Putting steel in the shade: PEEK valve plates last 12x longer

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  • PEEK replaces steel in valve plates of compressors
  • Higher reliability and longer service life than steel
  • PEEK valve plates help to save energy
  • HuanTian Industrial and Victrex cooperate to establish industry standard

The efficiency and reliability of reciprocating compressors can be substantially improved through the use of valve plates made of PEEK material. This is the conclusion built on usage results at the end-users of the Chinese compressor component manufacturer HuanTian Compressor and Victrex.

PEEK features higher efficiency and reliability than steel

The valve plate is a key component in reciprocating compressors with a direct impact on their efficiency and reliability. When steel, with its significantly shorter service life, is used, steel splinters could cause serious damage to the cylinder, piston and piston ring if the valve plate breaks. The use of durable PEEK plates will avoid such asset losses in the future and will provide end users in the oil and gas industry or in fertilizer production plants with a noticeable added value by reducing downtimes and the associated costs.

Valve plates made of Victrex PEEK 450GL30 (source: Victrex)

Valve plates made of Victrex PEEK 450GL30 (source: Victrex)

Companies cooperate to establish industry standard

In a natural gas compressor, for example, valve plates made of Victrex PEEK 450GL30 can work continuously for twelve months, whereas the steel plates generally fractured after about one month. Now, the HuanTian Industrial/Victrex partnership activity has proved that the durable, high-performance polymer has the potential to take its place as the industry standard in China. The two companies have teamed up to establish a standard for the China Compressor Standard Committee for the use of Victrex PEEK 450GL30 and 450CA30 as a valve plate raw material.

PEEK valve plates help to save energy

Besides having a significantly longer service life, PEEK valve plates also help to save energy during the opening and closing process. This is because air flow loss is reduced by their better wear characteristics, surface matching, elasticity and sealability. The polymer plates also produce a lower noise level than steel.

Weight savings up to 40% compared to aluminium in aerospace industry

For more than 36 years, PEEK has been used successfully in a wide variety of industries, including the automotive, aviation, and oil and gas industries, as a replacement for metal. At the recent K-Show the company showcased the performance of their polyaryletherketones (PAEK) product portfolio across a broad temperature range. Victrex PEEK 90HMF40, which was accredited by Airbus, permits weight savings of up to 40% compared to aluminium. The polymer is characterised by up to 100 times longer fatigue strength and up to 20% higher specific strength and stiffness as compared with aluminium 7075-T6 used in the aerospace industry under the same conditions.

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