance thermoplastics like PEEK to meet this material demand.

 

Read more on PEEK’s impact in the aerospace and defense industry in our downloadable booklet below

 

As demand for stream-lined, innovative materials grows, we continue to serve and precision machine complex polymers for the aerospace and defense industries. For over three decades, we have provided flight control, fuel system, interior, engine and aerodynamic-related PEEK components for various aircraft OEM and MRO providers worldwide.

 

MEDICAL & LIFE SCIENCES

 

PEEK gained traction in the medical industry 20 years after the aerospace industry adopted it. In the late 1990s, Invibio Biomaterial Solutions commercialized a bio-compatible grade of PEEK (PEEK-OPTIMA). Ever since then, demand for medical grade PEEK devices has skyrocketed. From surgical instruments to spinal fusion implants, PEEK has a wide range of applications that only continues to expand in the medical industry.

 

Peek Neurosurgical Case Study

 

One such example of PEEK’s versatility is in neurosurgery for stroke and traumatic brain injuries.  Dr. Rohit Khanna partnered with AIP Precision Machining engineers to create a device that would expand without another operation, yet hold the “bone flap” and the rest of the skull together.

 

Problem

Dr. Rohit Khanna wanted to develop a device that would relieve swelling in the skull for patients undergoing brain surgery, which can lead to complications or even death.

 

Solution

The polymer of choice?  PEEK.  AIP’s engineers machined a medical component that was flexible, strong and sensitive enough to fulfill the necessary requirements for this critical medical part.  PEEK was also the best choice for this medical application because it was the most ductile and biocompatible.

 

medical tool built with peek polymer
 

Resolution

Currently, the FDA is processing the PEEK surgical piece for clearance to conduct clinical trials.  If it is approved to move forward, it can make leaps and bounds in reducing the need for multiple brain surgeries, saving more lives.

 

Get the full case study on PEEK

 

What can this polymer do?

From concept to completion, our team of engineers will work with you to realize the final product.  With some of the fastest lead times in the industry, our unrivaled technical experts we can tackle your polymer challenges.

 

What Can This Polymer Do? Supportive Information

PEEK VARIANTS

 

Download our “What Can This Polymer Do?” booklet.

We’ve put together our premier PEEK applications in a condensed booklet you can take with you.

Learn here.

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