This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.

 The strong, lightweight and cost-effective honeycombing process lends itself to the production of such vehicle parts as luggage compartment floors and many other instances of plastic panelling


Design and development continues at in- the-news Japanese automotive OEMToyota, which has adopted an interior part using honeycombmaterial for its newhybrid model Prius PHV launched earlier this year. Based on ThermHex thermoplastic

honeycomb core technology developed by EconCore, the part is used in the boot cover of the car. Itwas achieved using technology licensed fromEconCore by Gifu Plastic Industry fromJapan. Due to its combination of strength, rigidity and ultra-lowweight, the honeycomb deliversweight savings of 50 per cent comparedwith previous conventionalmaterial set-ups based on metal. Furthermore, the versatility of the

technology allows direct lamination of thermoplastic skins aswell as other facing layers (including for instance composites andmetal) onto the thermoplastic honeycomb core to offer lightweight sandwich panels suitable for different applications. Gifu Plastic started to use the ThermHex

process tomake thermoplastic honeycomb products for packaging and logistics applications. Recently the company has extended to automotive interiors,where light, rigid and easy to thermoform honeycomb corematerials have attracted interest in Europe and North America.

FOLDED HONEYCOMB ThermHex is a continuous process for the production of thermoplastic honeycombs integrated with in-line lamination of skin layers, by successive in-line operations, either directly from the extruder or from a roll of material. The versatile technology allows direct lamination of thermoplastic skins, as well as other facing layers (including for instance composites and metal) onto the thermoplastic honeycomb core to offer lightweight sandwich panels suitable for different applications. The core is produced froma single sheet

by a thermoforming, folding and bonding operation. ThermHex honeycombs have closed skin strips, allowing perfect bonding of skins onto the core. The process enables the cost-efficient production of honeycomb cores fromawide range of thermoplastic polymerswith a large variation in cell size, density and thickness. In-line post-processing to panels and parts leads to further cost reductions.

The range of polymers includes

PP (Polypropylene), PE (Polyethylene), PS (Polystyrene), PET (Polyethylene terephthalate), PA (Polyamide), PC (Polycarbonate), ABS (Acrylonitrile- butadiene-styrene), PPS (Polyphenylene sulfide) and PEI (Polyetherimide). Due to the efficient process, the resulting

sandwich panels are not only exceptionally strong and lightweight but also very cost- effective. EconCore has licensed the technology to several companies operating within packaging, automotive, furniture, building and transportmarkets. “The efficiency of the patented

continuous ThermHex process enables the naturally optimised honeycomb structure to be brought tomore cost-sensitive applications, ultimately replacing heavier sub-optimal designs,” says Jochen Pflug, CEO of EconCore and inventor of the ThermHex technology. In combinationwith different skin

materials, EconCore honeycombs offer a wide range of application possibilities. Low production costs enable other honeycomb cores and homogeneous panelmaterials to be substituted. In development projects panels and parts

are being designed for the packaging, automotive, transport, building & construction and furnituremarkets. Boards are especially applicable to reusable plastic boxes and solutions in the logistics sector, such as for durable and hygienic plastic

pallets and layer pads, dividers and protection panels, outperforming conventional corrugated plastic boards and PP cup-shaped (bubble) panels. Sandwich panelswith ThermHex

honeycomb cores are especially suitable for the following automotive interior components:  luggage compartment floor and spare wheel covers;

 door panels/door inserts;  seat back stiffeners and compartment dividers;

 cabin floor and underfloor systems; and  overhead systems (enhanced sounds absorption with an open cell honeycomb structure). Continuously produced honeycomb

sandwich panels offer opportunities in the transport segment, including applications such as delivery truck boxes, pick-up truck boxes, trailers and cladding panels in trucks, vans and trains. Higher temperature resistant thermoplasticmaterialsmeet the needs of exterior applications,while FST or fire resistantmaterials are suited for use in themass transport segment. PET non-wovensmay be laminated onto

the ThermHex core to enable processing with thermosetmaterials.

 To readmore online in ourmaterials section, scan the QR code or visit

October 2017 /// Environmental Engineering /// 7

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60