United Kingdom compounder Luxus Ltd. held a wrap-up event Jan. 10 for the 1.4 million euro ($1.49 million) Recyclite project, co-funded by the European Union's Eco-Innovation initiative, and involving Jaguar Land Rover, auto supplier IAC Group and extruder technology group Coperion as partners.
The project has helped Luxus develop its Hycolene lightweight polypropylene compounds, which incorporate recycled polymers and yet achieve the high scratch resistance needed for automotive Class A surfaces.
At the event in Louth, England, Luxus Technical Director, Christel Croft said: “We're pleased that the commercial potential for Hycolene was recognised by the EU and our fellow project partners three years ago. This crucial investment and the dedicated industry expertise it required, has enabled us to make a fundamental step change in our technology, as we have replaced filled compounds with ‘next generation' reinforcing additives.”
The reinforcing additives, which are based on a synthetic mineral fiber, have a lower density than talc-filled PP compounds and can reduce part weight by up to 12 percent.
Rob Crow, materials innovation manager, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Through our involvement in the Recyclite project, Jaguar Land Rover has demonstrated first hand that Hycolene 16818 can meet our key structural requirements for use in Class A interior applications, whilst delivering a significant improvement in scratch performance over conventional talc filled polypropylenes.”
Luxus said it is planning to develop more Hycolene grades, “including an even higher impact version with excellent scratch resistance and further color options”. It will work in partnership with both local and global sources of PP recyclate and it noted the same lightweight performance can also be achieved in prime grades.
Other planned developments outlined by Peter Atterby, managing director of Luxus, include an extrusion grade of Hycolene for the heavy equipment industry, such as earth moving machinery, coaches and buses.
He said: “We're also investigating cosmetic packaging, particularly black bottles where improved scratch resistance at the point of sale is required. We intend to incorporate a near infrared (NIR) 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.”
He concluded: “Without the support however, of this EU initiative and our expert partners, we as an SME wouldn't have been able to bring to market this innovative new compound.”
Attending the event from the European Commission was Didier Gambier, head of Department B – LIFE and H2020, Energy, Environment, Resources, at EASME (The Executive Agency for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises).