High temperature resistant polymer replaces stainless steel in beverage bottling machines

Solidur, one of Brazil’s largest high-performance plastics processing companies, has selected VICTREX® PEEK™ polymer, manufactured by Victrex Polymer Solutions, leading provider of high performance polyaryletherketones, to replace stainless steel filling valves in beverage bottling machines and the housings responsible for placing the threaded cap on each bottle. VICTREX PEEK polymer was chosen for its ability to withstand the high temperatures of the sterilization process and for its abrasion resistance. The stainless steel material previously used in the bottling machines suffered excessive wearing due to friction between the valve and the valve counterpart. We replaced the metal and reduced weight with VICTREX PEEK components which increased the system lifetime,” said Marivaldo Muniz, Industrial Director at Solidur. “The low coefficient of thermal expansion and the dimensional stability of VICTREX PEEK polymer also solved the problem that lower performance polymers could not. PE-UHMW, Acetal and PTFE components all locked or melted in the counterpart and stopped the bottling production due to thermal expansion when juice sterilization required continuous operating temperatures of 95°C (203°F).” As an additional benefit from switching to VICTREX PEEK polymer housings, Solidur was able to reduce the cutting machine noise that was created by the grinding of steel against steel and of steel against glass. Dimensional stability was also critical because of the very tight tolerances of the stainless steel. VICTREX PEEK polymer provides the high mechanical strength and chemical and wear resistance needed for the components. In addition to excellent thermal resistance and dimensional stability, VICTREX PEEK polymer is non-toxic and certified for food contact by the FDA. “The switch to VICTREX PEEK polymer increased the equipment lifetime performance, reduced the production downtime and increased productivity rates,” said Ricardo Ehlke, Victrex Market Development Manager in South America.
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