Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Revolutionising panel production

19.10.2004


Following on from the success of EUREKA project E! 2534 THERMOPOLE, which developed thermoplastic lampposts that save lives by bending on impact, EUREKA project E! 2535 FACTORY PANELFORM has adapted the thermoplastic technology to produce sandwich section panels for a market worth over €20 million a year.

The recyclable panels can be produced in three-metre wide sections at a rate of four metres per minute, in a variety of colours and finishes. The new material is stronger and more durable than wood, which currently dominates the target markets. Another advantage is that the panels can be fused together forming strong edges that do not come apart even in damp conditions, thus solving a structural problem that has plagued plywood panels.

“Our German partners have created a new material that is a quarter of the weight of wood at the price of marine plywood,” says Gerard Boyce, director of the UK lead partner, Euro-Projects (LTTC) Ltd (EPL). “It is lighter to handle and because it’s thermoplastic, we have been able to successfully form the panel into a wide range of applications.”



The new technology will have a dramatic impact on current production methods. For example, it can be used to build a new thermoplastic caravan in four panels (a structural floor, two side panels and the top, front and back in a single panel). The four panels can be welded together and the whole caravan constructed in minutes, thereby significantly increasing the production capacity for UK project partner Avondale. The panels can be treated with a new fire-resistant polymer, and can also be fully recycled. Other potential applications include modular flooring for marquees, truck bodies, water barrier systems and scaffolding.

Using thermoplastic panels also has environmental benefits. “The project enables companies to use solvent-free environmentally friendly materials and the light weight of the structures means transport companies save on fuel. The number of back injuries previously sustained during handling will also be reduced,” explains Boyce.

The project partners describe the potential market as colossal, but with challenges ahead. “With THERMOPOLE we had to drive the market to accept plastic instead of metal; the same is true with PANELFORM where we have to prove the value of composites over wood and plywood,” says Boyce.

EPL estimated that within 5 years over 500,000m2 of thermoplastic composite panels per year will be being produced annually.

“Although we are at the forefront of materials ideas, it is EUREKA that allows the ideas to become reality through co operation. EUREKA partnerships provide the skills we lack and speed up the development process,” says Boyce.

Julie Sors | alfa
Further information:
http://www.eureka.be

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Intelligent wheelchairs, predictive prostheses
20.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

nachricht Jelly with memory – predicting the leveling of com-mercial paints
15.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>