Victrex Plc (Thornton-Cleveleys, UK) and Tri-Mack Plastics Mfg. Corp. (Bristol, RI) have formed a joint venture, called TxV Aero Composites, to accelerate the commercial adoption of polyketone (PAEK) composite applications within the aerospace industry. The multi-million dollar investment includes establishing a purpose-built polyketone composite center of excellence in the U.S., scheduled for completion in 2017.
The intent is to offer a range of PAEK composites, from custom laminates to pre-formed composite inserts for hybrid molding processes, as well as finished composite parts and complete over-molded hybrid composite components and assemblies. These products can reportedly deliver weight savings of up to 60% over conventional metallic solutions, and offer continuous manufacturing processes and cycle times measured in minutes versus hours. One example is VICTREX A 250 composites, a new lower temperature processing PAEK-based composite product family that enables a unique hybrid molding process. This innovation combines the strength of continuously-reinforced thermoplastic composites with the design flexibility and proven performance of VICTREX PEEK injection molding polymers.
“This is a hugely exciting opportunity to accelerate innovative and differentiated solutions for our customers in the aerospace industry,” says David Hummel, CEO 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 program 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.”
"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,” says Will Kain, president of Tri-Mack.
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Applications within the aerospace industry include loaded clips and brackets, interiors and seating among other commercial aircraft applications.