How can a light-weight structure deliver greater strength and greater rigidity?
Published on 22-04-2021
The answer is very simple – combine the creativity of RENOLIT with the innovation of EconCore, the market leaders in honeycomb technology.
The two companies had been exploring the various issues of light-weighting, modular design, easily formable and rigidity for the automotive and other markets. RENOLIT was also seeking to improve properties of, chemical, thermal, water-resistance and rot-resistance.
It was quickly concluded that the EconCore honeycomb technology was the solution, while EconCore could see that RENOLIT would be able to innovate and find new uses for the product, and so EconCore granted RENOLIT a license for the continuous production of honeycomb panels.
RENOLIT’s R&D team got to work exploring the issues and quickly saw that EconCore’s honeycomb would produce a very high level of rigidity offering weight savings at the same time. Both companies quickly saw the potential for other applications, such as furniture, using various thermoplastic materials.
Using a composite skin and PP honeycomb core the required material properties can be achieved. RENOLIT deployed the honeycomb in their GORCELL range of products. Though starting in the automotive sector, it is now also used in a wide range of applications, for example flight cases, outdoor kitchens, truck superstructures, and bakery panels.
More recently RENOLIT is selling through a subsidiary for the first time into the B2C market with products for gardens, balconies and terraces, such as tissue boxes, plant & high beets and fences. The honeycomb is enabling a systems solution for the area around the house and garden so that garden furniture, storage options and privacy screen fit together beautifully in design.
Having developed the technology over a number of years to meet the desired specification of the market, EconCore’s honeycomb has enabled RENOLIT GORCELL to overcome several technical challenges, such as panel planarity, reduced golf ball effect, and smooth, scratch free surfaces.
Compared to other, standard materials on the market, RENOLIT GORCELL has huge benefits, such as special decorative surfaces and most importantly, is that light weighting and has excellent technical performance. It also combines with an aesthetic surface finish, giving a wood-like décor.
So the product and technical benefits for both companies were clear from the outset. However the partnership has also progressed both companies’ green agendas. RENOLIT is part of the Circular Plastics Alliance and has made a pledge under the EU’s Europeans Strategy for Plastics. This strategy aims to increase the use of recycled plastics to 10 million tonnes by 2025.
And this resonates strongly with EconCore’s powerful commitment to sustainability as the light-weight and durable honeycomb is stripping CO2 out of a variety of applications, not just transport.
As well as enhanced physical properties, the honeycomb also delivers commercial benefits, which can be fully exploited if deploying continuous extrusion.
The RENOLIT GORCELL production process includes film unwinding, vacuum forming, core calibration, skin layer lamination, panel calibration and cutting.
Next steps are that RENOLIT is optimising the production line to further improve the efficiency of the process and is also exploring further applications for RENOLIT GORCELL.
Axel Kulke, Sales & Marketing Director Composites at RENOLIT said: “EconCore’s honeycomb technology really stood out for us when we needed to create solutions that were light-weight which looked terrific for a variety of applications. The impact on surface properties is astounding.”
“Using the continuous manufacturing process, we have been able to supply to Europe and have projects that span the rest of the world. Having a product that is strong, yet light weight, is exactly what we needed when creating products as diverse as storage boxes, furniture, caravan building and automotive interior. RENOLIT GORCELL has that versatility.”
Bianka Nagy, Marketing Communications Manager at EconCore said; “Working with RENOLIT has shown that our honeycomb technology delivers a range of benefits across a wide spectrum of applications”.
“They have really taken it up, run with it and pushed it into areas we wouldn’t have dreamt of. We look forward to continuing this ground-breaking work with RENOLIT in industries as diverse as automotive, caravans, outdoor & garden or beach furniture manufacture.”