Composites Today

Magazine For Composites Professionals

Composites material produced using formulations derived from recycled PET waste

AOC announced that it has collaborated with OPTIPLAN (Germany) to develop OPTIPLAN’s ultralight, high strength, sustainable POLYDET® rPET cover sheets, incorporating AOC’s formulations derived from post-consumer recycled PET waste. These new composite materials are revolutionizing the truck and lightweight vehicle manufacturing industry.

OPTIPLAN is a supplier of a broad variety of composite materials made both in a continuous and discontinuous manufacturing process. Typically, these are made by combining glass fibers with a resin formulation, in line with the specifications of the customer and end-use application. The material is used to produce sandwich panels incorporating a structural foam as core material. The resulting sandwich panels are broadly used for the manufacturing of refrigerated trucks, motorhomes/ caravans, and various construction applications. OPTIPLAN is one of the frontrunners in composites cover sheet manufacturing, setting the industry standard in quality, mechanical strength predictability and surface aesthetics.

Light and green

For a global truck manufacturer, OPTIPLAN has developed an innovative ultralight range of composites cover sheets under the POLYDET® brand, with increased strength and stiffness, incorporating AOC’s Synolite™ 8421-N-1 formulation.

“Replacing continuous filament mat by fabrics has helped us to increase mechanical performance, while allowing the material to be thinner and lighter”, explains Felix Bönsch, Managing Director of OPTIPLAN. “At the same time, the POLYDET® rPET product line is more sustainable, as they are made from AOC’s rPET products, which contain PET from post- consumer waste”.

 “The AOC Synolite™ rPET product series are made in our operations in Ústí nad Labem in the Czech Republic. In this plant we can convert a waste product into a valuable raw material, and ultimately, into a quality formulation”, explains Fons Harbers, VP Marketing & Sales of AOC EMEA. “The manufacturing of formulations from post-consumer waste is more cumbersome in comparison with normal formulations, as it involves additional process steps. Yet, AOC does believe that using recycled PET as raw material will reduce the amount of plastic waste, and is the right thing to do for the environment.”

For customers to better recognize products with reduced environmental impact, AOC has introduced the NEXT® Eco-label. Besides formulations with renewable content like rPET, the NEXT® Eco-label also covers Styrene-free, low Styrene, and bio-based series.

Customer satisfaction

OPTIPLAN’s customer (truck manufacturer) was very happy with the recent product innovations, as it has allowed the company to create a whole range of new lightweight truck designs. Benefits of the new trucks include lower fuel consumption and extended action radius, while maintaining the advantage of low maintenance associated with the use of composites. “In addition, the increased payload and action radius, as well as the possibility to drive a greener car contribute to the positive driving experience, “adds Timo Hoffmann, Director of Sales at OPTIPLAN.

Beyond using POLYDET® r-PET for lightweight truck construction, OPTIPLAN is confident its new product will find its way in motorhomes, caravans, and last-mile delivery vehicles.

Additionally, the eco-friendly features of these composite sheets position them for increased usage in building and construction applications, with the most obvious end markets being modular housing, wet and cold storage rooms, building façades and surface cladding.