LANXESS subsidiary Bond-Laminates (Brilon, Germany) reported on Sept. 25 that it has completed capacity expansion at its site in Brilon for the high-performance thermoplastic composite branded as Tepex. The two new production plants were recently taken into operation.
Altogether, the company now has facilities with a total annual capacity of more than 4 million m2/43 million ft2 of Tepex. In addition to a new production hall, further storage areas and office space were also added. “These investments come in response to the rapidly rising demand for Tepex, particularly in the automotive, sports equipment and consumer electronics industries,” says Jochen Bauder, managing director of Bond-Laminates.
Tepex comprises continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites. Polyamide, polypropylene, thermoplastic polyurethane, polycarbonate or polyphenylene sulfide is used for the thermoplastic matrix. The continuous-fiber fabrics are made of glass, aramid or carbon fibers. Bond-Laminates says the advantage of Tepex and its products is its high stiffness and strength, as well as very low weight, which means that it can be used in many applications as an alternative to heavier materials such as sheet metal. Application examples include soccer boot soles, racing cycle brake levers, backpack frames, snowboarding and cycle helmets and smartphone, tablet and notebook cases. Tepex is also used in the automotive industry for applications such as lightweight seat shells, front ends, brake pedals, infotainment brackets and engine compartment guard plates.
This capacity expansion comes alongside new developments at the application center in Brilon. By the end of the year, a hybrid molding facility will be installed that will enable Tepex to be formed and over-injected directly with thermoplastics in a single one-shot process. “We want to use this facility to present this manufacturing technology to our customers in the sports and consumer electronics industries in order to support them in the development of innovative applications. We also want to optimize the processing behavior of new composites and customer-specific material recipes,” says Ulrich Jecmeniza, an application developer at Bond-Laminates.