Task1 Components selected for prototyping; prototype performance criteria characterised; Health and Safety and environmental legislation governing established processes identified (this legislation also governs the handling and use of thermoplastic composites); SMEs visited to establish design philosophy for designing prototypes, and to identify ability to introduce new technology into existing manufacturing environments.
Task2 Detailed design and concept evaluation of identified prototypes; primary prototypes manufactured; manufacturing technology identified; primary prototypes evaluated; secondary prototypes designed.
Task5 Surface finishes identified; surface finishes sourced; determination of application parameters for surface finishes; trials with surface finishes to determine best application techniques; evaluation and report on performance of surface finishes.
Task6 Evaluation of environmental effects of existing processes and new technologies; evaluation and report of environmental study parameters (life cycle assessments).
The objective of the project is to develop thermoplastic composite materials for the production of furniture in the educational, institutional and contract banking sectors. The material will have endurance characteristics and the ability to withstand abuse. Most traditional materials use within this sector are less flexible, less manipulative, heavier and are unfavourable to designers and product developers. The innovation will concern the recent advances in thermoplastic composite moulding technology which has resulted in the development of materials and processing techniques which are emission free. Additional benefits in terms of higher produdivity cost effectiveness and recyclability have also been demonstrated when compared to established processes. One of the greatest concerns across Europe relates to the emission of solvents during processing and finishing operations. Thermoset resins are used almost universally at present and pose a significant health hazard as well as manufacturing and storage problems. This project aims to address the emission of organic solvent and formaldehyde. The reinforced thermoplastic composite materials are totally inert and produce no fumes in operation. The innovation will adapt this technology onto a semi industrial scale and at a later stage to full industrial scale. Components will be produced and examined and tested and comparisons made with existing technologies. The process will be developed to meet the needs of the SMEs involved in the project. An environmental study will also be carried out determining the environmental effects this process of using thermoplastic composite materials to produce furniture components.
Funding SchemeCRS - Cooperative research contracts
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