Processing and application of PEEK material

In many fields, PEEK is often used to achieve properties similar to those offered by metals and applications under harsh conditions. For example, many applications require long-term compression resistance, wear resistance, tensile strength and high performance, and corrosion resistance. In the oil and gas industry, the potential advantages of PEEK materials can be utilized.

Let's learn about the processing and application of peek materials.

One of the reasons for the widespread use of PEEK in engineering applications is the availability of multiple options and processing conditions, namely machining, fused filament fabrication, 3D printing, and injection molding, to fabricate desired geometries in both organic and aqueous environments.

PEEK material is available in rod form, compressed plate valve, filament form and pellet form, which can be used for CNC machining, 3D printing and injection molding respectively.

1. PEEK CNC processing

CNC (computer numerical control) machining consists of different variants of multi-axis milling, turning and electrical discharge machining (EDM) to obtain the desired final geometry. The main advantage of these machines is the ability to control the machine through advanced controllers through computer-generated codes to perform high-precision fine machining of the desired workpiece.

CNC machining provides the conditions to create complex geometries in different materials, from plastics to metals, while meeting the required geometric tolerance limits. PEEK material can be processed into complex geometric profiles, and can also be processed into medical grade and industrial grade PEEK parts. CNC machining provides high precision and repeatability for PEEK parts.

PEEK machining part

Due to PEEK's high melting point, faster feed rates and speeds can be employed during processing compared to other polymers. Before starting the machining process, special material handling requirements must be met to avoid internal stresses and heat-related cracks during machining. These requirements vary according to the grade of PEEK material used and full details on this are provided by the manufacturer of that particular grade.

PEEK is stronger and harder than most polymers, but softer than most metals. This requires the use of fixtures during machining to ensure precise machining. PEEK is a high-heat engineering plastic, and the heat generated during processing cannot be fully dissipated. This requires the use of appropriate technology to avoid a series of problems due to inefficient heat dissipation of materials.

These precautions include deep hole drilling and the use of adequate coolant in all machining operations. Both petroleum-based and water-based coolants can be used.

Another important factor to consider is tool wear during machining of PEEK compared to the few other compatible plastics. Using carbon fiber reinforced PEEK grades is more detrimental to the tooling. This situation calls for carbide tools to machine common grades of PEEK material, and diamond tools for carbon fiber reinforced PEEK grades. The use of coolant can also improve tool life.

PEEK parts

2. PEEK injection molding

Injection molding refers to the manufacture of thermoplastic parts by injecting molten material into pre-assembled molds. It is used to manufacture parts in high volume. The material is melted in a heated chamber, a helical screw is used for mixing, and then injected into a mold cavity where the material cools to form a solid shape.

Granular PEEK material is used for injection molding and compression molding. Granular PEEK from different manufacturers requires slightly different drying procedures, but usually 3 to 4 hours at 150 °C to 160 °C is sufficient.

Standard injection molding machines can be used for injection molding of PEEK material or mold PEEK, as these machines can reach a heating temperature of 350°C to 400°C, which is sufficient for almost all PEEK grades.

Cooling of the mold requires special attention, as any inconsistency will lead to changes in the structure of the PEEK material. Any deviation from the semi-crystalline structure leads to undesirable changes in the characteristic properties of PEEK.

Application scenarios of PEEK products

1. Medical parts

Due to the biocompatibility of the PEEK material, it is widely used in medical applications, including the implantation of components into the human body for various periods of time. Components made of PEEK material are also commonly used in different drug delivery systems.

Other medical applications include dental healing caps, pointed washers, trauma fixation devices, and spinal fusion devices, among others.

2. Aerospace parts

Due to PEEK's compatibility with ultra-high vacuum applications, thermal conductivity and radiation resistance, and chemical resistance, parts made of PEEK material are widely used in aerospace applications due to their high tensile strength.

3. Automotive parts

Bearings and different types of rings are also made of PEEK. Due to PEEK's excellent weight-to-strength ratio, it is used to make parts for racing engine blocks.

4. Wire and cable insulation/electronic applications

Cable insulation is made of PEEK, which can be used in applications such as aircraft electrical systems in manufacturing projects.

PEEK has mechanical, thermal, chemical and electrical properties that make it the material of choice for several engineering applications. PEEK is available in various forms (rods, filaments, pellets) and can be processed by CNC machining, injection molding. Goodwill Precision Machinery has been deeply involved in the field of precision machining for 18 years. It has long-term accumulated experience in various material processing and unique material processing experience. If you have corresponding PEEK parts that need to be processed, please contact us! We will wholeheartedly escort the quality of your parts with our 18-year knowledge of materials and processing technology.

Post time: Dec-25-2023