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New plastics research facility opens at U of T

A new plastics research facility has opened at the University of Toronto, bringing with it the promise of lighter, stronger and more cost effective plastic materials for the automotive and construction industries.


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May 6, 2013 by Canadian Plastics

A new plastics research facility has opened at the University of Toronto, bringing with it the promise of lighter, stronger and more cost effective plastic materials for the automotive and construction industries.

The Centre for Industrial Application of Microcellular Plastics (CIAMP) officially opened May 2,

Located in Mississauga, CIAMP is a state-of-the-art research and development centre with industry-scale facilities for developing innovative, commercially viable plastic foaming and composite technologies, according to University of Toronto Engineering Professor Chul Park, director of the centre.

The centre is funded by a $9.2 million grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation – Leading Edge Funds and the Ontario Research Fund – Large Infrastructure Fund and is part of the Network for Innovative Plastic Materials and Manufacturing Processes, a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council network of 21 researchers across Canada. CIAMP is also supported by the Consortium of Cellular and Microcellular Plastics (CCMCP), a network uniting more than 20 leading plastic companies around the world.

According to Park, CIMAP’s goal is to collaborate with industry to develop innovative microcellular plastic products and commercially viable processing technologies. “The techniques that CIAMP will work on should lead to lighter weight, stronger plastics that use fewer raw materials,” he said. “The construction and automotive industries will benefit in particular, but other uses are possible too, for example, electrical insulators and household electronic devices.”

“Plastics are a ubiquitous part of our lives and we taken them for granted,” said Allison Barr, director of the research branch of the Ontario Research Fund. “But that doesn’t mean that we’re immune to rising costs, and there are many potential applications for plastics that are lighter, stronger and longer-lasting, especially in the auto industry to reduce fossil fuel consumption and cut down on the costs of pollution. If Ontario can develop these plastics and the methods to manufacture them, we will have an important advantage.”

Equipment at CIAMP includes a 1,300 ton injection molding/compounding system from Krauss-Maffei, a Krauss-Maffei Berstorff tandem extrusion system, and a Maag-Automatik underwater pelletizer.