Carbon Fiber Reinforced PEEK Compound Reduces Compressor Down Time
Compressor pressure plate made with an RTP 2200 Series low flow, carbon fiber reinforced PEEK compound provides longevity and stability in volatile environments.
Compressor manufacturers and customers alike require long life and low cost with an expanding operating envelope that includes higher temperatures and speeds. A key element to meeting these ever-evolving performance expectations is a tough compressor valve plate with high thermal and dimensional stability.
In response to these demanding property requirements, Hoerbiger Corporation, the world’s largest independent compressor valve manufacturer, chose to work with RTP Company. They agreed on an RTP 2200 Series low flow, carbon fiber reinforced PEEK compound for their valve sealing elements, or valve plates.
Valve plates are used in a wide range of compressor applications across different gas compositions and operating temperatures, acting as seals between different pressure zones within the compressor. They open when differential pressures between zones are reached and allow gases to flow from high to low pressure regions during the compression cycle.
According to Tim Bremner, Vice President of Materials Technology at Hoerbiger, “Valve plate materials must provide a high degree of physical strength while maintaining high impact and cyclic fatigue resistance. In many instances, compressor plates compress highly acidic or caustic gas streams, posing serious challenges for the chemical compatibility of the valve plate material.”
“The main benefit of RTP Company’s PEEK compound is the high flexural modulus achieved through careful incorporation of carbon fiber into the resin matrix during compounding,” explained Bremner. “This material greatly improves the lifespan of sealing elements in the valve. There is a dramatic increase in overall reliability and high temperature performance when compared to other commonly used valve plate materials.”
“Longer life contributes to less frequent unplanned shut-down events,” said Bremner. “In high demand environments, compressor reliability is critical. It’s not uncommon for the failure of a commercial compressor to incur downtime losses in the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour.”
Hoerbiger chose RTP Company as a supplier because of its strong sourcing position, strong technical capabilities, and experience with compounding engineering polymers. “RTP Company is the right size and the right fit to help us. They have a great collaborative/cooperative environment for problem solving and material design,” added Bremner.
Several RTP Company materials are used by Hoerbiger based on the technical and strategic needs of different markets and applications.
“While we are certainly a growing company, RTP Company provides the desired personal feel and attention to our needs — meeting our requirements for a preferred provider,” said Bremner. “They have excellent customer service and a corporate strategy that allows for developmental partnerships and strong support for their customers.”
Hoerbiger Corporation is a multinational organization specializing in compression, automation, and drive technologies. Manufacturing of valve sealing elements for the Hoerbiger Compression Technology division is based in Pompano Beach, FL. For more information, visit www.hoerbiger.com.