ROTOFLEX addresses the needs of the Rotational Moulding industry through: · Development of an automated feed system for polymer, additives, and coolants direct to the rotating mould at any point in the cycle. This will allow the production of: multilayer parts for enhanced product performance fibre-reinforced composites and facilitate automatic and controlled internal mould cooling · Decreasing the processing cycle time by as much as 30% through automated feeding in the loading/heating/cooling/demoulding cycle. Reduced thermal stress to the polymer will allow use of engineering plastics for value added applications and improved dimensional stability. The EU rotational moulding sector uses 1.7 TWh of energy each year and therefore reducing energy consumption by 20%, through improving cycle times, will result in a saving of €30M. The Kyoto protocol aims to cut CO2 emissions by ~10% by 2012 and 50% by 2050. It is estimated that across the EU 750K tonnes of CO2 are emitted each year due to rotational moulding. Reduced energy usage gives a proportionate environmental impact. · Integration of rotational moulding simulation software (RotoSim) with new finite element models, validated experimentally, to quantify variables and control shrinkage, residual stress and warpage, leading to higher quality roto-products. · Knowledge-based rotational mould and machine design criteria/guidelines to accommodate the new universal feed system, and optimise processing performance; reinforcing the supply chain. · Apply the new automatic feed system, mould and machine design, and knowledge-based processing to enable the use of engineering materials, and the development of new multilayer, fibre-reinforced and wood-polymer composite (WPC) products, achieving target end-user specifications for value added applications.
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