September 2005

Propex receives plastic composites product innovation award

London— Propex Fabrics, Inc. was presented with the 2004 Frost & Sullivan Product Innovation Award for launching a broad line of emerging products and technologies that provide significant value additions to customers’ businesses.

Propex Fabrics has used its understanding of end-user requirements in the plastics industry to launch revolutionary technologies such as Curv® self-reinforced polypropylene.

Curv® self-reinforced plastics (SRPs), based on the groundbreaking and patented hot compaction technology, are an innovative line of single polymer composites that effectively bridge the gap between normal plastics and the glass fiber-reinforced plastics (GRP) product category. SRPs have the toughness of regular plastics with levels of rigidity normally associated with certain grades of GRP while at the same time being up to 50 per cent lighter than the latter.

“SRPs have outstanding impact resistance and can be easily recycled,” says Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Dr. Brian Balmer. “Their recyclability makes them particularly interesting to the automotive industry, which must meet tough recycling targets in the EU.”

Curv® can service a wide range of applications including the automotive industry, industrial cladding, building and construction, cold temperature applications, audio products, personal protective equipment and sports goods. The product is also being tested for numerous other applications such as under-body panels, roof lining and flooring for low volume cars, anti-riot protection and luggage.

When combined with other materials, Curv® can be used as an enabling material for new composites and applications.

There are two main applications, foam and honeycomb laminates, that maintains as well as extends the concept of a 100 per cent polypropylene (PP) composite product.

Tailored to a product range which Propex Fabrics refer to as ‘tailored Curv®’.

The flexibility as well as the tolerance controls in the continuous hot compaction process enables the incorporation of other materials, offering specific performance characteristics. By hot-compacting materials like aluminum, glass, aramides, carbon fiber and even GRPs together with the Curv® substrates, one can create a totally new range of thermoplastic composites meeting a wide range of cost and performance targets.

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