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Rapra leads aluminium tooling in Europe

Rapra Technology, Europe's leading polymer research organisation, has secured 700,000 of EU funding on behalf of a European consortium to lead the development of innovative high performance anodised aluminium moulding tools for thermoplastic processing applications.

A team of companies and research partners from the development consortium - spread across the EU - met at Rapra in early November to map out the plan of activity for the next two years. A total of 1.4 Million Euros will be committed to the project by these companies and the EU. In addition to Rapra, the partners include UK surface treatment companies Brita Finishers Ltd and Heywood Metal Finishers and the Polymer Processing Research Centre at Queens University, Belfast. Spanish companies Si2M, Andalplast and Ascamm Technology Centre are also involved as are Alcan VRC, the joint research center ARMINES (Association pour la Recherche et le Développement des Méthodes et Processus Industriels ) / CROMeP (Resarch Center on Tools Materials and Prcocesses in Albi) from France, Sigma Engineering GmbH (Germany) and PPA (Eire). The main goals of the project are to: · To develop cost effective anodised aluminium alloy tools for a range of thermoplastic processing operations with superior properties to current aluminium and steel tools. · To develop cost effective anodised aluminium alloy tools for a range of thermoplastic processing operations such as injection moulding, blow moulding and rotational moulding that have: Reduced cycle time; Increased product integrity and reduced energy usage. · Increase SME competitiveness. If successful, the results of the project will be of great use to both aluminium toolmakers and polymer processors. It should allow aluminium tools to be manufactured whose wear and thermal properties exceed those of current aluminium tools and whose performance over a lifetime should also lead to significant processing advantages in terms of cycle time and energy usage. Project Manager, Dr Gary Williams of Rapra Technology says: 'Aluminium tooling shows significant advantages such as low density and high thermal conductivity but there are also significant disadvantages such as wear resistance, hardness and scratch resistance. This technology will help to overcome some of these limitations allowing greater aluminium tool usage that will be of tremendous benefit to the industry'. Large projects currently being undertaken by Rapra are in areas of activity ranging from supercritical fluid technology to recycling, biodegradable polymers and electrically conducting polymers. Funding for these projects has been successfully gained from national and European bodies such as the Waste Resources Action Programme, the DTI and the European Commission. Since the management buy out in 2002, Rapra has grown its' large project business significantly in line with the strategic growth plan for the company set-out by the senior management team. The large projects team at Rapra Technology is always interested in hearing from companies that have innovative ideas and are looking for funding opportunities and partners to drive these ideas forward. ,Companies interested in being involved in Rapra large projects activities should contact: Gary Williams at Rapra Technology. ,Tel. +44(0)1939 252 402. Email. gwilliams@rapra.netRapra Technology is Europe's leading polymer research and technology organisation. The company is an independent organisation with over 80 years of experience providing industry with technology, information, consultancy and expert advice on all aspects of plastics and rubber materials. Rapra, formerly known as the Rubber and Plastics Research Association, is based near Shrewsbury with a regional office in Billingham, Cleveland. The company held a successful Management Buyout in July 2002, led by Andrew Ward, Chief Executive. The greater part of Rapra Technology turnover is made up from fee income derived from single and multi-client projects, from funded research contracts for the UK government, regional development agencies and the EC, as well as from the activities and products of Rapra's publishing and information businesses. About 4% of Rapra's income derives from subscriptions paid by its 160 members. Rapra Technology maintains extensive analytical, testing and processing laboratories which are complemented by an Information Centre which maintains and develops the world's most comprehensive database of commercial and technical information on rubber and plastics - Rapra Abstracts. Rapra Technology publishes a wide range of technology and market-based journals and books, administers the world's largest online source of polymer information,; organises national and international conferences and provides polymer technology training


Metal Finishing, Surface Treatments


Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, United Kingdom