PEEK Material and Applications In Machining

PEEK is a super wear-resistant and high-temperature-resistant plastic material. Not only is it resistant to hydrolysis, it is also unaffected by steam and moisture. Common colors are natural and brown. PEEK is also one of the most expensive plastic materials in the world. It has very strict requirements on material composition, difficult manufacturing process, and low output.

PEEK material can be filled with a variety of materials. According to the needs of different industries, other materials can be added to meet the performance requirements of special industries.

PEEK is suitable for a variety of processing methods. This article will introduce the various processing methods of PEEEK. Common processing methods include CNC milling, CNC turning, mold injection molding and other processing techniques.

PEEK Material Properties

Excellent Dimensional Stability

PEEK has the smallest deformation compared to other plastics (ABS, POM) and is suitable for high-precision parts. PEEK will not be affected by harsh environments such as sea water or high temperatures.

Suitable for a variety of machining processes, turning and milling, and the processed surface is very smooth. Unlike PTFE materials and POM materials, no deburring is required after CNC processing.

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Excellent Wear Resistance and High Temperature Resistance

PEEK can be combined with a variety of materials and has excellent flame retardant properties. For example, graphite, carbon fiber, PTFE. The filled composite material can work in a high temperature environment of 330℃. Often used in bearings, gears, etc.

Excellent Mechanical Properties and Fatigue Resistance

PEEK has excellent manufacturability and pressure resistance, and is the strongest resin material among all plastic materials. It maintains its strength and integrity even in harsh environments, making it the material of choice for demanding applications.

Super Radiation Resistance

PEEK material does not require any surface treatment and can directly withstand CT, MRI scans, and X-rays. Widely used in medical treatment, CT scans will not cause damage to patients and will not affect medical examination results.

Suitable for Multiple Industry Standards

PEEK material complies with FDA, ISO 10993, FAR 25.853, ISO 23936-1, etc. PEEK has low fluidity, so it is the most suitable plastic material for CNC machining, not injection molding.

Recyclability and Recyclability

PEEK, like metal (aluminum) materials, has very high recyclability. Discarded materials are often utilized in less demanding industrial or construction areas.

Biocompatibility

PEEK is biocompatible and can integrate well with the human body without causing adverse reactions. Therefore, it is widely used in the medical industry.

4 Types of PEEK Material Machining

PEEK CNC Machining

CNC machining is one of the high-precision precision machining processes. Computer programming is used to import CNC machines, and the program automatically performs the turning and milling processes. Because PEEK is a high-performance thermoplastic, it is very suitable for demanding industries and is used as the material of choice in a variety of aerospace, automotive and medical fields.

PEEK is becoming more and more widely used in CNC machining. Compared with other plastic materials, PEEK CNC machining has no risk of deformation and can handle strict tolerances and complex prototype designs, ensuring high-quality assembly requirements of mechanical engineers.

PEEK CNC machining does not require the investment of high-value molds, can achieve the most cost-effective production, shorten the time for rapid product launch, and can quickly provide feedback on product design issues. CNC machining is also the most cost-effective choice when it comes to design changes.

PEEK material is very expensive, and experienced mechanical engineers will simulate processing before starting the project. Use the lowest value plastic material to make the first sample, confirm dimensions and tolerances and other issues, and then proceed to small or large batch production after confirming that the first sample is qualified.

Although PEEK has a high melting point, when cutting PEEK materials at high speed, the heat during processing cannot be quickly dissipated. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure sufficient coolant to prevent problems caused by excessive temperature.

PEEK Plastic 3D Printing

3D printing is suitable for complex geometries. Through additive manufacturing (FDM), 3D is created through computer models, and powder materials are accumulated in layers.

With the development of the 4.0 industry, PEEK 3D printing technology is becoming more and more widely used. The familiar medical industry helps patients replace necrotic bones through 3D printing customized implants. Industrial prototypes and molds often use 3D printing.

The manufacturing of 3D printing requires expensive equipment, testing capabilities and technical teams to meet the basic production of 3D prototypes. Printing parts made of PEEK material requires high-temperature spraying above 360°C. In this way, the work surface is in a state of constant high-temperature heating, and the temperature of the heating chamber needs to maintain a constant temperature environment.

The surface treatment of 3D printing is very complicated. First, the excess residual waste needs to be cleaned, and then professional tools are used for deburring, grinding, polishing, etc.

3D printing creates prototypes in hours, 5-10 times faster than traditional CNC machining. The price of 3D printing is much more expensive than CNC machining. You can choose a machining method that is more suitable for you according to your design needs.

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PEEK Molding Machining

PEEK injection molding is a processing technology in which raw material particles are melted and molded in a mold. High-volume manufacturing usually follows prototype. After the material is melted at high temperature, mixed by the screw, and then input into the mold cavity, the product is formed after the mold cavity cools.

Some common defects encountered in the PEEK injection molding process:
1.Are there standard parameters for mold cavity pressure, temperature, and injection speed?
2.The design of the mold requires close cooperation to prevent flow line problems caused by inconsistent flow rates;
3.Melt and mold temperatures are too high, causing burn marks;
4.The exhaust port and gate are too narrow and the air cannot be discharged, causing parts to be burned;
5.The injection pressure is too small and the gas cannot be discharged smoothly, resulting in bubbles;
6.The cooling time is too short, causing the product to shrink;
7.The inner surface of the mold cavity maintains high smoothness.

PEEK injection molded parts have high strength, pressure resistance and wear resistance. Often used in batch processing of gears, PEEK gears are less noisy than metal gears.

The post-processing of PEEK injection molded parts is very simple. After the product is taken out of the mold, a small amount of edge repair is required before delivery. This is the easiest processing process in PEEK machining.

PEEK Profiles Machining

PEEK extrusion molding is a mass production processing method. Before new products are launched, they go from prototype to small batch production, and then to mass production. Through PEEK profiles, material waste can be reduced and processing costs can be reduced.

PEEK profiles can solve some structures that cannot be achieved through CNC processing. It is extruded through a die, such as right-angle, sharp-angle shapes and special-shaped structures. Often the cost of CNC machining of this structure is very high, and it is difficult to meet the design requirements.

The mold cost of PEEK profiles is relatively high, and there is an MOQ for each batch of production. If your project is not launched in batches, it is not recommended to use profiles. You can use cheaper CNC machining instead.

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Applications of PEEK Material

PEEK material is widely used in many industries due to its excellent properties and is suitable for equipment and parts with high precision, safety and performance requirements.

Automobiles & New Energy Vehicles

In the automotive industry, choosing PEEK, which is lighter and has better strength, to make automotive parts is the trend of future automotive manufacturing. Not only does it reduce energy waste, but it also recycles it. Including engine bearings, PEEK repair pens (leveling pens), sensors, electrical connectors, and fuel system components.

Electronics and Semiconductors

PEKK materials occupy an important position in the electrical and semiconductor industries. Its excellent radiation resistance, electrical properties and irritation resistance make it the first choice in this field. It is commonly used in insulators, electronic parts, sockets, connectors and 5G parts.

Petroleum and Natural Gas

PEEK is ideally suited for working environments in the oil and gas industry. Mostly used for sealing parts, piston seals, bushings, sleeves, valves, electrical insulation and submarine communication parts (impellers). PEEK maintains stable performance in high pressure, high corrosion and high temperature environments.

Aerospace

PEEK has superior pressure resistance and fatigue resistance. Compared with metal, it has a weight advantage and is often used in aerospace parts. For example, aircraft interiors, engine components, electrical connectors, screws, gears and connectors.

Medical Aesthetics & Healthcare

PEEK material is biocompatible, it is compatible with the human body and has no side effects. It is also used medically for medical devices and other medical applications such as: dental (dental trays), orthopedic implants (artificial bones), skull replacements, rehabilitation fixtures, and medical ventilators.

Food Processing & Packaging

PEEK material is often used in the food processing and packaging industries due to its excellent safety and low temperature absorption. Applicable to food processing equipment, sliding parts, compressor parts, pump parts, guide rails, packaging machinery parts.

Defense and Public Safety

PEEK is a super fire-resistant material. Because of its characteristics, it is often used in protective equipment, handheld instruments, and fire-fighting equipment parts.

Conclusion

After understanding the characteristics and processing methods of PEEK material, you can combine its characteristics to choose the most suitable processing solution for your project.

Tirapid offers custom machining services for PEEK parts. We use the highest quality Ensinger materials and provide standard material certification and reports.

When it comes to processing PEEK parts, Tirapid’s expert team provides you with the most economical processing solution.

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