Published On: Wed, Dec 21st, 2011

Solvay Specialty Polymers’ PEEK resin chosen to seal rings for high ductility

According to a recent press release from Solvay Specialty Polymers, ATO Srl, a leading compression molder of high-performance

semi-finished goods based in Milan, Italy, is producing flexible seal rings using a grade of its KetaSpire polyetheretherketone (PEEK) resin, for its exceptional ductility for oil and gas, food processing, medical, and pharmaceutical applications.

Explaining the choice, Davide Polloni, Market Development Manager for ATO, is quoted as saying that KetaSpire KT-820 PEEK provides greater flexibility and elasticity than competitive PEEK grades. For example, these parts can be folded or twisted in half and then twisted again into three or four small concentric rings.

Compression molded seal rings made of KetaSpire PEEK can also be softer and easily machined, adds Mr Polloni.

Flexible PEEK seal rings are manufactured via standard compression molding and with ATO’s specially designed Hot Compression Molding (HCM) process. A custom-made HCM machine, developed with a machine partner, produces highly elastic, high-performance semi-finished parts with 30% elongation, which is said to be triple that of traditional compression molding. The elongation test is done on samples manufactured directly from semi-finished products, not from samples made via injection molding. It is also said that a special feature of the HCM process is the repeatability of the production cycle through computer-controlled parameters to ensure high quality and highly consistent products. In addition, the entire production cycle can be traced by the unique identification label for each semi-finished product.

ATO manufactures compression molded seals with a diameter from 2.5cm to 50cm and thicknesses of 15mm to 70mm. The company also develops custom compounds based on KetaSpire PEEK using PTFE, graphite, glass, carbon fiber, and other special materials to meet customers’ specific performance requirements.

As introduced by Solvay Specialty Polymers, KetaSpire PEEK offers a combination of superlative properties that allow it to replace metal in some of the most severe end-use environments. It is said to be one of the industry’s most chemically resistant plastics and offers excellent strength, superior fatigue resistance, and a continuous-use temperature in excess of 240簞C. The company stresses that KetaSpire PEEK’s low coefficient of linear thermal expansion (CLTE) helps to ensure strong dimensional stability and tight tolerances.


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