Minneapolis, MN–April 4, 2012–Plastic-molded components produced by Diversified Plastics, Inc. are currently speeding through space towards Jupiter aboard NASA’s Juno Space Probe. The craft was launched August 5, 2011 and is expected to begin orbiting the planet in early July, 2016.
The plastic components are part of the JADE (Jovian Auroral Distributions Experiment) device. The JADE sensors are designed to measure and identify electron and ion particles, along Jupiter’s magnetic fields, that create the planet’s jovian auroral displays. JADE was developed for the Juno mission by a nationally recognized, independent research and development laboratory. JADE is one of 29 instruments aboard the Juno spacecraft.
“We were approached to produce the plastic components because of our expertise with highperformance thermoplastics and our willingness to produce high-precision, small-quantity parts,” said Annette Lund, vice president, Diversified Plastics. “The customer’s specifications included using polyether ether ketone (PEEK) and we have experience molding this thermoplastic material for our medical device customers. Additionally, we’ve had prior aerospace experience molding plastic components made of Torlon® for NASA’s Space Shuttle program.”
PEEK is used for very demanding applications and in harsh environments. This high-performance material provides very good dimensional stability, high strength, low weight, excellent resistance to high-energy radiation and can withstand the extreme variations in temperature found in space travel. PEEK is an expensive material and is difficult to mold, requiring to be heated to very high temperatures during the molding process.
Diversified Plastics produced two, short-run orders — one for testing and one for final production components. “Production for the JADE device was unique,” said Lund. “We made three different components, with two of them using metal inserts. One part required molding PEEK around an aluminum ring and the second part needed multiple aluminum inserts machined first, then pressfit into the molded plastic. We were able to perform all the operations in house, saving our customer time and money.”
About Diversified Plastics, Inc.
Diversified Plastics is a custom injection molder of high-precision, close tolerance, small- to medium-sized injection molded components for medical device, filtration, aerospace and a variety of other industrial markets. The 35-year-old company is a full-service injection molder, from design assistance and mold construction, to intricate molding and clean room assembly. Diversified Plastics is ISO 9001:2008 and 13485:2003 certified, and UL registered.
Torlon® is a registered trademark of Solvay Advanced Polymers.