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17th October 2019, Leuven

EconCore’s advanced honeycomb technology at JEC Asia 2019

High-performance thermoplastics. © EconCore

High-performance thermoplastics. © EconCore

Leader in technologies for economic honeycomb sandwich material production EconCore will be exhibiting at JEC Asia 2019 in Seoul, Korea, from 13-15 November.

The patented ThermHex technology can use a variety of polymers, depending on the performance characteristics required. It has been licensed to a number of market leading companies around the world, including three in Japan. Applications for the technology include automotive, transportation, industrial packaging, and construction. Further applications using advanced plastics have also been developed.

EconCore licensee, Tata Steel produces a product called Coretinium. Combining a honeycomb core with Tata Steel’s Colorcoat Prisma pre-finished skins, it is said to provide durability and strength whilst being much lighter than alternative products. The steel skinned sandwich material, with a high rigidity to weight ratio is being used in road transport to replace GRP skinned plywood panels, enabling fleet companies to make significant savings from lower fuel costs and reductions in CO2 emissions.

Automotive interior

Automotive interior is another area the technology is well-suited for. Due to the unique thermoformability of EconCore’s honeycomb sandwich panels, complex 3D items can be produced relatively easily and at low cost. This brings sizeable weight savings over conventional alternatives, according to the manufacturer.

The option to use a range of composite skins with a polypropylene core is designed to provide excellent rigidity, strength and impact resistance. Typical applications currently include trunk (boot) trim, door panels, headliner, seat-back, parcel shelf and bulkheads.

Cost savings

“EconCore brought the honeycomb structure, once reserved for high-end less cost sensitive domains, to the higher volume, mass markets. The cost efficiencies of the process and the significant weight savings offered by the honeycomb structure are without doubt the main drivers of success,” commented Tomasz Czarnecki EconCore COO.

The EconCore R&D team continues to focus on high-performance thermoplastic (HPT) honeycomb technology. Applications using HPT honeycombs include aircraft and railway interior panels. The mechanical performance is superior to that of fire, smoke and toxicity (FSR) grades of foam cores. Parts can be thermoformed in an energy, time and cost-efficient single-step process, contrasting dramatically to the costly and labour intensive conventional alternative methods.

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