IPE has also increasingly put Solvay's Spire Ultra Polymers to use due to the broad benefits of these materials, including high stiffness and hardness, and excellent resistance to chemicals and high temperatures. For example, IPE fabricates microtubes made from Solvay's KetaSpire polyetheretherketone (PEEK) resin that deliver greater strength and rigidity than polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) microtubes, and they are easier to work with compared to those made of stainless steel. These microtubes target a range of medical applications including catheters, endoscopic working channels, and laparoscopic instruments. KetaSpire PEEK is one of the industry’s most chemically resistant polymers that offers excellent strength, superior fatigue resistance, and a continuous-use temperature of 240°C (464°F). IPE now uses it to make a range of microfilament sizes, as well as microbore tubing with 0.012-in OD x 0.010-in ID (0.3 mm OD x 0.25 mm ID).
IPE also used Solvay's AvaSpire polyaryletherketone (PAEK) resin, a versatile family of polymers tailored to provide new and unique combinations of performance and value, to extrude 0.06-in (1.5 mm) monofilaments. The company further introduced 0.06-in (1.5 mm) monofilaments made of Solvay's Torlon polyamide-imide (PAI) resin, which offers the highest strength and stiffness of any thermoplastic up to 275°C (527°F). Additional monofilaments are fabricated with Solvay's PrimoSpire self-reinforced polyphenylene (SRP) resin, one of the stiffest and strongest unreinforced polymers in the world. Solvay's Halar ethylene chlorotrifluoroethylene (ECTFE) resin, a partially fluorinated, melt-processable polymer, is also specified by IPE for 0.06-in (1.5 mm) monofilaments due to its excellent chemical resistance and lubricity.
IPE specializes in custom extruded profiles, tube, sheet, and rod made of nylon, PTFE, polyurethane, polycarbonate, and other thermoplastics for the medical, lighting, and industrial markets. The company is able to achieve its products’ small diameter sizes by finding an optimal balance between line speed, processing temperature and appropriate tooling and drawdown ratio.
Solvay polymers in high-precision IPE's products