Monthly Archives: March 2015

DuPont Vespel for Aerospace, There Is No Substitute

There Simply Is No Substitute

Every time there is an accident in the air, the tragedy flashes across the news wires in a matter of minutes.  Most recently, a Blackhawk Helicopter exploded and we lost 11 of our Marine and Army troops. Most certainly we can all list a number of other incidents in the past year where many more lives have been lost. The cause of each and every incident is studied to the greatest possible lengths in order to improve safety and overall, air travel is extremely safe. I personally fly thousands of miles each year to visit customers and my wife is a former flight attendant who recently retired after a long career. But, no matter how safe flying is, it never lessens the loss when tragedy occurs.

Knowing the aerospace industry as I do I cannot help but think just how many people today are full of worry over every detail of a downed aircraft like the Blackhawk Helicopter, or the plane that slide off the runway in New York. What was the cause, was it a part failure, weather? Teams will do their absolute best to find out.

My work with engineering plastic materials at AIN Plastics, and DuPont™ Vespel® in particular, takes me to many aerospace facilities. Recently I was visiting a facility that makes the transmission and drive train components that are used in many of today’s military helicopters.  Every time I visit one of these facilities I must say I am amazed and impressed at the amount of testing and technology that goes into each and every one of these components.

For good reason, plastics like DuPont™ Vespel® have become a common component in many aerospace applications.  They help with weight reduction, reduce the need for lubrication, and increase the efficiency of the systems.  In some cases engineering plastics outperform traditional metals.

Make Sure It’s the Real Deal
Every time I hear a news report about an incident with an aircraft I truly hope that the failure was not caused by somebody taking a specification from an aircraft or aerospace customer and deciding to substitute a less expensive material that seems to be equivalent in place of the OEM specified material.  Throughout my years in the plastics industry I have seen this happen. Sometimes it may be done innocently enough with the thought they are getting something equivalent but saving a few dollars. However substitutions occur if an OEM specification is not met it can become a huge issue for the machine shop that made the part if or when part failure occurs.

Even recently there have been reported instances of DuPont™ Vespel® shapes being machined into smaller diameter counterfeit rod from larger diameter rod by unauthorized resellers.  In these instances, the unauthorized resellers attempt to sell the product as Authentic DuPont™ Vespel® shapes to unsuspecting machine shops.  They even go as far as altering the original Certificate of Conformance (CoC) to reference the smaller diameter.  These altered CoCs do not contain the correct lot number information intended to match product size and composition for traceability purposes. The bad news in all of this is that these ground rods don’t meet the ASTM D 6456-99, MIL-R-46198 or the OEM specifications. It may not seem like a big difference, but the fact is the characteristics of these ground rods do differ from rod made by DuPont’s proprietary isostatic molding process.

Please, make sure that when DuPont™ Vespel® is specified on a print by an OEM that you validate that your supplier is selling you Authentic DuPont™ Vespel® material.  Time and again places have found it is worth working with an authorized distributor like AIN Plastics to ensure they get the real deal.  I am very proud to say that AIN Plastics has a long history of being an Authorized Distributor and we stock only authentic DuPont™ Vespel®.

Photo---Paul-Hanson---ThumbnailPaul Hanson

Sales and Marketing Manager
DuPont Vespel®
ThyssenKrupp Materials NA
AIN Plastics Division