New materials compete with metals

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Piper Plastics Inc. has developed a family of reinforced thermoplastics with exceptional strength.

Piper, based in Chandler, Ariz., has debuted Kyron Max series, which it claims bridges the performance gap between standard injection molding compounds and pre-preg layup thermoset composites. The firm says parts can be injection molded at high volumes and approach the strength of metals and lay-up composites.

Piper’s highest performance materials are in its Max ES and XS groups. For these technologies Piper provides the materials and does injection molding using proprietary technology. Parts made in these groups have tensile strength higher than steel while weighing far less than steel or titanium. As well, components’ costs would be lower than lay-up thermosets because of injection molding’s productivity.

Piper’s Max S group comprises performance materials that can be processed by conventional injection molding. Piper provides the materials in this group but not its proprietary molding technology. Materials in this class can maintain strength at lower fiber loadings.

Piper materials engineering manager Dave Wilkinson said the Kyron Max materials are based on engineering polymers like polyetheretherketone, polyphenylene sulfide and high-performance nylon, and a new type of carbon fiber or regular carbon fibers or glass.

Strength of the materials reflects Piper’s sizing technology that promotes good adhesion between the polymer and fiber. Molding the highest-performing materials requires special process conditions developed by Piper. The firm builds its own equipment to solve the technical difficulties.

“We understand factors critical to component design, the influence of reinforcements and additives and the effects of processing and tool design,” Wilkinson explains. “Knowing the complexities of plastics is essential to reliable replacement of metals.”

In addition to Piper’s headquarters in Chandler, Ariz., the company also has operations in Libertyville, Ill., and Rayong, Thailand.

Tel. 480-926-8100, fax 480-497-1530, email azsales@piperplastics.com.