carbon fiber filled PEEK thermoplastic gear

Proprietary impregnated PEEK distributor gear for improved performance and useful life

Metals have been the first choice of design engineers for almost three centuries. Developments in highly engineered thermoplastics materials are challenging that dominance. The aerospace and automotive industries have led the charge in this dramatic changeover, initially driven by the need to reduce weight to gain fuel efficiency. Advanced thermoplastic and thermoset systems, including fiber reinforced compositions, are now finding their way into almost every industry.
PEEK is a mainstay material for a growing variety of applications in many different industries. Its popularity is due to excellent friction and wear characteristics, extended durability under punishing environmental conditions, including high temperatures, abrasion and aggressive chemical environments.

Unfilled PEEK resins emit extremely low levels of smoke and toxic gas when exposed to a flame. Glass and carbon reinforced PEEK resins offer high thermal stability and are among the strongest thermoplastics in the market.
PEEK has a long list of outstanding characteristics making it one of the most popular alternatives to metal:

• High mechanical strength and dimensional stability
• Excellent resistance to harsh chemicals
• High wear resistance
• Low coefficient of friction; high abrasion and cut-through resistance
• Excellent performance at high temperatures

Performance Plastics uses various grades of PEEK resin as metal replacements in applications where few other fluoropolymers would be considered. PEEK is widely used in industries such as: aerospace (commercial and defense), automotive, marine, industrial and energy (fossil fuel and renewable). To discover how PEEK polymer resins can make the transition from metal to thermoplastic easier, please visit our website at https://performanceplastics.com/capabilities/polymer-seals or contact Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, at (513) 321-8404 or RReed@performanceplastics.com

Performance Plastics is a leader in providing innovative production solutions for our customers.  We have the opportunity to work on many new projects annually and follow a process guideline called our “Project Development Roadmap”.  This process is formatted in a way that everyone involved has a clear view and set expectations.

It has been our experience that the launch of a new product can be an overwhelming event for most companies.  Product innovation, testing, proving, and marketing all take toll. Performance Plastics works as a partner on projects to ensure successful outcomes. We go out of our way to make the process as smooth as possible.

With every new opportunity, we use our Product Development Roadmap to identify steps and milestones to ensure a successful project:

  • Set initial guidelines on budget, minimum quantity, investment, and contractual time commitments.

Before any true collaboration can begin, there truly must be a meeting of the minds.  We want to respect the customer and have the customer respect our process in turn.  Budget, quantities, and projected time frame are all key components of a true understanding.

  • Agreement on conceptual design and function of mold

Everyone truly needs to understand what the project needs to accomplish.  Often in times of negotiation, companies are so focused on details that the reason for the project gets lost.  We are Performance Plastics like to begin with the end in mind.  We begin with the required product outcome and work backwards.

  • Customer to issue PO

This is where our process is very different from the competition.  While some companies will perform the initial part design without a PO, we want the customer to be fully engaged in this process.  Our engineers work hand in hand with our partner’s engineers to solve the issues and meet the deliverables.  We require our customers to buy into the project, which requires commitment, time, and money.

  • PPL to perform initial part DFM (Design for Manufacturing), using mold fill, cooling, and warpage analysis to optimize part design. PPL to request customer approval.

The design for manufacturability is the general engineering practice of designing products in such a way that they are easy to manufacture.  But easy to manufacture does not always produce the best result.  We collaborate with our customers to design molds in ways that meet the expectations and requirements of the project, addressing mold fill, cooling, and warpage analysis data.

  • Customer to approve the initial DFM and ok PPL to launch mold design.

Keeping expectations in mind, we pause our process and perform an in-depth review with our customers.  At this point we re-evaluate the outcomes, make the needed modifications and engage in an open dialog regarding process improvements.

  • PPL to provide final DFM design to customer for approval.

 Taking in account modifications from the initial DFM, we then present out final version for the customer for them to independently verify and approve.  This is the final step at which we have open discussions on revisions, changes and process improvements.

  • Upon approval, PPL to launch mold construction.

Only after all these steps do we begin the mold construction.  We want to make sure all our parameters are satisfied in all design elements and deliverables before we begin construction.

It has been our experience that the more time we spend getting the process laid out correctly in the beginning, the fewer problems we will have when we begin production.  We want to make sure the whole team has clear expectations of the project guidelines, timeframes, and outcomes.

For more information on our “Project Development Roadmap”, or any Performance Plastics’ projects, please contact Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at rreed@performanceplastics.com or 513.321.8404.

Performance Plastics offers the expertise and technology to produce net shape seals in high-performance materials such as PEEK.  PEEK (polyetheretherketone) polymer is a high-performance thermoplastic material with outstanding mechanical, thermal and chemical resistance properties

Seals have been used since ancient times and have evolved into a wide variety of shapes and materials. Mechanical seals are used to seal the openings of and joints between mechanisms to contain pressure and form a barrier to prevent the fluid (water or oil) used by a machine from leaking to the external environment.  Commonly used in pumps, motors, and compressors, seals are one of the most essential components to ensure a machine operates reliably and effectively.

PEEK is an organic thermoplastic polymer that offers excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties for applications that are maintained at high temperatures. PEEK seals can be heated, cooled, and heated again without degradation since they are composed of thermoplastic materials.

PEEK polymer seals are well suited for demanding applications such as aerospace, automotive, and medical because of their robustness. They offer outstanding chemical resistance over a wide range of temperatures and are an excellent option for extreme applications where failure is not an option.  Performance Plastics’ team of experienced engineers possess the expertise to design technically challenging seals and offer complex solutions across a wide range of industries.

For more information on how Performance Plastics can solve your seal selection   challenges, please contact Rich Reed, VP Sales & Marketing at 513.321.8404 or rreed@performanceplastics.com.

 

For decades, Performance Plastics has been delivering the highest quality custom plastic injection molding solutions in the industry for our customers. We take a highly specialized and consultative approach, working closely with our customers to develop the solutions needed to solve the most complicated issues.

Direct gating is a molding technique designed to drastically reduce the material waste associated with runner systems. This is critically important when working with sheer sensitive, expensive materials such as fluoropolymers (FEP, PFA, PVDF) and PEEK.

Direct gating is ideally suited for deep draw parts and/or small parts like medical components.  The technique saves resin and typically cuts cycle time by up to 50%.  In addition, it eliminates the need for downstream processing such as surface finishing or grinding.  The part quality achieved by direct gating is in many cases improved over parts manufactured with a cold runner.

We work with design engineers to create better products.  Direct gating is an advanced technique that increases value and provides advantages for new, innovative concepts.  Our hybrid direct gate technology eliminates the runner waste associated with conventional molding, significantly reducing material use and per part cost. Polymers are injected directly into the part mold eliminating the need for runners.

Performance Plastics excels at intricate injection molded components needing some combination of high temperature, low surface adhesion, chemical and organic resistance in a package with complex geometries and/or tight tolerances.

For more information on how Performance Plastics can solve your tight tolerance molding challenges, please contact Rich Reed, VP Sales & Marketing at 513.321.8404 or rreed@performanceplastics.com.

For four decades, Performance Plastics has been delivering the highest quality custom plastic injection molding solutions in the industry for our customers. We take a highly specialized and consultative approach, working closely with our customers to develop the solutions needed to solve the most complicated issues.

We have the experience to take a project from concept to production in-house. Every step of the process, from design and engineering, to tooling, protype, and full production, is done under the supervision of our experienced team. We produce complex, tight tolerance custom molded products of all types for the aerospace, medical and diversified industrial sectors.

We are technical specialists in collaborating and executing advanced, custom solutions for our customers. Injection-molded product fabrication is a complex process, especially when dealing with parts that are the size of a pin.  Our process is comprehensive and efficient to ensure that custom solutions can be delivered quickly and cost-effectively. High performance materials include PFA, FEP, ETFE, PVDF, PEEK, ULTEM, and Torlon.

With the ability to injection mold shot sizes as small as .015 grams with a wall thicknesses as thin as .008 of inch, Performance Plastics is anything but typical.  We are one of the leaders in tight tolerance, highly detailed medical parts.

For more information on how Performance Plastics can solve your tight tolerance molding challenges, please contact Rich Reed, VP Sales & Marketing at 513.321.8404 or rreed@performanceplastics.com.

Choosing the best technology for your application

Plastic injection molding and 3D printing are both viable technologies. 3D printing has given engineers the power to create designs and bring them to life in a matter of hours. Injection molding, on the other hand, is the proven technology for complexity, quality, and value. It is used to produce high-volume runs of complex plastic designs quickly and reliably. They are complimentary processes.

The use of 3D printing in innovative and experimental scenarios is a viable technology for its ability to create custom plastic part designs quickly.  The medical industry has embraced the use of the quick-turn technology to create custom items such as prosthetics, dental products, orthopedics, implants and more.  3D printing is the optimal choice during the design process, when low volume and design changes are necessary in refining the design process. However, the 3D process limits your material choices, as all materials are not a fit or even available in a form suitable for 3D printing.

3D printing is best used for:

  • Quick turnaround times
  • Low volume, slower production speeds
  • Parts in the design phase with frequent changes – prototyping, lower product quality
  • Smaller part sizes

Once a design has been finalized, plastic injection molding becomes the optimal process.  Most of today’s plastic parts are manufactured using plastic injection molding – it’s best for producing large quantities quickly and reliably in high volume runs. You have greater material options with plastic injection molding, and you can control material weight, cost, flexibility with endless combinations of materials.  It helps organizations control the cost and integrity of designs with complexities and tight tolerances.

Plastic Injection molding is best used for:

  • High volume
  • Finalized part design
  • Enhanced strength and durability
  • Complex, precision, detailed parts

At Performance Plastics we have been presented with many opportunities that were previously manufactured using 3D printing, only to discover that injection molding was the more appropriate technology.  As experts in FEP, PFA, PAI (Torlon), PEEK and Ultem resins we frequently work with mission critical applications.  We understand that 3D printing can be an essential component of the design process.  If you have a project that requires high volume (5,000+ parts per year), has high temperature resin requirements, tight tolerance with complex geometries, plastic injection molding is your solution.

If you don’t have a lot of time, need a lot of flexibility, and need a few parts right now, 3D printing may be your choice.  But, if you need to do large, repetitive product runs with complex geometries, tight tolerances, with high quality, consider plastic injection molding.

Performance Plastics specializes in precision injection molding of high-performance plastics. Our precise production process gives us the ability to injection mold difficult polymers, producing high quality thermoplastic products.

High performance plastic materials, such as PAI (Polyamidimide) Torlon®, possess ideal properties when it comes to molding for strength and durability. Recognized as one of the highest performing thermoplastic materials, Torlon® exhibits greater compressive strength and impact resistance than other high-performance plastics. Torlon’s high creep resistance and extremely low coefficient of linear thermal expansion (CLTE) provides excellent thermal stability. This provides for creating manufactured parts that exhibit high levels of tensile strength, friction wear, compression strength, and rigidity, ensuring exceptional mechanical loading capabilities up to 525°F (275°C).

At Performance Plastics, we are experts in injection molding, specializing in high performance plastics. High performance plastics, such as Torlon®, can be extremely difficult to injection mold due to the polymers unique structure. Torlon® is a reactive polymer, which can cause complications during the injection molding process. A specific set of conditions, equipment, and processing procedures must be followed to effectively injection mold Torlon®. Our proprietary tool design software, processes and equipment enables us to injection mold components having complex geometries made from challenging ultra, high-performance thermoplastic materials and reinforced compounds.

We utilize a unique combination of extensive material knowledge, mold flow analysis, a design system and process expertise to eliminate or minimize the need for secondary operations. Our expertise in process control allows us to effectively injection mold Torlon® in parts with extremely tight tolerances. This gives us the ability to provide you with an injection molded part made from the highest strength and stiffness of any commercial thermoplastic.

Torlon® is one of the many high performance polymers Performance Plastics offers.  For more information on Performance Plastic’s capabilities, please contact Rich Reed, our Vice President of Sales and Marketing at 513.321.8404 or email at rreed@performanceplastics.com.

Nutplates fail for a variety of reasons

  • Poor surface prep
  • Wrong grip length fastener (too long) when engaged pushing nutplate off structure
  • Fastener locked up in nut element (i.e. not turning) due to excessive heat from fastener during installation
  • Improper fastener torque sequencing for panel installation

Following aircraft specific T.O. – takes from 24 to 72 hours to effect a repair

Removal-and-Replacement-of-Failed-Bonded-Nutplates-Presentation

 

Plastic injection molding continues to become more and more sophisticated with part tolerances becoming tighter and tighter. Initially, tight tolerance was defined as +/-.002 inches and a very tight tolerance is +/-.001 inches. But today there are many factors that impact tight tolerance including part complexity and size, resin selection, tooling, and process conditions. So, getting the mold, part design, material selection and process correct is crucial when working with a product that requires tight tolerances.

Tight tolerances are essential when manufacturing complex parts, especially in the aerospace & defense, medical & life sciences, and diversified industrial sectors.  A few thousandths of an inch can be the difference between a component that fits and one that does not – if tight tolerances are not achieved properly the resulting products may underperform. So, it is critical that clients understand tight tolerances and their underlying objectives. Performance Plastics has parts in production that are +/-.0004 inches. Parts are measured in their Metrology lab with a CT Scanner.

 

Benefits of Tight Tolerances

There are many benefits to manufacturing parts with tight tolerances. It ensures that parts work together smoothly and fit as intended in their final form; parts mesh well and deliver enhanced functionality.   They produce lower failure rates and result in higher client satisfaction. Tight tolerances can also result in fewer post-molding processing requirements.  Additionally, tight tolerances allow for parts to be transitioned from metal to plastic, reducing overall weight and cost of the final product. This can be very advantageous in some industries, such as aerospace and defense.

Design for Tight Tolerances

Not every plastic injection molding project requires tight tolerances, and some organizations insist on tight tolerances for non-critical features.  Tight tolerance should only be required in instances where they are critical.  Many products require standard tolerancing because the consequences of failure are low.  As a general rule, designers should keep tolerances as large as possible while maintaining the desired functionality of the part.

Materials for Tight Tolerances

Additionally, material selection is a critical element in achieving tight tolerances.  Certain resins perform better under certain circumstances.  An experienced design engineer can guide a client in choosing the most affordable material that will deliver the best result.  So, it’s critical to bring in an experienced team early in the design process.

By engaging a production team during the design phase, part functionality, material selection and design can be discussed upfront, and the team can jointly develop a manufacturing process and correct materials that will produce high-precision components. It is crucial for organizations to partner with an experienced injection molder, who has expertise; the design and manufacturing teams should be integrated to allow manufacturability issues to be identified and addressed during the design process – thus saving significant time and unnecessary cost.

Establishing the right process and correct materials for each product and developing repeatability are key to manufacturing tight tolerance parts. While every application is different, there are some process and material conditions that impact tolerances. For example, quick cavity filling and uniform cooling at the desired temperature are conditions that are crucial to achieving repeatability, and thus, parts with tight tolerances.

Performance Plastics is highly skilled at designing and molding using high performance materials such as PEI-Ultem®, PAI-Torlon®, PEEK, and Fluoropolymers such as FEP, PFA, and PVDF.  We work with our customers to solve technically challenging problems.   We can propose materials to implement part functionality in the design stage of development. We offer manufacturing solutions such as a clean room, the ability to offer direct gating of fluoropolymers, high volume production, visual inspection, and automated facilities.

For more information and solutions, please contact Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at 513-321-8404 or email rreed@performanceplastics.com

 

Ultem PEI Polyethermide thermoplastic component

When trying to choose the correct polymer for your application, understanding the materials can help you make your decision.  For parts that require superior strength and durability, Ultem® is often a great choice.

 Ultem® is a semi-transparent high strength plastic material that can operate in high service temperature environments.  It is the ideal choice for demanding, high heat applications and can withstand continuous operating temperatures of 340 degrees F while maintaining strength and rigidity.

 Ultem® is a member of the PEI (polyetherimide) family of thermoplastic resins. It provides a unique balance of mechanical properties and processability that gives engineers superior flexibility and freedom in design. Ultem is available in a variety of grades that provide enhanced chemical, heat, and elasticity benefits. It also features high tensile strength, stiffness, strength to weight ratio and dimensional stability.

Ultem® is the high-performance polyetherimide material of choice for many aerospace, aircraft, medical and pharmaceutical applications, including medical components. It offers exceptional mechanical properties and exhibits natural flame resistance and extremely low smoke generation.

  • Heat, solvent and flame resistant
  • High dielectric strength and stability
  • Excellent mechanical properties
  • Rigid and strong
  • Exceptional resistance to environmental forces

Performance Plastics is highly skilled at designing and molding using high performance materials such as Ultem®, Torlon®, PEEK, POM, and PPS.  We work with our customers to solve technically challenging problems.   We can propose materials to implement part functionality in the design stage of development. We offer manufacturing solutions such as a clean room, the ability to offer direct gating of fluoropolymers, high volume production, visual inspection and automated facilities.

For more information and solutions, please contact Rich Reed, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at 513-321-8404 or email rreed@performanceplastics.com