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Developing New Core Materials with Great Potential

26 March 2004

Fagerdala Hicore AS in Fredrikstad, Norway, will be developing and marketing a new core material for the composite sandwich industry.

The new core material is produced by a direct gassing extrusion process into foamed boards in various thicknesses and densities. This efficient production method will give competitive cores with constant, stable properties as well as the possibility to tailor make dimensions and properties to the different requirements from the different applications and markets.

The new product from Fagerdala Hicore will be sold under the brand name Hicore PET, and as the development work involves new technologies for processing, equipment and raw materials, Fagerdala Hicore has been granted a EUREKA-status for the project. Several European institutes and industrial partners are already involved in the development and new partners are continuously requesting to participate in the project, which also involves new sandwich applications.

Hicore PET produced on a small prototype machine are available in a limited number of grades, and dimensions for prototyping until the full scale production plant is completed in the later in 2004. The preliminary technical data are promising, where especially the adhesion properties to different laminates seem extremely good.

The new, high capacity production equipment is at present installed at the Fagerdala World Foams Be-NeLux-plant outside Liege in Belgium. The plant is centrally situated in relation to the fast growing composite industry in the EEC. The production machinery, together with the down stream equipment for the process and most of the confectioning equipment, will also be installed during the spring.

For a start, Hicore PET will be produced in 3 medium/low density qualities, as well as in one quality with a density of approx. 400 kg/m3 tended to replace plywood and MDF-boards in furniture and other wood applications. This product has been named Hicore Non Wood, and will have very good mechanical-, temperature- and moisture properties. Products made of Hicore Non Wood will neither swell nor rot when exposed to moisture and ageing.

With assistance from several Scandinavian institutes, an extensive program has been initiated, in order to document and certify the properties of Hicore PET and Hicore PP used as core materials in a wide range of sandwich combinations.

Hicore EPP and XPP will follow as the second range of core materials from Fagerdala Hicore AS. These products will be somewhat less expensive than the Hicore PET cores, and they are currently being produced by Fagerdala World Foams in expanded polypropylene. They will be certified and marketed to the composite industry by Fagerdala Hicore AS.