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The new laboratory facilities of recently founded TPAC (ThermoPlastic composites Application Centre) were opened by Anka Mulder, President of Saxion University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands, on 14 September.
At the same time the inauguration of Ferrie van Hattum as Professor for Lightweight Structures and the fifth anniversary of the research group took place.
TPAC performs research on low-cost processing and application of lightweight materials, with particular focus on thermoplastic composites. TPAC’s goal is to reduce processing costs to broaden the use of thermoplastic composites and make the material affordable for more sectors.
The application centre works with more than 100 companies of mostly small and medium size and institutions. Multiple consortiums are tackling challenges in various projects.
“Lightweight solutions give plenty of benefits, but testing is essential to understand the effect of weight reduction and composite application during use,” stated guest speaker Jac. Gofers, President of the Dutch Federation of Rubber and Plastics Industry (NRK) and CEO of Promolding.
“The TPAC has a strong relation to industry and listens to the requirements in the sector, for example the necessity of affordable processing technologies,” adds Sjef van Breugel, CEO of Pontis Engineering.
Students of different studies are involved with multi-disciplinary groups, internships and graduation assignments. In this way students learn about design, materials and production of lightweight engineering applications
Together with its partners, TPAC has defined three research areas: Recycling, Production and Automation. In the field of recycling, methods are being developed to process low-end polymer waste into simple products. High-end carbon fibre based post-industrial waste from aerospace is also being studied and processed into new applications for aerospace. New production methods are being developed and tested to process composite material in a cost-effective manner, e.g. by combining 3D printing and tape placement.
New facilities, like a vertical closure injection moulding machine including an infrared oven to heat preforms, and robot in an automation cell, underline the new possibilities of the laboratory.
Together with research partner TPRC, the TPAC forms TPC NL and was awarded the Smart Industry Fieldlab by the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands and is listed as a digital innovation hub by the European Commission.
Image provided by TPAC
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