US-based Hanwha Azdel Inc has increased capacity for its Azdel SuperLite lightweight reinforced thermoplastic (LWRT) composite product at its Virginia, USA production facility, due to growing demand.

The company is adding more space at the plant plus a 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 and construction, office furniture, and industrial market segments has reportedly prompted the move to add capacity to support sales efforts in North America and Europe.

 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 create panels, which are usually faced with fabric, wallpaper, laminate, or film skins. 

Fuel economy

‘With legislative mandates for improved fuel economy or lower greenhouse-gas emissions in many parts of the globe, transportation OEMs need to reduce vehicle mass significantly,’ said Sean Campbell, director of global marketing at Hanwha Azdel. ‘While those mandates don't impact RV manufacturers directly, lighter RVs use less fuel and can be pulled or powered by engines with lower towing capacities. Since our materials are half the weight of plywood, they have a strong value proposition. They also are far more impact and puncture resistant than plywood.’

This story is reprinted from material from Hanwha Azdel, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.