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In order to support identified ‘mega-programmes’ across the industrial and medical sectors, PAEK-based solutions provider Victrex will invest up to £15 million in further downstream manufacturing.
It will build a new PEEK composites facility for unidirectional (UD) tape and add new manufacturing capability for medical Trauma plate applications at its UK headquarters in Thornton Cleveleys. Both investments tie-in with recent product launches and are intended to help deliver new solutions to customers – and to drive future growth programmes.
UD tape is being used for the company's partnership with Magma, an oil and gas programme that focuses on m-pipe. Magma´s m-pipe is a high strength polymer carbon pipe which is 90% lighter than steel in water, is stronger than steel and has a number of performance benefits, including being highly durable, corrosion resistant to seawater, CO2 and sour gas. M-pipe is flexible and spoolable, which offers the potential to reduce project cost. The m-pipe application secured a number of test orders in 2015 and has engagement programmes with a diverse range of oil and gas operators. UD tape composites are also being used in aerospace applications, following the launch in October 2015 of Victrex AE250.
“To deliver solutions to our customers and consequently shape future performance means continued investment to drive our future growth programmes,” said Victrex Ceo David Hummel. “This includes the technical, marketing, quality and regulatory functions,”
In trauma, Victrex will continue to invest in specific downstream manufacturing facilities during 2016. Trauma plates, for example, composed of the high-performance composite, Peek-Optima Ultra Reinforced, are delivered by the Victrex medical division Invibio. Cleared regulatory device predicates in the US and Europe enable medical device manufacturers to more easily expand their trauma range beyond metal technologies.
Committed collaborations with medical device companies have now been established and continue to progress in multiple medical application areas. Peek-Optima Ultra-reinforced trauma plates offer 50x better fatigue resistance compared to metal, x-ray translucency to facilitate improved fracture repair bone alignment, and stress transfer characteristics that may accelerate the healing process and address the sizeable cases of poor fracture repair or device failures that can occur in metal-based solutions.
These investments also include capital expenditure for the company’s Polymer Innovation Centre, which will deliver prototyping and application development for Victrex. The new facility, which is due to start construction in early 2016, will help the company research and test many of its new downstream applications in the years ahead.