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When plastics and composites are united

Hybrid plastics are becoming an increasingly cost-effective alternative to traditional materials. The latest generations of thermoplastic composites e.g. are promising in terms of eco-friendliness and productivity. Sirris is developing and deploying new processes to take full advantage of them.

Hybrid plastics (an association of thermoplastic composites and injected plastics) enable more eco-friendly (recyclable) and cost-effective (high productivity) solutions in all areas – not least the automotive sector, which is very interested in these two characteristics.

“Because they can be welded and recycled, the use of hybrid plastics has skyrocketed in the past four or five years. And there is still plenty of potential to explore in these new materials.”

Projects in 2015

  • CILAB: Financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the CILAB project began in 2008 and ended in 2015. Sirris was involved with three components:

Hybrid plastics: Sirris developed tools and a two-stage process for manufacturing complex and high-performance three-dimensional parts combining thermoplastic composite and traditional injection-moulded plastic. The thermoplastic composite is formed using special tools and a special process. The resulting preform is then overmoulded to add more complex geometric details (reinforcements, hinges, etc.) and a net-shape finish.

Hollow structures: Sirris developed a process for creating hollow structures from thermoplastic preforms made of woven fibres. Depending on the intended application, the woven fibres are expanded or compressed into the required shape. Extra details can then be added by injection moulding.

Non-destructive testing: Sirris improved an existing technique for infrared testing of plastic parts. The traditional technique for checking that parts are free from faults involves exposing them to spots (heat sources) then checking that the heat is spreading uniformly using an infrared camera. Sirris replaced the random spots with a line of radiants moving along the tested parts, which ensures more uniform heating and hence a better quality result.

Which projects are we working on now?  

  • Petcomp is one of the CWALity projects financed by the Walloon Region in which a research centre and company collaborate. It relates to the development of an innovative sandwich material: a PET foam board covered on both sides by a reinforced thermoplastic layer that significantly increases its mechanical strength, and which can be formed in a single operation. This solution will be a cost-effective alternative to current methods, which involve forming the components separately then gluing them together.
  • Macobio: (ERDF project) research on thermoplastic composites made of bio-based materials (more on the composites page).
  • Tailcomp: (Cornet project) research on the forming process of thermoplastic composites (more on the composites page).