Industry leaders in commercial transportation, industrial packaging, building materials, automotive interiors and other application markets gathered in Belgium earlier this month for a Technology Summit focusing on EconCore’s patented ThermHex process. The purpose of the biennial event hosted by EconCore, the world leader in new technologies for economic sandwich material production, is to promote the exchange of new developments and experiences in the implementation of lightweight honeycomb core manufacturing technology between established, new and potential future licensees of the technology. The cumulative knowledge from the shared experiences provides significant benefits across the value chain of all participants.
ThermHex process enables the production of themoplastic honeycomb materials directly from the extruder or from a roll of material and combines a thermoforming, folding and bonding operation. The technology delivers cost-efficient folded honeycomb cores in various cell sizes, densities and thicknesses from a wide range of thermoplastic polymers. Experienced participants of the two-day summit included Gifu Plastic (Japan), Karton and Renolit (Italy), Tata Steel (UK), ThermHex Waben (Germany), and Röplast (Turkey). The value of the technology and gathering was perhaps best captured by two more recent ThermHex technology users:
Wabash National, a market leader in commercial transportation in North America, updated the panel on their plans for a new production line in Lafayette, Indiana. “Our approach is to lead with innovation and diversification,” said Gustavo Sumcad, Director of Engineering at Wabash. “EconCore provides the most innovative technology for the production of lightweight honeycomb sandwich panels. This is something we have not seen in the market for a very long time.”
Salomón and Daniel Kalach, VP of Operations and VP of Manufacturing respectively at Fynotej in Mexico, a leader in textiles including automotive interior: “We learned a lot over the two days of this summit, which will be of benefit to us as we move towards the start-up of our production line in early 2018. The opportunity for collaboration with other licensees is very promising.”
During the two-day gathering, the participants also toured EconCore’s facilities at Leuven, Belgium, and were shown the latest investments and state-of-the-art capabilities of the company to support its licensees. “Our goal is to continuously improve upon the technology to further optimize the process and open new application possibilities,” said Tomasz Czarnecki, COO at EconCore. “We are preparing for an exciting future.”