In semicon, lightweight – when replacing metal with PEEK in a product – is important, explains Kunst. “Just like the fact that our products retain the properties of the bulk material, which engineers are already familiar with. As a specific application, we make a lot of manifolds (for the distribution of fluid flows, ed.), because of the leak-tightness of our voidless products and the chemical resistance of PEEK.” In the energy market, PEEK has long been used in the oil & gas industry, due to its chemical resistance.
Kunst shows a part for an energy-efficient oil pump made from the hard, difficult to machine super duplex stainless steel. “We can print it much faster in PEEK and now we are going to optimize the design as well.” Tim Veldhuis, application development engineer, adds: “Here you can clearly see the combination of printing and finishing. For functional surfaces, because they have to be closed off, we print a little bit of extra material, which we then mill to a smooth size. This gives us the best of both worlds and is only possible because our product is voidless. If it wasn’t, milling would put holes in it, so it wouldn’t seal.”