Alkmaar, The Netherlands
Fuel housings for aerospace applications have very complex inner geometries which are not moldable using conventional injection technology. Injection molding specialist Egmond Plastic has combined its fusible-core technology with a PEEK polymer provided by Victrex Polymer Solutions, located in Lancashire, England.
Egmond Plastic's fusible core enables moldings of complex hollow housings, manifolds, and pipes. Carbon fiber reinforced grades of VICTREX® PEEK polymer eliminate the use of a separate bearing; the bearing is instead integrated into the overall design of the housing.
Benefits of the carbon fiber reinforced VICTREX PEEK polymer include better manufacturing speed and weight reduction, leading to improved fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions. Along with part consolidation, the technology and material combination enables the design of very complex parts, beyond the capabilities of standard injection molding and metal processes.
Utilizing a near net-shape manufacturing process for the fusible core saves time compared to the use of machined parts. Secondary treatments for corrosion protection, such as anodizing, can also be eliminated.
Previously, end-users had specified aluminum for the production of fuel-containing parts. A carbon fiber reinforced PEEK polymer, however, meets engineering requirements for stiffness, effective flame, smoke and toxicity (FST) performance, and resistance to aggressive chemicals, including resistance to jet fuel and Skydrol® hydraulic fluid. Parts range in size, up to 30 × 30 × 40 cm (11.8 × 11.8 × 15.8 in). Typically, the process is used for production runs of up to 2,000 parts.
Egmond's fusible-core technology and VICTREX PEEK have already been used in a fuel pump for the Eurofighter Typhoon, a jet fighter in use in several European countries. The pump has been in successful operational use for more than 20 years.
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