Düsseldorf & Hofheim am Taunus, Germany – The design of the Victrex Polymer Solutions stand at this year’s K trade fair refreshingly has been taken to a new peak. Logo-inspired triangles dominate the visual field and create the framework for the three main topics: “Metal replacement – Durability – Lightweight construction”. In so doing, the supplier of VICTREX PEEK-based solutions is directly addressing the key interests of many industries and manufacturers.
Victrex materials are among the world’s highest performing plastics and help customers turn challenging application requirements into genuine added value with solutions based on VICTREX PEEK. And that’s why “From Challenge to Benefit” is the company’s overarching motto at K 2013 (Hall 5, Stand A23), under which the three current topics are being presented.
Victrex’s message to developers and their suppliers: “It’s time to scrap metals”
According to Stephen Dougherty, there are at least three good reasons to replace metals with Victrex polymers: Increased efficiency, simplified design and reduced costs. “Low weight and simpler processing as compared with metals enable us to offer decisive advantages to processors and OEMs with our high-performance thermoplastics,” explains the Strategic Marketing Director during the industrial trade fair in Düsseldorf. And he cites gear wheel applications as an example. “Engineers were able to increase the efficiency of a mass balance system for automotive engines by nine percent “merely” because a gear wheel made of VICTREX PEEK was 68 percent lighter, could be designed differently, and so ultimately made it possible to reduce the moment of inertia by nearly 80 percent.” In addition, the reduction of noise, vibration, and harshness was lowered by 3dB, which is equivalent to a 50% noise level reduction for the human ear.”
In aircraft construction, the key considerations in the design of each newly developed component include not only fuel efficiency, but also time savings in assembly and maintenance. “Using design-optimized clips made of VICTREX PEEK, the installation of electrical harnesses is 30% faster than with the conventional fasteners made of aluminum used up until now: that clearly represents a key sales argument,” adds Dougherty.
“The road to no wear” – impressive resistance and durability
The three things that many manufacturers want from their components and system solutions are long service life, low wear and minimal maintenance requirements. And selecting the right materials can make all the difference. For the experts at Victrex, the same principles essentially apply no matter if it involves small filling bushings used to produce fruit gum candies or components used in offshore oil production applications. “Reliability and safety are of huge importance in both industries. Of course the food industry and the energy sector have different standards. That’s why we offer the individual application development support our customers need – from basic design to the finished product – based on the PEEK expertise we’ve acquired over the course of the past 35 years,” explains Rainer Müller, Commercial Manager Europe for Victrex. And that helps customers gain a competitive edge in their market. The service life of the PEEK solution for food production, for example, is extended up to 200% compared to the brass bushings used previously. “Because changing the filling bushings is very difficult and time-consuming, the filling machines have to be taken out of service for almost a whole day each time, so this saves a lot of time and money,” says Müller.
Lightweights as efficiency drivers – “Lift off with less”
In aircraft construction, moreover, every single gram counts. Because a manufacturer who can provide a lighter, more efficient component solution, ultimately has an opportunity to add his name to the list of approved suppliers. “The reason for this is simple: the cost of fuel ultimately represents 40% of an airline’s total operating costs. As we all well know, its consumption rises and falls with weight,” explains Harald Hedderich, Aerospace Strategic Marketing Manager for Victrex Polymer Solutions. OEMs and suppliers have already specified many applications with VICTREX PEEK, in order to help reduce costs and emissions through enhanced performance as a result of their solutions, now and in the future. “The same principle applies in the automotive industry,” adds Jürgen Reinert, Global Automotive Strategy Manager. “Statutory regulations are getting tighter and tighter. Energy efficiency as well as reliability and safety must increase and at the same time driving comfort must be improved.” As examples of this he mentions bearing cages, thrust washers and seal rings that – along with many other applications – already reflect the K motto: “From Challenge to Benefit.”