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Recycled content polymer range beats expectations in first trial

14 November 2015

Luxus says its high performance recycled content polymer range, Hycolene has surpassed expectations in its first full scale commercial trial that took place in September at moulder IAC’s plant based in Lincolnshire.

Hycolene is a faster cycling range of scratch resistant, lightweight (PP) compounds that help deliver improved Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) - it features up to 60 percent recycled content. The range has been developed to target Europe’s automotive interior trim market, by helping to satisfy both ‘end-of-life’ vehicle (ELV) and emissions targets.

The first full scale commercial results have shown that the scratch performance of Hycolene has significantly improved on the current product. It will therefore deliver a high quality finish; a key requirement given design and aesthetics are increasingly important in the cabin.

The trial also demonstrated that Hycolene can produce a much faster cycle time delivering moulders a substantial 8-12% saving, as more parts per tonne can be processed - satisfying Tier 1 targets in addition to OEM’s lightweighting requirements.

Luxus announced earlier this year, that it has as part of a consortium recently secured a €1.4m investment, co-funded by the EU Eco-Innovation initiative, part of the EU's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP). Its members are injection moulding company IAC for materials trials, twin screw manufacturer Coperion for technical support and Jaguar Land Rover offering end user guidance.

The commercial trial followed initial scale-up tests, these focused on different formulations, screw designs and process conditions at Coperion’s pilot plant based in Stuttgart in the Spring this year. The results were then jointly analysed by Luxus and Coperion before recommendations were made to the rest of the consortium to agree that the first commercial trial could take place.

For the trial itself, identical formulations, screw design and process conditions were created using Luxus’ bespoke Coperion extruder to establish scale-up parameters. This was to ensure the best environment for the first full scale batch to be used by IAC for its moulding trial. The consortium partners all agreed that the column shroud should be adopted for this trial since it’s a critical class ‘A’ visual component in the cabin.

Dave Jenkins, product engineering, International Automotive Components Group Ltd, comments: “From my perspective this was a very encouraging first trial, although further trials are required to fully optimise the product. A range of components also need to be run, so we can understand the material’s strengths and weaknesses. These will commence once the initial component lab testing is completed satisfactorily.”

As for the future, the next step is to repeat the commercial production improving screw design and process conditions following these initial results to improve material qualities. Luxus will then produce different grades of Hycolene and work with IAC to produce further parts for statistical analysis.

Luxus technicians will also be considering new markets where lightweighting and scratch-resistance are of benefit such as the educational furniture market.

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