16 Jun 2024

Sustainable sandwich panels

Comparison - Chinese-and ThermHex Honeycomb

ThermHex Waben, a specialist producer of thermoplastic polypropylene honeycomb cores for lightweight sandwich panels and components, has announced its latest range of sustainable panels for lightweight applications. The applications cover a wide range of industries, including automotive, transport, wind and solar, logistics, B&C, and furniture.

The company says the thermoplastic composite panels have excellent mechanical performance and a surface quality not achievable by conventional honeycomb technology with thermoplastic composite skins.

Coming in a thickness of 6 up to 20mm and densities from 1200 g/m² to 4200 g/m², the honeycomb panels are produced very economically under the EconCore patented production process. The panels are increasingly replacing more traditional materials, such as plywood and thermoset panels, particularly in trucks, trailers and cargo boxes.

They are produced in a continuous in-line process by the extrusion of a polypropylene film, vacuum forming and folding. Allowing for direct and automated lamination of thermoplastic composite skins, this integrated process very effectively generates a honeycomb sandwich panel of outstanding performance.

In the past, the high costs and the telegraphic effect might have been limiting the use of honeycombs in applications requiring high quality surface of sandwich panels. Due to the smaller 5mm cell size of the honeycomb, ThermHex Waben’s cores deliver exceptional surface quality even with very thin skin layers. ThermHex Waben has almost halved the cell size which has enabled new and existing industries to develop new applications, not just due to its high strength to weight ratio but also now the surface finish.

One of these applications is the visible surface of parts for cars and trucks. The mechanical properties of high mechanical strength, resistance to chemicals and water as well as being lightweight makes it the material of choice within many composite markets including transportation, solar energy, marine, furniture, as well as automotive and more.

ThermHex Waben’s polypropylene honeycombs are being used in a range of automotive interior parts. Due to the lightweight nature of the material the manufacturers were able to reduce the weight of the vehicles without compromising on rigidity which saved on fuel efficiency.

Sustainability is an important consideration within all these industries and Thermhex Waben’s polypropylene is helping manufacturers achieve this.

Dr Jochen Pflug, CEO of ThermHex Waben, said: “Our polypropylene honeycomb cores offer cost savings and weight reductions while providing optimal mechanical performance for composite sandwich panels and parts. Sustainable thermoplastic honeycombs have found their place within a variety of lightweight applications. We can now produce with equal high production speed and low production cost our honeycombs with a smaller cell size, leading to improved surface quality. They are also used for panels and parts with visible interior and exterior surfaces in cars and trucks.”

Company info: ThermHex Waben