Apr 6, 2017 | By Tess

Victrex plc, a British supplier of high-performance polymers, has announced the acquisition of Zyex, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of PEEK fibers for the aerospace, automotive, and industrial markets. The acquisition, which saw Victrex pay £10 million in cash for the Gloucestershire-based company, will allow it to further explore the use of PEEK fibers in 3D printing applications.

Zyex, which currently employs 22 people at its manufacturing facility in Gloucestershire, brought in revenues of about £7 million in the financial year (up to March 31) for its polyetheretherketone (PEEK) fibers. PEEK, a thermoplastic polymer, is gaining more and more attention within the 3D printing world, as its properties (which offer strength and durability similar to some metals, while maintaining the lightweight characteristics of plastics) are increasingly in demand across various industries, notably the auto manufacturing sector.

The acquisition is reportedly part of Victrex’s strategy to develop semi-finished and differentiated materials based on PEEK and PAEK (polyaryletherketone) high-performance polymers. With Zyex’s PEEK manufacturing business, Victrex will be equipped to further investigate the use of PEEK fibers in 3D printing.

PEEK material

Notably, the acquisition will help Victrex to expand on its 3D printing consortium, which it launched in May 2016. The additive manufacturing consortium, funded by government program Innovate UK, brought together a number of companies to develop PAEK 3D printing materials for a range of different industries.

David Hummel, chief executive of Victrex, commented on the £10 million deal, saying: "The acquisition of Zyex is compelling for Victrex, enabling us to not only drive future growth opportunities within well-aligned markets and developing application areas, but to also secure some incremental revenue today.”

Victrex was founded in 1993 through a management buyout from Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), a chemical company which no longer exists. Similarly, Zyex was launched in the mid 1980s as a business unit of ICI Fibres.

“Like Victrex, Zyex was formed out of ICI and the two companies coming together is a natural evolution” added Hummel. “Whilst Zyex is well-established, Victrex's global reach, innovation focus, and proven track record of building new markets offers an attractive opportunity to further develop the business over the coming years.”

In other PEEK-related news, French tech services company Rescoll recently partnered with Italian 3D printer manufacturer 3NTR to develop a low-cost (under $300K) FDM 3D printer specifically designed for 3D printing PEEK and other high-performance thermoplastics.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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