European thermoplastic honeycomb technology the Japanese way
Published on 14-01-2022
EconCore, world leader in technologies for economic honeycomb sandwich production is celebrating its 15th year of licensing partnership with Gifu Plastic Industry Co., a specialist producer of polypropylene honeycomb panels. The partnership combines the best of European technology with Japanese relentless determination to produce some of the most versatile honeycomb panels in the world.
Gifu Plastic, was the first to industrialise EconCore’s patented continuous production thermoplastic honeycomb, a partnership which began in 2006. Specialists in the general manufacture of plastics, Gifu Plastic established themselves in 1953 when the plastics industry was only just starting out.
In 2009 at the New Materials exhibition in Tokyo, Gifu Plastic presented the first further processed panels for logistics and packaging, marketing in Japan under the name TECCELL. Since this launch TECCELL has progressed to become an independent business within Gifu Plastic, engaging a team of 70.
It has developed over time a wide range of applications - next to products used in packaging and logistics – the lightweight panels can be found in automotive interiors, building and construction as well as in a range of design, graphical and industrial applications.
The honeycomb panel is a lightweight and fully recyclable material with high levels of rigidity and multifunctionality. It is competitive not only from the mechanical performance perspective but also due to high level of cost efficiency brought by the EconCore continuous production technology.
This technology allows production from a single continuous thermoplastic honeycomb sheet by successive in-line operations, including in-line integrated lamination of skin layers onto the honeycomb core.
TECCELL’s polypropylene honeycomb sandwich material uses optical features and can typically be used in a variety of design applications. One of the common applications for TECCELL’s honeycomb sandwich material is partition walls. Over the last two years, the Gifu Plastic team, being acutely conscious of sustainability while playing its part in addressing the world-wide pandemic crisis, has developed a new range of related applications.
COVID-19 has shown the importance of protective screens, safeguarding individuals and the economy by minimising the spread of the virus. Partition walls made out of TECCELL honeycomb sandwich panels are suitable on both temporary and permanent structures to help with social distancing.
Partitions provide both privacy and protection in workspaces or waiting areas, and have been used in a variety of health and business locations including Covid-19 vaccination sites and emergency shelters across Japan. They are lightweight, easy to install or to reposition, and easy to clean & disinfect.
The TECCELL ‘Partition Series’ can also be used for small screens including splash-backs for use in dining halls and restaurants for interactions amongst customers. The splash protection features an opaque lower half made out of a TECCELL PP honeycomb panel and a transparent top half made out PET. They protect people from possible airborne transmission of bacteria and viruses such as Covid-19, especially in enclosed places frequented by lots of people.
The future for the Gifu Plastic licensee partnership with EconCore will focus on expanding the current range of applications available to the honeycomb technology. Another example of the innovative and creative approach of Gifu Plastic is TECCELL SAINT, a recently developed perforated polypropylene honeycomb panel for improved acoustic performance, they can absorb sound in the midrange and above.
These panels contribute to various noise countermeasures and offer a new range of applications including sound deadening for machinery in factories and office workstations. TECCELL SAINT also introduced ‘REMUTE series’, a modern office workstation solution that provides unlimited possibilities for designing & constructing office cubicles or work areas for employees. The stylish acoustic panels are lightweight, durable, sound-dampening making them perfect for impromptu workstations.
EconCore’s patent protected technology for automated continuous production thermoplastic honeycombs is available for licensing. With a number of licensees around the globe, EconCore supports each business in their application development and integration of the thermoplastic honeycomb technologies for a variety of projects.
Next to the transfer of equipment and production related know-how, typical EconCore licensee projects include expert advice in application-specific material selection and investigation & improvement of application-specific material properties.
You can find out more information about Gifu Plastics TECCELL products at: https://www.risu.co.jp/products/category/teccell/.