West Conshohocken, PA - (January 19, 2007) - When TI Automotive was looking for a material for the retaining component of its high pressure quick connectors (HPQCs), it chose VICTREX® PEEK(TM) polymer because of its ability to withstand high pressures and high temperatures. The patent pending HPQCs are designed as a replacement for threaded connectors used in various automotive systems such as brakes and power steering. Primarily an automotive supplier, TI Automotive also plans to market the connectors for industrial type applications that use hydraulic lines.
According to Leland Haines, TI Automotive Sales Manager for Connectors, "HPQCs eliminate the problems associated with threaded connectors. For example, threaded connections typically need to be connected within specified torque limits. With our HPQCs, however, you just snap the connector in place. The O-rings seal the joint and there is no need for torque equipment. You eliminate all that maintenance and all those process controls required to ensure a good seal. Plus, HPQCs offer an easier connection method in areas where space is tight. "
HPQCs are typically used in high temperature, high vibration environments where joints are exposed to the elements. "The critical component of the joint is the retainer," explains Haines. "Using VICTREX PEEK polymer for the component allows us to meet high pressure loads under temperature and vibration without degradation of performance over time. While all plastics creep to some extent, it is critical that the retainer component be able to withstand creep especially under high temperatures and loads."
VICTREX PEEK polymer is a high performance, easy to process, thermoplastic with a unique combination of properties including exceptional chemical, wear, electrical and temperature resistance combined with dimensional stability. These properties enable engineers to deliver cost-effective and improved components across a broad range of industries including automotive, aerospace, semiconductor, electronics, industrial, medical, food processing and defense.
TI Automotive tested a number of other thermoplastics when developing the connectors but Haines says, "We kept coming back to VICTREX PEEK polymer. At the end of the day, we realized that the polymer was naturally resistant to both the pressure and vibration. Plus, it didn't creep under load, and the failure modes were more robust. We needed to have something that was robust, as brakes are a safety item as are machines where you have high pressures. You have to have confidence that your product is going to withstand the elements and the application."
Another benefit of using VICTREX PEEK polymer says Haines is that "We can get the geometry from a molded plastic part that we were unable to obtain from other materials because of the critical nature of the design. With a molded part, some unique types of geometries are possible that work very well for these small compact fittings."
While the HPQCs are not yet being utilized in automotive brake systems, Haines believes it's just a matter of time. "They are currently undergoing durability testing in a number of programs and we expect to go to production in a couple of years." He explains that the automotive industry is quite conservative in its approach to change. "They've been using threaded fasteners for years and change is never easy," Haines says. "The same thing happened when we started selling connectors to the fuel industry in the early 1980's. Once the industry got comfortable with the change, and once the manufacturing plants got comfortable, they loved the connectors. HPQCs take a lot of the manufacturing issues out of play because what they offer is an engineered joint that reliably goes together very quickly, reducing labor."
Victrex USA Inc., a division of Victrex plc., is the sole manufacturer and supplier of VICTREX PEEK polymer worldwide. For more information on the properties and performance advantages of VICTREX PEEK polymer, please call (800) VICTREX or visit the Victrex website at www.victrex.com.