Victrex and Tri-Mack Plastics Manufacturing Corporation have established a joint venture, TxV Aero Composites, to accelerate the commercial adoption of polyketone (PAEK*) composite applications within the aerospace industry, through the manufacture of parts utilising new and innovative processes. The multi-million dollar investment includes the establishment of a new US-based manufacturing facility.
The new company will be a total solutions provider for polyketone composites, from concept development through commercialisation.
“This is a hugely exciting opportunity to accelerate innovative and differentiated solutions for our customers in the aerospace industry,” explained David Hummel, chief executive of Victrex. “Victrex has an unrivalled history of making markets where polyketones have a strong advantage and this investment will enable growth opportunities for both our customers and for Victrex. Our Aerospace Loaded Brackets programme is a great example of how we can offer new forms and components, alongside supplying materials, and build a new supply chain to address the unmet needs of the Aerospace industry.”
By combining world-class expertise in materials, engineering, development and manufacturing, TxV Aero Composites will be able to address customer challenges with dedicated speed and focus. The intent is to offer a range of PAEK composites, from custom laminates to pre-formed composite inserts for hybrid moulding processes, as well as finished composite parts and complete over-moulded hybrid composite components and assemblies. These innovative products can deliver weight savings of up to 60% over conventional metallic solutions, and offer continuous manufacturing processes and cycle times measured in minutes versus hours for thermoset alternatives. One example is VICTREX AE™ 250 Composites, a new lower temperature processing PAEK-based composite product family that enables a unique hybrid mould¬ing process. This innovation combines the strength of continuously-reinforced thermoplastic composites with the design flexibility and proven performance of VICTREX™ PEEK injection moulding polymers.
Tri-Mack Plastics is a proven and long-standing partner of Victrex and has an excellent reputation for developing and manufacturing complex parts and assemblies for the Aerospace industry. TxV Aero Composites will establish a purpose-built polyketone composite centre of excellence in the USA, due to be completed in 2017.
Higher processing efficiencies to meet future demands of the industry
Commenting on the joint venture, Will Kain, President of Tri-Mack stated:
“With an estimated 35,000 new aircraft to be launched in the next 20 years, the aerospace industry is embracing thermoplastic composites as a cost-effective solution to support this growth. The efficient processing and performance advantages of PAEK thermoplastic composites combined with state-of-the-art automated manufacturing will position TxV Aero Composites to meet the industry’s cost and weight challenges.”
* PAEK, Polyaryletherketone, a family of high-performance thermoplastics, such as VICTREXTM PEEK