Victrex Announces 30 Years of VICTREX PEEK Polymer Innovation


Thornton Cleveleys, UK - November marks the 30th anniversary of VICTREX PEEK polymer. Since the product's inception, Victrex and its customers have helped revolutionize the plastics market with this high-temperature, high-performance polyketone.

"In the last 30 years Victrex has emerged as the only business in the world that focuses exclusively on the development of polyketones, and this pinpointed commitment allows us to deliver specialized capabilities and services to our customers," said Richard Okupniak, Managing Director for the VICTREX PEEK polymer business.

"The history of Victrex stems back to the original patent of PEEK, and since then we have been able to further expand our product offerings with the development of unique polymers, proprietary blends, and high performance compounds. In November 1978, the business (then a plastics unit within ICI) began its PEEK production. The business was small-sized with a handful of employees. Today, Victrex employs more than 500 people around the world and operates two state-of-the art manufacturing facilities with a total production capacity of 4250 tonnes. Our products are featured in a variety of commercial applications in numerous markets from automotive and energy to consumer electronics. Although we've grown quite a bit, the heart of our business remains with our customers and the dedication, knowledge, and passion of our people," explains Okupniak.

Since 1978, the use of VICTREX PEEK polymer quickly spread around the world, initially into Western Europe and the United States to address customers' needs in the automotive and transportation sector. As businesses became global, Victrex successfully moved into Japan and then during the last decade, has delivered this unique polymer into China. Today, Victrex continues expansion into high growth markets such as India, Russia and Brazil.

Okupniak explains, "When it comes to anything to do with polyketones, we aim to deliver unique services and the highest quality products available, providing a strong sense of security and dependability to our customers. From sourcing supply and product development to manufacturing and delivery, we continue to invest in high quality infrastructure.

"For example, we have complete control over the benzophenone difluoride (BDF) raw material supply chain, which is unique in our industry. By being vertically integrated, Victrex is able to provide control and stability over the materials it produces, and this directly impacts product quality," says Okupniak. In 2005, Victrex acquired operations owned by a subsidiary of Degussa AG relating to the manufacture of BDF. This followed a previous acquisition of the primary manufacturing stage of BDF in 1999.

Due to its keen focus, Victrex is able to offer the most comprehensive polyketone product portfolio in the world. This means that its customers have the flexibility to choose from a wide range of materials to help solve their performance challenges. In addition, Victrex continues to focus on VICTREX PEEK polymer research and development, and is committed to maintaining a product portfolio that is fresh and active. Victrex offers a product range that has more than doubled in recent years including the launch of APTIV(TM) film and VICOTE® Coatings based on VICTREX PEEK polymer.

Customers also have access to the deepest polyketone experience in the industry. Victrex has a £1.5 million, 900 square-metre Applied Technology Centre in the UK that is an extension of the company's product and application development facilities, providing material specification and testing services. The Centre houses processing labs featuring extrusion and compounding equipment for new product development, as well as state-of-the-art injection molding machines, with the capability to support customer trials on-site, and tooling for molding experimental samples and test pieces.

The processing labs can bring a customer's product design to life, making use of the latest injection molding and compression molding techniques. Victrex helps contribute to the optimization of a customer's design and can assist in establishing a set of manufacturing parameters according to the particular materials being selected, as well as carry out an extensive set of relevant analytical and application-related tests to confirm the real-world feasibility of a part. This can take away any uncertainty from a customer's product design and in many cases opens up new design alternatives for customers.

The UK Centre complements the Victrex Asia Innovation and Technology Center located in Shanghai, China. Based on the same advanced services, the state-of-the-art 2000 square-metre facility is dedicated to VICTREX PEEK polymer-based application and testing. Customers enjoy local-language staff, technical seminars, process and troubleshooting support, molds validation and prototyping.

Victrex's leadership position in the high performance materials market has been formally recognized. The company is a multiple winner of the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise: International Trade in 1987, 1997, 2002 and 2006. It attained the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RosPA) President's Award in 2008 in recognition of sustained occupational health and safety achievement after winning 10 consecutive RoSPA Gold Awards.

For more information about Victrex and its 30-year anniversary of VICTREX PEEK polymer, visit www.victrexpeekturns30.com or www.victrex.com

About Victrex

Headquartered in the UK, Victrex plc is an innovative leading manufacturer of high performance materials, including VICTREX® PEEK(TM) polymer, VICOTE® Coatings and APTIV(TM) film. These materials are used in a variety of markets and offer an exceptional combination of properties to help processors and end users reach new levels of cost savings, quality, and performance. All Victrex material production comes under Victrex's ISO 9001 quality registration.

VICTREX® is a registered trademark of Victrex Manufacturing Limited. PEEK(TM), PEEK-HT(TM) and APTIV(TM) are trademarks of Victrex plc. VICOTE® is a registered trademark of Victrex plc.

Debbie Groark

Victrex plc

Global Marketing Communications Manager

Tel: + 1 585 381-5139

Claire Walker

Techworks Asia Ltd

Tel: +44 (0) 1296 620201

Glenn Howes Techworks Asia Ltd

Tel: +852 2525 8977

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