Building our fluoropolymer process capabilities
Savillex has over 40 years of fluoropolymer experience under its belt. So, it’s not a big stretch to say that we consider ourselves the industry experts in producing fluoropolymer products that meet our customers’ needs.
However, producing these products successfully has meant that we’ve also needed to develop several proprietary manufacturing processes. These processes are what allow us to create parts to exact specifications, avoid fluoropolymer processing defects – such as bubbles, delamination and flow marks – and solve challenging problems for customers.
Here is a quick breakdown of the manufacturing processes that we use to make our products:
- PFA (perfluoro alkoxy)
- FEP (fluorinated ethylene/propylene)
- PVDF (polyvinylidene difluoride)
- ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene)
- PCTFE (polychlorotrifluoroethylene)
Stretch Blow Molding
- Plastics focused
- CNC, lathe, and milling
The Savillex process (behind our processes)
Our manufacturing process development often begins with the customer. Understanding the problem (or problems) we are solving for them is key to any process’ success. Although, we often work directly from a specification when the end use is proprietary to the customer.
After understanding the customer’s requirements, we begin by developing a meaningful drawing or specification for the product. We’ll conduct design reviews that involve our experts in design engineering, process engineering, tooling, and machining. Coordinating these resources is vital to the entire process.
Manufacturing process development is a major part of product development – especially with fluoropolymers. When resins such as PFA, FEP, and PVDF are required, we have a high level of confidence that we can mold these products to meet specification. We are also very familiar with the required geometries, molding process restrictions, tooling design and material. All these areas must work together seamlessly to ensure success.
When developing manufacturing processes for new fluoropolymer materials, we take a slightly different approach. First, we engage the resin manufacturer for information on the processing of the material. Factors to consider include mold material of construction, barrel and screw requirements and processing conditions.
Next, we move into sampling, which could take as little as a few sample runs, to dozens of sampling runs. Generally speaking – the more unknowns that are involved, the longer the process. A recent example would be our successful development of the first stretch blow molded ETFE bottle. The first sample required months of process development, and the release of the final product took almost a year.
Fusion welding is another area that we are required to develop processes for. Most of this work – if it is with a familiar resin such as PFA and FEP – involves the development of fixtures for different part sizes.
We also take into consideration the sequence of welds, as some of the weldments can be large and complicated. Again, fusion welding process development is coordinated via input from design engineering, process engineering and tooling.
Developing a viable machining process involves understanding tolerance and surface finish requirements. Coordination of fixture building with tooling, and programming the equipment is also needed. When dealing with new materials, some trial sampling may be required to understand how the materials respond to cutters, speeds and feed rates.
As you can see from this quick overview, our approach to developing effective fluoropolymer processes involves effective coordination of resources, a detail-oriented approach, and rigorous trialing to ensure we can consistently meet customer needs.
Our technical team is ready to help you with your next product requirement no matter how challenging it may seem. Drop us a line to learn more or request and quote and one of our experts will get in touch.