- lightweight honeycomb production technology for transportation
EconCore, based in Leuven, Belgium, has developed and offers a production process for lightweight thermoplastic honeycomb sandwich panels. EconCore’s patented ThermHex technology has been licensed to a number of marker leading companies around the world and the number is growing fast. Industry sectors and applications today include automotive, transportation, building and construction, industrial packaging/graphical displays, furniture among others.
The technology is unique in its combination of a highly automated high-speed continuous production process delivering high-end honeycomb structures at lowest possible cost levels. It enables greater weight saving in use than alternative processes, and allows for reduction of CO2 emissions while the low production costs enable effective substitution of other sandwich and homogeneous panel materials.
“EconCore brought the honeycomb structure once reserved for high end less cost sensitive domains to the higher volume mass markets and by doing so have furthered the efficient use of nature’s finite resources”, says Tomasz Czarnecki EconCore COO, “for users of the technology and products it is the cost efficiency of the process and the weight savings offered by the honeycomb structure that are the main drivers of success”.
EconCore’s technology footprint in transportation is growing internationally. In Europe, for example, Tata Steel being one of EconCore’s licensees for the honeycomb technology is making great strides with their Coretinium steel skinned sandwich materials. As in North America the value proposition is vehicle weight reduction leading to fuel savings and payload optimisation. Recently Tata has announced participation in project where double deck trailers that are 22% lighter than conventional trailers are being evaluated with aim to reduce full consumption and emissions. A key element of this is the integration of Coretinium, which is about half the weight of timber panel, into the trailer.
Also based in Europe, and serving the market globally, EconCore’s daughter production company ThermHex Waben GmbH has introduced the light weight extremely strong Organosandwich range of continuous glass fiber reinforced composite sandwich panels. Being a thermoplastic composite Organosandwich can be thermoformed to multi-curved shell structures for further processing and functional integration with injection molding for high-volume automotive applications. The sandwich structure enables weight savings of more than 80% compared to monolithic construction.
ThermHex Waben GmbH is producing Organosandwich (skin, core), can be thermoformed to multi-curved shell structures for further processing and functional integration with injection molding, for high-volume automotive applications.
Founded in 2005 in Belgium, EconCore’s origin is in aerospace with the invention of an aerospace engineer who on one hand recognized the value of the honeycomb structure widely used for decades in aerospace and on the other hand applied the high speed, automatic production concepts used in the packaging industry. Since these beginnings EconCore has licensed its ThermHex technology to leading companies across the globe including among others Karton in Europe and Gifu Plastics in Japan for packaging, Renolit in Europe and Fynotej in Mexico for automotive, Wabash National in US for transportation, and Tata Steel in the UK for transportation and building.