Victrex plc, a UK-based global world leader in high performance polyaryletherketone (PAEK) polymers is planning to increase its global technology leadership with the construction of a major Polymer Innovation Center in northern England. Financial assistance for the project has come in the form of $2 million in grant funding from the UK government’s Regional Growth Fund, subject to satisfactory due diligence, which recognizes the vital, rapidly accelerating importance of high performance polymers in the global marketplace.
"Victrex is continuing to invest in cutting-edge technological leadership in advanced polymers," commented Dr John Grasmeder, Technical Director at Victrex. "Improved application performance at the same or reduced cost is a common objective that we’re helping our customers to address across industries. The aircraft industry, for example, is now embracing newly-developed technology for major cost and weight savings combined with accelerated assembly times. That's just one example among hundreds."
High performance polymers based on PAEK, including VICTREX® PEEK, are increasingly being sought out for this and other demanding applications in industry sectors that include consumer electronics, automotive, energy, and medical. At the same time, Victrex is helping manufacturers to meet the need for demanding, more efficient processing techniques, in order to save costs and speed up time-to-market. In a fast-moving market which thrives on continuous advances in research & development (R&D), the planned Polymer Innovation Center will increase capacity to turn lab concepts - engineers' dreams - into real-world solutions and processes that can sustain mass production. The facility will enable the scaling up of new products and applications to full commercialization for Victrex's global customers.
Victrex has always maintained a relatively large investment in R&D and the Polymer Innovation Center will sustain that theme. In 2014, Victrex invested over $23 million, 6% of sales, into its R&D programs. The new investment, together with funding from the UK government´s Regional Growth Fund, will build on that record, while also recognizing the future jobs potential for the north-west of England, where Victrex’s headquarters are based. The project is expected to help in the creation of over 80 direct and indirect jobs over the next 10 years and could ultimately see a total $24.6 million investment.
“This boost from the UK government's Regional Growth Fund is great news for Victrex, in enabling our company to continue pioneering the market for high performance polymers well into the future," said David Hummel, Chief Executive of Victrex. "As a global world leader and major UK exporter, our past success and our future prosperity is founded on technical excellence and a world-class manufacturing capability. While we are already a global champion, having the right technical skills is key to continued innovation for our customers across the globe."
Victrex’s return to double-digit growth in 2014, with sales of $390 million, was helped by a strategy that focuses on high-volume and high-value targets and utilises the company's technical excellence, marketing know-how and innovation across its five chosen focus markets of automotive, aerospace, electronics, energy, and medical.