Project: Innovative sustainable rotomoulding process and biomaterials for energy efficient automotive and toy products

The aim of this project is to enable participating SME to produce energy efficient toys/car parts that require rotational moulding manufacturing process with new materials (biopolymers)._x000D_The rotational moulding is a well-known process to manufacture complex hollow parts where a predetermined amount of plastic (in powder or liquid) is poured into a hollow metal mould (made of steel or aluminum). The mould is closed and transferred to a heating oven where it simultaneously rotates around two right-angle axes until all material is equally dispersed and totally melted and adhered to the mould cavity. After the heating cycle is completed, the mould is moved to a cooling chamber to undergo a cooling cycle until the product is formed._x000D_This manufacturing process presents inefficiencies regarding the energy (95% waste) and time consumption. Furthermore, a limited range of materials exists for rotational moulding and there are no available commercial biomaterials for this process. Finally, there are not available standards tools for rotational moulding as much as injection moulding._x000D_To enhance the energy and time consumption rate of the process, the project will develop new nickel/copper rotational moulds by electroforming, a manufacturing process to obtain metallic parts by electrodeposition. The alloy of nickel/copper shall give the moulds of high thermal conductivity to improve the efficiency of the process in terms of energy and cycle time and enough mechanical resistance, as they will be thinner that the conventional ones. Additionally, Additive Manufacturing techniques will be applied to enable the mould to have free form geometries unable to obtain using other mould manufacturing processes._x000D_As for materials, new bioplastic materials will be specifically formulated and adapted for rotomoulding processes. The biodegradable materials to be studied will be polylactic acid (PLA), biodegradable polyesters (PHB) and polivinil alcohol (PVOH). Also natural wastes as banana fibers, almond and nut shell, will be used to be added to the biodegradable polymers or to conventional rotomoulding polymers (polyethylene (PE) and PVC) in order to provide a more ecological character to the formulations. _x000D_The articles manufactured with the new formulations and moulds should meet the technical, economical and other requirements established by the market oriented applications (toys/dolls & car parts) at affordable costs and reducing the environmental impact. The development of such biobased or biodegradable formulations suitable for the intended articles and rotomoulding will open the applications and market of the three involved companies, positioning also the rotational moulding as a sustainable technology._x000D_Therefore, the key research challenges will be to: _x000D_ - achieve a high surface quality of the model parts for electroforming, optimising synergies between copper and nickel electroforming, getting resistant and high thermal conductive and homogeneous metallic shell, _x000D_- develop new formulations of biodegradable and other bioplastic materials with appropriate flow and particle size for rotational moulding and optimising the rotomoulding processing of the new materials with the new moulds, _x000D_- commercialise the new efficient moulds for rotomoulding and new toys (dolls) and automotive parts (of big vehicles as lorries, agricultural vehicles…) made of biomaterials by efficient rotational moulding in one-two years after the project._x000D_The consortium will be composed by FALCA TOYS, S.L. (FALCA) (ES), a manufacturer of dolls by rotational and injection moulding that will take the leadership of the team; EBrim Rotomoulding S.L. (EBRIM) (ES), manufacturer of products by rotational moulding for different sectors, COly automotive; and CORIMA TECHNOLOGIES S.A.S. (CORIMA)(FR), company specialised in electroforming that also manufactures rotational moulds. The development of the new efficient moulds obtained by electroforming will be done into the consortium by CORIMA. FALCA and EBRIM will develop and adapt new bioplastic formulations for each application and will validate the new moulds in their rotational moulding machines by obtaining two technical prototypes (a doll part and an automotive part, respectively) with these new materials. _x000D_The CO advantages of using the new global sustainable rotational moulding process (mould & materials) are economical (energy consumption and cycle time will be reduced; cost of the electroformed mould is lower); evironmental (introduction of biomaterials in rotational moulding and for toys and automotive applications; reduction of energy consumption for heating the moulds) and technical (possibility of obtention of complex geometries with texture or fine details by obtaining a model using haptics to get textures or organic geometries)._x000D_Since does not exist within the European market bioplastic formulations for rotomoulding and the new proposed electroformed moulds, this sustainable process is highly new.

Acronym ROTELEC (Reference Number: 7330)
Duration 01/11/2012 - 28/02/2015
Project Topic The objective is to develop energy efficient, high quality, green and low cost plastic products by enhancing rotational moulding manufacturing process, using innovative electroformed moulds and biopolymers. Both moulds and materials will be optimized and validated for the toy and automotive sectors.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
CO results of the project for CORIMA are the following ones:_x000D_- Nickel and copper/nickel rotational moulding moulds_x000D_- Homogeneous metallic shells for moulds_x000D_- Introduction of additive manufacturing technologies for the production of electroformed shells_x000D_- Decrease of manufacturing costs of the mould
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 8

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
3 FALCA TOYS S.L. Coordinator Spain
3 EBRIM Rotomoulding S.L. Observer Spain