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EconCore's summit on thermoplastic honeycomb technology

Dec '19
Pic: Econcore
Pic: Econcore
Delegates from Europe, North America and Asia representing industries such as commercial transport, automotive, industrial packaging, construction and furniture manufacturing, gathered at a summit hosted by EconCore in Leuven, Belgium to share their experiences with the thermoplastic honeycomb technology. It was EconCore’s fourth technology summit.

The technology is licensed worldwide and the event, held every two years, provides an outstanding opportunity for all licensees to learn how others are using the patented technology and to share their experiences.

Each licensee delivered a presentation to share its commercial journey with the thermoplastic honeycomb technology and new applications the products are being used for. This included automotive interior components and lightweight solutions for trucks and trailers. Other applications ranged from panelling for the construction industry, underlay flooring solutions and industrial packaging to acoustic absorption panels and outdoor furniture.

For example, Fynotej in Mexico who specialise in the production of non-woven products and panels with honeycomb technology for several different industries, participated with Salomón and Daniel Kalach Micha, vice president of Operations and vice president of Manufacturing. Salamón Kalach said: “We’ve been licensing this technology for 18 months now. This allows us to offer a more complete solution to our customers. For example, we’ve taken one of our existing products, a non-woven carpet for the automotive industry and laminated it onto a honeycomb core rather than just supplying a non-woven carpet. The result is a lighter product and fewer processes in the supply chain.”

EconCore shared the latest research findings in developing the technology for future applications. Wouter Winant, technical manager for EconCore delivered sessions on research to produce a honeycomb core using RPET material. This brings major cost reductions from using 95 per cent recycled material along with a significantly lower carbon dioxide footprint.

Edwin Richards, technical sales manager in the UK for Tata Steel’s Coretinium product said: “This event is a fantastic way to meet other licensees using the technology in different ways. Everyone is keen to share their experiences to help others who may be working through a similar challenge. This shared learning is such a valuable process for everyone that attended.”

The EconCore process produces honeycomb made from a range of thermoplastic polymers. It is extruded directly from a machine or a roll of material, which is then thermoformed, folded and bonded. The resulting product is a very cost-efficient honeycomb core that can be produced in various cell sizes and densities. It can then be sandwiched with any material such as carbon fibre, plastic or aluminium, depending on the application.

The end-product is a lightweight thermoformable panel, with desirable performance characteristics that can be produced very cost effectively and used in a wide range of industry sectors.

Dr. Jochen Pflug, chief executive officer of Econcore said: “It’s inspiring to see how each company is using the technology in such different ways. At EconCore we’re continuing to carry out research using advanced plastics. This is particularly relevant for applications in rail and aerospace with more stringent FST (fire, smoke, toxicity) regulations.

“We share findings on the exploratory work we’ve carried out into new markets and how a honeycomb core can offer an improved solution over conventional products. There are many more viable applications across the world that we have yet to address and I’m very optimistic about the future of the EconCore honeycomb core technology.”

Currently there are over 12 licensees who are using the honeycomb sandwich production technology, offering innovative solutions in their respective industries.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (SV)

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