After PEEK had begun to capture the imagination of a handful of people, the first batch of the HPP was manufactured at ICI, a major chemical company, on November 19, 1978. Only three years later the commercialization of the first PEEK polymers, the “VICTREX PEEK” family including glass- and carbon-filled products, followed. Today, this versatile material is used to solve complex engineering challenges, often replacing metals.
“Today, PEEK´s impact can be felt high in the sky, deep in the ocean and even under the skin. There seems to be no limit to the ways people are turning PEEK into brilliant solutions,” says Jakob Sigurdsson, Victrex CEO. “Starting with a handful of employees, today more than 900 people wake up every day and focus on PEEK around the world, seeing success in Asia and the US, as well as in Europe. We operate three state-of-the art polymer manufacturing facilities with a total nameplate production capacity of 7150 tonnes. We also have facilities that enable us to make film, pipe, composite tape and other product forms and components. Although we’ve grown significantly, the heart of our business remains with our customers and the innovation, focus, knowledge, and passion of our people.” The inert properties of the versatile PAEK polymers are one main reason for their success. This family of polymers is ideally suited to extreme and demanding environments. While alternative materials can meet specific needs, PEEKs are located at the top of the polymer pyramid and can support multiple requirements. Their properties include light weight, high strength, and high resistance to wear, high temperatures, fatigue and aggressive chemicals. Together, these outstanding properties contribute to enhanced fuel efficiency, extended part life, greater comfort (smooth operation, less noise), more design freedom and greater cost efficiency.