PEEK: A high-performance thermoplastic for special applications

Dr Dietrich Müller GmbH

PEEK: A high-performance thermoplastic for special applications

Dr. Dietrich Müller GmbH | 30.03.2020

Precision turned and milled parts made of the high-performance plastic PEEK (polyetheretherketone) are used in many areas, for example as gears, pistons and much more.

Ahlhorn, 30.03.2020 – The high-performance plastic polyether ether ketone at the Kunststoffhaus

In industry, very special properties of machines and equipment are often required. In order to fulfil these, the right material must be used. Since no single material can meet all requirements at the same time, it is important to develop materials that meet as many of these requirements as possible. When it comes to heavy-duty applications, metals sometimes seem the most obvious solution – but often a high-performance plastic such as PEEK is the better solution.

PEEK at Kunststoffhaus Ahlhorn

The plastics house in Ahlhorn is specialized in the production and processing of plastics. The company’s product range also includes polyetheretherketone. This plastic is characterised by a number of special properties that make it stand out from other plastics and metals.

Up to a temperature of 260 °C the material is completely temperature resistant. From 280 °C onwards, hydrolysis sets in and the melting temperature is only reached at 335 °C. Like many other types of plastic, the material is highly resistant to chemicals, radiation, abrasion and wear. Under heavy stress, polyetheretherketone hardly releases any toxic components and hardly develops any smoke.

Due to these favourable material properties, polyether ether ketone is used in many areas. These include, for example, pistons and seals in vehicles and aircraft, insulation in various areas, medical equipment such as handle parts or membranes, parts of production apparatus in the pharmaceutical, chemical and food industries, components in dental technology, semiconductor technology and parts of musical instruments such as strings.

To be used in these areas, PEEK must be processed accordingly. Dr. Dietrich Müller GmbH in Ahlhorn, which also operates the plastics house, specializes in this. In the plastics house, the high-performance plastic PEEK is produced by alkylating bisphenol salts and converted into simple forms such as rods or plates. These are then used to produce precision milled, turned and water jet parts. Under the brand name Sonophan PEEK, Dr. Dietrich Müller GmbH offers membranes for the construction of loudspeakers and microphones.

Although this plastic (PEEK) is very robust in many respects, it is comparatively easy to machine and process into the desired products in various ways. Above all, turned and milled parts, as well as water jetting and the use of threaded bushings are possibilities for further processing of PEEK. With CNC milling, especially large parts for industry can be produced. The advantage here is that the plastic only has to be clamped once and several work steps can be carried out.

With water-jet parts, the greatest advantage is the lower temperatures compared to dry processing. Even if the water jet with a pressure of 6000 bar and a speed of 1000 m/s efficiently removes the material, the water cools down so strongly that hardly any heat is generated which could negatively affect the material. Other ways to bring PEEK into a desired shape are punching, sawing and drilling.

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