Advance in recycled PET thermoplastic honeycomb

Jon Lawson

EconCore has teamed up with Ultrapolymers and DuFor in an R&D project funded by the Flemish Government to develop a new product: a thermoplastic honeycomb core made from recycled PET. The basis of this is EconCore’s worldwide patented process for continuous and cost-effective production of thermoplastic honeycombs. 

Ultrapolymers and DuFor have extensive knowledge and expertise in processing PET and recycled PET (rPET) polymers. DuFor’s advice was of key importance to find the optimal composition of the PET polymers and chemical additives that benefit the crystallisation process, even during fast cooling, and keep the semi-crystalline state stable during and after the manufacturing process. 

The two year project was funded by the Flemish government who acknowledged the innovative technology and ecological aspect in this new product and process development. Using the existing patented ThermHex technology which allows for fast, continuous production, EconCore managed to further improve and upgrade the process to allow the use of recycled materials that are being converted into high performing cost-efficient honeycomb cores.

“We are delighted to work together with Ultrapolymers, one of Europe’s leading polymer distributors, and DuFor, a polymer developer and producer with over 40 years of experience. Thanks to their knowledge in polymers, EconCore managed to develop a sustainable honeycomb core which is made entirely from recycled PET materials,” said Wouter Winant, Technical Manager at EconCore. “These PET honeycomb cores and PET-based semi-finished sandwich panels can be used in a range of different applications, including transportation, building & construction, packaging, furniture and others, where sustainable, low-cost but performing solutions are desired. An interesting feature is that EconCore’s PET honeycomb materials are thermoformable and relatively complex shaped parts can be obtained. Furthermore, these honeycomb cores, although they remain very cost competitive, show enhanced stability at elevated temperatures. These products have a huge potential to become a more cost-effective alternative solution to solid polymer sheets and foam cores, particularly those based on PET.” 


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