PEEK polymer - An invention that inspires others to invent
It still took many decades and numerous polymer-related discoveries before the momentous invention of a new high-performance polymer (HPP) called PEEK (polyetheretherketone) by John B. Rose and Philip A. Staniland.(3) After PEEK had begun to capture the imagination of a handful of people, the first batch of the HPP was manufactured at ICI, a major chemical company, on November 19, 1978.(4) Only three years later the commercialisation of the first PEEK polymers, the "VICTREX PEEK" family, including glass- and carbon-filled products, followed. The rest, as they say, is history, a history intimately intertwined with that of Victrex.
The following 40 years of pioneering PEEK-based innovation, has been transformative across a range of industries. Frequently, demanding applications that initially seemed an unlikely candidate for the thermoplastic found that PEEK's versatile blend of exceptional properties offered the material solution they needed.
The passion for pioneering PEEK
One of the early PEEK pioneers was Wolfgang Reimer, today Global Strategic Accounts Manager of Victrex. Right from the beginning in 1980 Reimer was convinced that the material would quickly come of age and have a big impact across multiple industries and future generations. "PEEK promised great potential. However, as a very small speciality business we had to build trust and prove that we and PEEK could deliver according to customer expectations. In addition, we knew that although the idea for an innovation may be developed in little or no time, the success of a business can't. First sealing applications for example were developed quite some time ago and are now used for example in many automotive and energy applications and in industrial machines."
Innovation never stops
Today, PEEK's impact can also be felt high in the sky, deep in the ocean and even under the skin. There seems to be no limit to the ways people are turning PEEK into brilliant solutions to bring their inventions and improvements to life, solving complex engineering challenges, often replacing metals. Most importantly, it continues to spur active innovation in the quest for improved applications, an excellent cost-benefit-ratio and environmental benefits.