Transitioning from PTFE to PFA

For low volume part production runs or prototyping, CNC-machining a custom part (or product) from polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or tetrafluoroethylene (TFE) is typically the most convenient, cost-effective option.

But what you might not know is that switching to injection-molded PFA can deliver several major, long-term benefits to your production process.

First, let’s look at the materials themselves. Out of all the fluoropolymers, PTFE is known for being highly flexible, chemical resistant and thermally stable. However, unlike PFA, PTFE can’t be injection molded.

CNC machining products or parts from PTFE can be a very expensive (and time-consuming) process –particularly if you’re moving from small part quantities to larger part quantities. In this scenario, switching to injection molded PFA parts is the far more efficient and cost-effective route.

For example, you might have a machined PTFE part that costs $300 to produce, but only $50 when that same part is created from molded PFA. It’s true that moving to PFA molding comes with a higher initial tooling cost,but if demand and volumes are high, you recoup your investment pretty quickly. There are two main reasons for this:

  • Lower cost per part
  • Shorter manufacturing turnaround times that allow you to fill demand faster

What other benefits does molded PFA have?

Aside from lower costs and faster production, moving to molded PFA delivers several other key benefits:

  • High-purity PFA resin has lower trace metal content than PTFE or TFM
  • There’s lower potential for trace metals contamination during the manufacturing process
  • Very intricate and complicated parts or product features can be molded, so more expensive CNC machining doesn’t always have to be part of the production process
  • PFA is translucent, unlike PTFE or TFM
  • Logos/markings can easily be molded onto parts

Want to learn more about fluoropolymer injection molding and blow molding solutions? Head over here.

Be sure to stay tuned for our next blog entry as we dive into the story of how we helped one of our customers make the jump from machined PTFE to molded PFA in their manufacturing process.