Composites specialist Lomold’s subsidiary, Lomotek Polymers, says although the initial local application for its new range of Lomotex long-fibre-reinforced thermoplastics (LFTs) will be in the manufacturing of its Lomold pallet, the material will also be made available to other plastics manu- facturers this year.
Lomotek introduced the LFTs to the South African plastics industry in September last year.
Lomold group marketing and communications manager Wouter du Toit says Lomotek developed and manufactured the new-generation fibre technology in-house.
“The manufacturing process enables the use of high-performance materials at a relatively low cost, which makes it suitable for use in crates and other heavy-duty plastic products, such as the Lomold pallet,” he states.
Tests have shown that a pallet manufactured from the Lomotex LFT can exceed the 1 250 kg dynamic and racking capabilities benchmarked by the traditional wooden pallet market.
This is due to the strength that the longer fibres add to the product properties, as well as the reduction in the pallet weight to 8.5 kg, compared with between 25 kg and 40 kg for a wooden pallet.
Du Toit says the fibres remain long throughout the moulding process, which significantly increases the tensile strength and impact properties of the product.
Once moulded, the fibres form a gridlike structure that is virtually unbreakable.
“We are excited to launch the new LFTs into the South African market. “This product is the result of more than 13 years of research and development and will revolu- tionise the plastics industry throughout the country and the rest of the African continent,” Du Toit states.
The LFTs are available in sizes of between 10 mm and 25 mm.
Lomold materials and engineering VP Mathias Lindner tells Engineering News that Lomotek will introduce LFT materials to new regional and technological markets over the next few months. He says the development of the Lomotex LFTs was mainly driven by the need for a suitable material for the Lomold pallet range that is currently being introduced to the South African market.
The LFTs have a range of applications in the automotive, container, appliance and construction industries. Further, Lindner says Lomotek hopes the new polymers will open new horizons for plastics applications and strengthen the South African plastics industry by adding a variety of high-tech materials at an affordable cost.
“The combination of thermoplastic materials and long fibre offers mechanical and thermomechanical properties that are beneficial to users and will result in a growth opportunity for the South African plastics industry,” he concludes.
Lomotek also plans to launch a new range of polyamide 6 and polyamide 6.6 products later this year.