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Hi-tech plastics firm to create 60 jobs

The polymer innovation centre at Victrex
The polymer innovation centre at Victrex

Around 60 jobs are set to be created by thermoplastics specialist Victrex at its newly opened £10m research site in Thornton.

The Hillhouse-based firm has launched its Polymer Innovation Centre which aims to come up with new plastics and uses including developing polymers for 3D printing.

It aims to make the Fylde coast a world class centre of research and development in the plastics industry.

The company gained £1.3m for the Regional Growth Fund to help create the centre and the jobs which will be seen as high value and a boost to the local economy.

The new facility will further develop the firm’s PAEK (polyaryletherketones) which are used in a range of industries from aerospace to electronics and medical where the PAEK plastics are often used to replace metal parts.

Jakob Sigurdsson, the new CEO at Victrex,said: “We continue to expand our PAEK- based portfolio, services and technologies into new markets and new applications.

“It will further enhance our capacity for research and development where we will continue to work in close and continuous cooperation with our customers and partners in driving new and differentiated polymer solutions.”

Victrex is currently leading a consortium backed by Innovate UK to focus on 3D printing and the new 16m high building with its state-of-the-art pilot-scale process technology opens up new dimensions for the development of polymers.

Victrex story:

ICI invented the PEEK range of plastics in 1978 of which PAEK is a member.

Victrex arose from the former ICI chemicals site by the river Wyre at Thornton in 1993 after a management buyout.

Victrex launched its Invibio division to focus on medical devices market. It opened a second PEEK plant at Hillhouse in 2008 and a third in 2015 alongside a second unit for its specialist thin polymer Aptiv film.

This year it has embarked on a joint-venture to form TxV Aero Composites and has acquired Zyex PEEK fibres to expand the business.