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Luxus Celebrates Success As The Hycolene™ Commercialisation Project Completes

11th January 2017

Technical compounder Luxus celebrated yesterday the completion of its €1.4m Recyclite project, co-funded by the EU’s Eco-Innovation initiative, at the Brackenborough Hotel, Louth, Lincolnshire. The three year project to help commercialise its environmentally positive, advanced lightweight, scratch resistant thermoplastics range for Class ‘A’ auto interiors will come to an end later this month.
Luxus along with its fellow project partners - Tier 1 moulder International Automotive Components (IAC), major auto manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover and bespoke twin screw manufacturer Coperion have helped support the development of the Hycolene™ thermoplastics range through a series of technical trials – proving the technology’s potential at full commercial scale.
Underlining the need for eco-innovation entrepreneurism in Europe on the day was guest speaker Didier Gambier, head of department, Department B – LIFE and H2020, Energy, Environment, Resources, The Executive Agency for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, The European Commission. While Matt Croucher, environment manager, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT ) focused on the UK market with highlights from its ‘2016 New Car CO2 and Automotive Sustainability’ reports, confirming that new car emissions had hit their lowest ever levels.
Launched in 2008 the Eco-innovation initiative was part of the EU’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP), set up to support innovation among SMEs and to improve their competitiveness. It helped to bridge the ‘gap’ between research and the market.
Luxus technical director, Dr Christel Croft explains, “We’re pleased that the commercial potential for Hycolene™ was recognised by the EU and our fellow project partners three years ago. This crucial investment and the dedicated industry expertise it required, has enabled us to make a fundamental step change in our technology, as we have replaced filled compounds with ‘next generation’ reinforcing additives.
“Offering excellent tensile properties these additives do not detract from the appearance of a moulded compound, yet their adoption reduces weight by up to 12 per cent per part and significantly improves scratch resistance too, satisfying stringent industry standards.
“Hycolene 16818 offers a much lower density than currently provided, while still delivering up to 60 per cent recycled content with the option for prime grades too. The result is that the material satisfies the rapid cycle times now set by OEMs and Tier 1 manufacturers whilst having significant Co2 reduction.”
Rob Crow, materials innovation manager, Jaguar Land Rover. ‘Through our involvement in the Recyclite project, Jaguar Land Rover has demonstrated first hand that Hycolene™ 16818 can meet our key structural requirements for use in Class ‘A’ interior applications, whilst delivering a significant improvement in scratch performance over conventional talc filled polypropylenes.’ 
Looking ahead Luxus will be developing additional Hycolene™ grades, including an even higher impact version with excellent scratch resistance and further colour options. Its capacity to produce the new compounds will be helped in the future by working in close partnership with both local and global sources to access (PP) recyclate – the same lightweight performance can be achieved too in prime grades.
Luxus managing director, Peter Atterby said: “This project has enabled us to become a true ‘Eco-innovator’, Hycolene™ produces 26 per cent less CO2 per tonne over the life cycle of the vehicle compared to virgin compounds for example. By helping to also preserve limited natural resources, we are reducing the vehicle’s carbon footprint and contributing to automakers vehicle ‘life cycle analysis’ requirements. As we inevitably move towards a future legislative regime that will include more than simply tailpipe emissions alone.
“Beyond its ‘green’ credentials, we have engineered what we believe is the next generation in performance leading polymers. Hycolene™ has exceeded expectations offering an enhanced surface finish where it matters most – in the auto cockpit and cabin.”
“Our advanced thermoplastics technology, developed for Europe’s auto interior applications is of benefit to many diverse global markets too. We’re developing an extrusion grade to bring the advantages of Hycolene™ to the heavy equipment industry, such as earth moving machinery manufacture to coaches, buses and HGVs for example.
“We’re also investigating cosmetic packaging, particularly black bottles where improved scratch resistance at the point of sale is required. We intend to incorporate a near infrared (NIR) detectable version to enable effective post-consumer recycling, as it will contain no carbon black – this is just the beginning of what Hycolene™ can achieve. Without the support however, of this EU initiative and our expert partners, we as an SME wouldn’t have been able to bring to market this innovative new compound.”

Image - Didier Gambier, Head of Department, Life and H2020, Energy, Environment, Resources, The Executive Agency For Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, The European Commission

Published 11 Jan 2017 Back to previous
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