Victrex PAEK facility comes online

The new polyaeryletherketone plant in the UK increases the company's production capacity by 70% to more than 7,000 tonnes per year.

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Victrex (Thornton Cleveleys, UK) reported on April 30 that it has successfully commissioned the first production stream of its $138 million (£90 million) and third polyaryletherketone (PAEK) manufacturing plant. The capacity increase is also a further foundation to progress Victrex’s pipeline of future opportunities which will help grow the company over the coming years.

Recent investments increase Victrex's production capacity by 70% to more than 7,000 tonnes per year. Alongside its PAEK resin capacity, the worldwide leading PAEK producer has also continued its downstream investment in APTIV film, pipe, tape and now medical components.

The new PAEK plant serves as the backbone to develop core growth and future opportunities. With continued emphasis on the markets of automotive, aerospace, energy, electronics, and medical, the company has focused its pipeline on a smaller number of large opportunities. These include, for example, aerospace brackets, applications for mobile devices, orthopaedic knees, and oil/gas pipes through its partnership with Magma Global. Victrex recently identified the overall market potential for the high-performing thermoplastic PAEK as being more than 80,000 tonnes.

David Hummel, chief executive of Victrex, says: “We are continuing to move from being simply a materials manufacturer to a solutions provider. Our investment, not only in PAEK manufacturing, but in downstream capability, in know-how, in technical excellence, and research and development helps to further differentiate our company. Today, we are already able to fill gaps in the market by delivering semi-finished and finished components such as APTIV film or medical applications. With the third production facility, we are in a position to offer sustained security of supply, which is, along with rigorous quality, critical to our customers.”

The new facility for the manufacture of PAEK went into operation in the north-west of the UK during April. Earlier this year, the company announced a proposed Polymer Innovation Center in the UK, which will help to prototype and scale up future developments, enabling customers to test applications before full commercialization.