Hanwha Azdel to increase capacity for reinforced thermoplastic (LWRT)

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  • Entirely new production line
  • LWRT composites: lower density forms of traditional glass-mat thermoplastic (GMT)
  • From reduced part weight to acoustical damping

Growing demand for lightweight composites in North America and Europe has prompted Hanwha Azdel to increase capacity for its Azdel SuperLite lightweight reinforced thermoplastic (LWRT) composite product at its Lynchburg, Va. production facility. The capacity expansion will support North American and European customers by providing a more consistent regional supply of thermoplastic composite materials, whose global demand is projected to rise at more than 10% annually through the year 2020.

Entirely new production line

The company is adding more space at the plant plus an entirely new production line that is due to come on stream in second quarter 2015. Growing demand from customers in the recreational-vehicle (RV), automotive, commercial truck, building & construction, office furniture, and industrial market segments prompted the move to add capacity to support sales efforts in North America and Europe. The RV industry is the fastest growing market segment for the company.

LWRT composites: lower density forms of traditional glass-mat thermoplastic (GMT)

LWRT composites are lower density forms of traditional glass-mat thermoplastic (GMT) composites with a higher fiber-volume fraction (ratio of reinforcement to resin). These sheet-form composites are molded into a variety of parts using thermoforming (a low-pressure variant of compression molding) or used in sandwich panel constructions to produce panels, which are usually faced with fabric, wallpaper, laminate, or film skins.

From reduced part weight to acoustical damping

The lightweight composite will not rust, corrode, or rot, significantly reduces panel or part weight, lowers sound transmission (provides acoustical damping), and offers thermal insulation. Further, third-party product testing to ASTM E 1333-96 standards by an ISO 17025 accredited testing laboratory has verified that the material contains no detectable levels of formaldehyde.

Investment in the new North American production line is another step in Hanwha Azdel’s goal of fully globalizing Azdel SuperLite LWRT, a patented technology that Azdel, Inc. introduced in 1999.

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