Victrex invests in downstream manufacturing to support PAEK-polymers

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To support identified ‘mega-programmes’ across the industrial and medical sectors, US materials company Victrex will invest up to 15 million GBP in further downstream manufacturing. The PAEK-based solutions provider says that it will build a new PEEK composite facility for unidirectional (UD) tape and add new manufacturing capability for medical Trauma plate applications at its UK headquarters. Both investments tie-in with recent product launches and are intended to help deliver new solutions to customers – and to drive future growth programmes.

The new investments will further pave the way to meeting the increasing demand of existing and future customers. Unidirectional (UD) tape is being used for Victrex’s partnership with Magma, an oil and gas ‘mega-programme’ that focuses on m-pipe, 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 & gas operators. UD tape composites are also being used in aerospace applications.

“To deliver solutions to our customers and consequently shape future performance means continued investment to drive our future growth programmes. This includes the technical, marketing, quality and regulatory functions,” said Victrex´s Chief Executive David Hummel.

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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 Victrex´s medical division Invibio Biomaterial Solutions (Invibio). Cleared regulatory device predicates in the US and Europe enable medical device manufacturers to more easily expand their trauma range beyond metal technologies.

Hummel said, “We are particularly encouraged by the opportunity in this market. Downstream manufacturing capability of trauma plate components will enhance our offering, enabling us to have the ability to meet initial demand.”

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.

Invibio, a Victrex plc company, provides high-performance biomaterial solutions to medical device manufacturers. Its PEEK-OPTIMA polymers are used in more than 5 million implanted devices worldwide today. In addition, Invibio delivers advanced technical research and support and manufacturing of components for spine, trauma and orthopaedic medical segments for the development of implantable medical devices.

These investments also include capital expenditure for the company’s Polymer Innovation Centre, which will deliver prototyping and application development excellence for Victrex. The new facility, which is due to start construction in early 2016, will help Victrex research and test many of its new downstream applications in the years ahead, allowing the company to enhance its capabilities as a solutions provider.


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