Luxus completes Hycolene commercialisation project

Luxus managing director, Peter Atterby
Luxus has celebrated the completion of its €1.4m Recyclite project, co-funded by the EU’s Eco-Innovation initiative. The three-year project to help commercialise the technical compounder’s environmentally positive, advanced lightweight, scratch resistant thermoplastics range for Class ‘A’ auto interiors will come to an end later this month.

Luxus along with its fellow project partners - International Automotive Components (IAC), Jaguar Land Rover and Coperion have helped support the development of the Hycolene thermoplastics range through a series of technical trials – proving the technology’s potential at full commercial scale.

Launched in 2008 the Eco-innovation initiative was part of the EU’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, set up to support innovation among SMEs and to improve their competitiveness. As well as helping to bridge the ‘gap’ between research and the market.

“We have replaced filled compounds with ‘next generation’ reinforcing additives,” explained Luxus technical director, Dr Christel Croft. “Offering excellent tensile properties these additives do not detract from the appearance of a moulded compound, yet their adoption reduces weight by up to 12% per part and significantly improves scratch resistance too, satisfying stringent industry standards.

“Hycolene 16818 offers a much lower density than currently provided, while still delivering up to 60% recycled content with the option for prime grades too. The result is that the material satisfies the rapid cycle times now set by OEMs and Tier 1 manufacturers whilst having significant CO2 reduction.”

Looking ahead Luxus will be developing additional Hycolene grades, including an even higher impact version with excellent scratch resistance and further colour options. Its capacity to produce the new compounds will be helped by working in close partnership with both local and global sources to access (PP) recyclate – the same lightweight performance can be achieved too in prime grades.

Luxus managing director, Peter Atterby said: “This project has enabled us to become a true ‘Eco-innovator’, Hycolene produces 26% less CO2 per tonne over the life cycle of the vehicle compared to virgin compounds. By helping to also preserve limited natural resources, we are reducing the vehicle’s carbon footprint and contributing to automakers vehicle ‘life cycle analysis’ requirements.

The company is also developing an extrusion grade to bring Hycolene to the heavy equipment industry, such as earth moving machinery manufacture to coaches, buses and HGVs. Further to this, Luxus is also investigating cosmetic packaging, particularly black bottles where improved scratch resistance at the point of sale is required.

Atterby added: “We intend to incorporate a near infrared detectable version to enable effective post-consumer recycling, as it will contain no carbon black – this is just the beginning of what Hycolene can achieve.”

Author
Tom Austin-Morgan

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