An example of the column shroud component used for the first Hycolene commercial trial.
Louth-based technical plastics recycling and compounding company, Luxus, has announced its high performance recycled content polymer range, Hycolene, has surpassed expectations in its first full scale commercial trial.
The results of the trail, which took place in September at the plant of Lincolnshire-based moulder, International Automotive Components Group (IAC), have shown that the scratch performance of Hycolene has “significantly improved” on the current product.
Luxus says it will, therefore, deliver a high quality finish; a key requirement given design and aesthetics are increasingly important in the cabin.
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 recent trial also demonstrated that Hycolene can produce a much faster cycle time delivering moulders a substantial 8-12 percent saving, as more parts per tonne can be processed - satisfying Tier 1 targets in addition to OEM’s lightweighting requirements.
“These results have confirmed that the enhanced performance of the Hycolene range has not only been maintained, but in some instances have surpassed expectations,” explained Dr Christel Croft, Technical Director at Luxus.
“It has shown too, that Hycolene can really help improve life cycle analysis, since this ‘tool’ takes into account all the factors affecting a product’s environmental footprint. It also has the potential to be used as a true ‘drop in’ solution by Tier 1’s.”
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 spring 2015.
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.
Dave Jenkins, Product Engineering, International Automotive Components Group Ltd, commented: “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 needs 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.
More information on the project is available here: www.recyclite.eu