Thermoplastic Composite Process Looks to Break New Ground
Two U.S.-based companies have joined forces to develop new commercial applications for a "breakthrough" composite plastics processing technology, called Thermoplastic Flowforming Process (TPF). Enviro...
Two U.S.-based companies have joined forces to develop new commercial applications for a “breakthrough” composite plastics processing technology, called Thermoplastic Flowforming Process (TPF). Envirokare Tech Inc. (Orlando, FL) has entered a licensing and merger agreement with Thermoplastic Composite Designs, Inc., the developer of TPF, to design, manufacture and market new products using the process. TPF is an in-line process that involves compounding a thermoplastic resin, such as polypropylene, with long-glass fibre coupled with a part forming operation.
The TPF process is said to offer cost and processing advantages for making medium- to large-sized structural parts typically made by hand lay-up of thermoset composites, or by compression or injection molding of glass-filled thermoplastics. Last year, Envirokare commissioned Metis Design Corporation to evaluate TPF technology. Metis reported there are four major areas in which the TPF process adds value to reinforced thermoplastic composite production:
Savings in materials costs through in-line compounding, as well as material property flexibility achieved through customized reinforcing.
The process more easily allows for complicated shapes and ribs, and the inclusion of insert molded components.
The process reduces molding pressures, which significantly reduces mold costs and mold wear, and produces stress-free parts.
TPF increases machine efficiency by allowing manufacturers to use two or more different molds at the same time.
Envirokare says its E Pallet may become the first product manufactured by the TPF process to be commercialized. The E Pallet is made of 20% long glass-fibre filled polypropylene. The company says the pallet costs 20 to 25% less to produce than conventional plastic pallets, and significantly exceeds the requirements of the 2,800-lb. uniform load standard. Because the pallet exceeds this standard, the company is considering refining the design in order to further reduce the weight and cost of the pallet.
Envirokare Tech Inc. 407-856-8882