Working With Polymers: Machining PEEK

Posted By : Aubrey Mead , on Aug, 2015


Many industries rely on polymers to produce the products and/or components they require. They turn to one of two basic types. These are thermoplastic and thermoset. In both medical and industrial manufacturers, one of the most popular thermoplastic polymers is PEEK. In industrial and medical usage, machining PEEK is a process that has begun to grow because of its many advantages over other methods.

What Is PEEK?

PEEK, an abbreviation of polyether ether ketone, is a type of polymer. As noted above, it is a thermoplastic. As such, it is organic and colorless and possesses several categories that are considered desirable for machining. PEEK, as a result, has increasingly become popular for meeting the specific demands of certain industrial and medical demands.

Grades for Peek Machining

PEEK polymer is divided into two basic grades. These are industrial and medical. Both types are quite strong as well as highly resistant to wear and tear. However, there are differences that extend beyond the application. The company who performs machining of PEEK needs to be aware of this and make the proper adjustments.

Why Opt for Machining PEEK?

PEEK is favored has become a favored polymer in many industrial and medical processes. It is due, to a large part, to the following characteristics that are invaluable in the process of machining. PEEK:

* Can repeatedly be softened when the temperature is increased.
* Under heat, undergoes physical changes while retaining its mechanical properties
* Is flame retardant
* Has a high abrasion resistance
* Has strength at even high impacts
* Possesses for friction a low coefficient
* Has excellent strength
* Enjoys biocompatibility with various medical parts – particularly implants, including dental healing caps and spinal implants
* Exceptional chemical resistance
* Naturally radio translucent under certain conditions (Medical grade PEEK)

Perhaps what works best in PEEK’s favor is its machinability. Through machining, PEEK has been found to be fabricated with great ease to any close tolerance.

Applications for Peek

The uses for PEEK polymer has continued to increase in recent years. This is particularly true in the medical fields. Machining PEEK for medical devices such as implants has been rising. Yet, medical devices are not the sole application for PEEK polymer. It has also found its niche in the industrial fields. Companies are machining PEEK successfully into bearings, cable insulation, piston parts and bearings. As a result, industrial-grade PEEK has been used in various industries including:

* Aerospace
* Automotive
* Chemical
* Electronics
* Food and Beverage
* Petroleum

Machining PEEK

Polymers have become an integral part of the manufacturing process. In the medical and industrial fields, PEEK polymer is becoming increasingly useful. To ensure it is capable of performing to its optimum, those involved in machining PEEK are careful to take the right approach when fabricating.

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