PEEK Adapter & Back-up Rings:
Manufacturing for O&G on the Wings of “Kentucky Windage”
Hi-Tech began producing adapter rings and back up rings that are part of larger Oil & Gas Industry ring stacks in 2017. We reduced cost, improved performance and increased lifespan by using Glass-filled PEEK to replace brass.
This was a very challenging manufacturing exercise because PEEK doesn’t necessarily want to uniformly flow into the shape you choose –especially based on a ring’s circularity requirements and the fact that PEEK is semi-crystalline. Add the fact that PEEK shrinks differently in flow versus cross flow directions, and it’s easy to understand why other manufacturers didn’t take on this challenge.
Hi-Tech invested the time and resources to fine tune a process that adjusts the injection mold tool so that the steel is not exactly like the final component geometry. The steel tool is made as an oval, but the molded part shrinks and cools to a circle. This is something Hi-Tech likes to call “Kentucky Windage,” after the process target shooters use to account for the effect of the wind on blustery ranges. We design the tool for the part’s final, cooled outcome.
This application went beyond ring molding. We helped our customer build more robust prints to reflect all their end-customer’s requirements and create a more complete solution. We went through several iterations of tooling to dial in tight tolerances and get it perfect. Lastly, Hi-Tech installed Go/No Go fixtures at each operation to ensure that parts are meeting print at all points, improving quality and reducing rejections.