EconCore presents latest developments in continuous production of high performance thermoplastic honeycombs for composites

MOSCOW (MRC) -- EconCore is extending the capabilities of its innovative ThermHex technology for production of high-performance lightweight thermoplastic honeycomb core materials and sandwich panels, as per the company's press release.

The company, which already licenses the technology for production of polypropylene (PP) honeycombs, is now able to produce honeycombs from high performance thermoplastics (HPT). A further development enables the integrated production of Organosandwich preforms with continuous fibre-reinforced skins.

"We have already successfully produced and tested honeycombs from several high-performance thermoplastics at our refurbished R&D facilities in Leuven, Belgium" says Tomasz Czarnecki, Chief Operating Officer at EconCore. "We have been working with various types of modified Polycarbonate (PC), Polyamide 6.6 (PA6.6) and Polyphenylene sulphide (PPS) and we are continuing to pursue developments with these and other high-end polymers. We are now entering the final phase of product validation and we expect to work on several application developments in automotive, aerospace, transportation, and building and construction markets this year."

EconCore’s patented technology uses a series of in-line, high-speed, operations to produce honeycomb structures from a single continuously extruded thermoplastic film. It involves a sequence of thermoforming, folding and bonding operations. ThermHex technology has the potential to work with a wide range of thermoplastic polymers to create honeycombs, whose cell size, density and thickness can be altered with simple hardware and/or process parameter adjustments. The process makes it possible to create extremely cost-effective finished composite sandwich materials by inline bonding of skins to the honeycomb.

"Today we offer honeycombs with the best performance per cost on the market. In the near future we will offer also honeycombs with the best performance per weight" adds Jochen Pflug, Chief Executive Officer at EconCore.
Thermoplastic honeycomb cores for composites provide a ratio of performance to weight that is very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve with other types of core materials. ThermHex cores are around 80% lighter than solid thermoplastic cores in use today, in such products as metal skinned- panels for transportation and building applications. The lightweight cores also have positive implications for product handling, raw material inventory, outbound logistics and installation.

In use, honeycomb structures prove superior not only in terms of mechanical performance: the acoustic performance and thermal insulation of honeycomb structures is also beneficial for many applications.

HPT honeycombs will build on the intrinsic benefits of lightweight honeycomb structures, with higher heat resistance (useful for such products as housings for electric vehicle batteries) and very good flame resistance (critical for building panels). EconCore is also working with materials modified for FST (flame, smoke, toxicity) compliance in railway and aerospace applications. The company also sees substantial potential in photovoltaic (PV) panels and numerous other products.

As MRC wrote before, in 2014, German specialty chemicals company Lanxess, the world’s largest synthetic rubber supplier, and EconCore N.V. joined forces to develop new thermoplastic sandwich materials for lightweight construction. The objective of the collaboration was to fabricate honeycomb cores from Durethan polyamides with the help of an automated, continuous process patented by EconCore. In addition, Tepex continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites from Lanxess subsidiary Bond-Laminates was to be combined with the new polyamide honeycomb cores to produce high-performance composites.

Sunoco enters definitive agreement to acquire fuel distribution and terminal business from Superior Plus Corporation

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sunoco LP has announced the execution of a definitive agreement to purchase certain assets from Superior Plus Corporation for approximately USD40 million plus working capital adjustments, as per Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The assets consist of a network of approximately 100 dealers, several hundred commercial contracts and three terminals, which are connected to major pipelines serving the Upstate New York market. The wholesale fuels business sells approximately 200 million gallons of fuel annually through multiple channels. The three terminals have a combined 17 tanks with 429 thousand barrels of storage capacity.

The acquisition is consistent with Sunoco's strategy of utilizing its scale to grow the core fuel distribution business and adding fee-based refined product terminals into the overall portfolio. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in April 2018.

The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to Sunoco with respect to distributable cash flow.

As MRC informed before, in February 2016, Fluor was awarded a construction management contract by Sunoco Logistics for the Mariner East 2 project at its Marcus Hook Industrial Complex on the Delaware River in Pennsylvania.
Upon completion, Mariner East 2 was anticipated to provide an additional 275,000 bpd of natural gas liquids (NGLs) for distribution to local, domestic and international markets. Fluor was to manage the construction of new terminal facilities to store, chill, process and distribute propane, butane and ethane at the complex.

Vision Extrusion getting USD1.5 million from Ontario government

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Vaughan, Ont.-based Vision Extrusion Group is receiving USD1.5 million from the Ontario government to invest in new technologies and machinery, creating 76 new jobs and retaining more than 500 positions, as per Canplastics.

"This announcement is great news for the residents of Vaughan and the region as a whole. Ontario’s manufacturing sector must continue to invest in technology and innovation to stay ahead in a fiercely competitive global market," said Steven Del Duca, provincial minister of Economic Development and Growth.

The money is coming from the Ontario government’s Jobs and Prosperity Fund. Vision Extrusion is upgrading its machinery and investing in new technologies to automate production and reduce waste. The upgrades are expected to cost USD18.2 million total and be completed by December 2022.

"The investment we are announcing today continues the ongoing evolution of our company as a leader in the manufacturing of building products," said Vision Extrusion CEO Vic De Zen. "By further building our skilled team and adding to our technical capabilities, Vision Extrusion can offer even greater innovation and flexibility for our valued customers."

Vision Extrusion produces a range of building products, transforming plastic polymers into window frames, doors, fencing and railings. The company is a member of the Vision Group of Companies. Its Vaughan operations include more than 200 extrusion lines, R&D labs, tool and die shops, and plastics compounding facilities.

Mitsui to shut Sakai cracker for maintenance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsui Chemicals is likely to take its naphtha-fed steam cracker off-stream for a maintenance turnaround, as per Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in Japan informed that the plant is likely to be taken off-line for turnaround in mid-June 2018. It is slated to remain under maintenance until end-July 2018.

Located in Sakai, Japan, the cracker has an ethylene production capacity of 500,000 mt/year and propylene production capacity of 280,000 mt/year.

As MRC wrote before, in March 2016, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and Hankuk Carbon Co., a company listed on the Korea Exchange, entered into a strategic alliance agreement to engage in collaborative business activities relating to the processing of composite materials.

Mitsui Chemicals is a leading manufacturer and supplier of value added specialty chemicals, plastics and materials for the automotive, healthcare, packaging, agricultural, building, and semiconductor and electronics markets. Mitsui Chemicals is a Japanese Chemicals company, a part of the Mitsui conglomerate. The company has a turnover of around 15 billion USD and has business interests in Japan, Europe, China, Southeast Asia and the USA. The company mainly deals in performance materials, petro and basic chemicals and functional polymeric materials.

Recycling equipment makers hope to take advantage of Chinese regulations

MOSCOW (MRC) -- China's decision to severely crack down on the import of recycled plastics is being felt throughout the world, as per Plasticsnews.

And ripples of that move will be evident at NPE2018 as the world of plastics gathers once again for the triennial gathering. Erema North America Inc., the machinery maker for plastics recycling, will be at the show as usual, along with a wide range of other companies involved in the plastics recycling industry.

The company sees an opportunity for people in the United States to take advantage of the situation. Many people made lots of money over the years simply by baling recovered plastics and sending them off to China for recycling. That was not out of the ordinary as that country became a huge outlet for a variety of recycled materials.

China first made news several years ago with its Green Fence initiative to clean up the plastic recycling stream. Green Fence was not as stringent as the current effort, dubbed National Sword, but it grabbed the attention of recyclers at that time. Things changed, but commerce ultimately continued.

National Sword, instead, has essentially outlawed the import of recycled plastics and other materials into China. Martin Baumann, vice president of sales at Erema North America, calls the situation "dynamic" and says there is opportunity for domestic recyclers.

"Above all, China's no longer being an international consumer for post-consumer waste plastic is a dramatic development, but since, unlike waste plastic, high-quality recycled pellets can still be exported to China, this represents a potential opportunity for plastics recycling in the USA and Canada," he said in a statement.

Erema will be demonstrating its Intarema T 1108 at its booth, processing clean low density polyethylene waste without preshredding. The company also will provide information on what the company calls "the world's first rPET inline Preform system."

The company will additionally highlight information about melt filters from the company's Powerfil business unit, which will be at NPE2018 for the first time.

As usual, NPE2018 will feature a variety of plastics recycling related exhibitions. Here's a rundown of those companies that responded to a Plastics News request for information regarding their activities at the show.

Vertellus Specialties Inc. (Booth S10155) will introduce two new technologies for "driving increased use of recycled polyester in nylon resin" and "enhancing the benefits of recycled" PET at NPE2018, the company said.