Project: EASY MATerial Handling with lightweight and recyclable HPTs based on innovative self-reinforced plastic moulding processes

The economic crisis has hit the plastics industry severely, causing the global plastics production to decrease for the first time in 34 years with a production drop of around 20% from January to June 2009 and more than 30% from autumn 2008. There is therefore a huge need for the plastics industry to overcome the ongoing crisis and to come out with major potentials. Several SMEs are trying to pave the way to new business strategies by opening their market to a wide range of not exploited sectors and developing advanced as well as new generation innovative products through the use of cutting edge technologies._x000D__x000D_Our first proposer, involved in manufacturing plastic components, has explored the potential of introducing plastics manufacturing techniques and technologies in the field of material handling, indeed a sector which could deeply benefit from the advantages provided by employing lighter materials. The Hand Pallet Truck (HPT) production has been identified as one possible application where techno-plastics could play a crucial role in, totally modifying the performances as well as the business of the sector._x000D__x000D_Within this framework, the overall goal of the EASYMATH project is to develop flowing self-reinforced plastics together with energy-efficient injection moulding and compression moulding techniques needed to produce components from this family of materials to be used in innovative HPTs manufacturing. This will allow thermoplastic parts to be made stronger, stiffer and lighter without the need for glass or carbon fibres, thus giving rise to a new generation of all-plastic, lightweight, highly recyclable, chemically passive and cost-effective HPTs able to sustain high payloads both statically and dynamically, thus guaranteeing the HPT an efficient use in material handling applications._x000D__x000D_This well sounds with the need for renovation in fields related to material handling and HPT production. As a matter of fact, the stationary technological content together with the high percentage of costs due to assembly operations have resulted in a dramatic rise in the numbers of pallet trucks being imported from China. The rise in the Chinese imports has been accompanied by a corresponding loss of market share, very low capacity utilization and sharply reduced profits for the Community Industry. The development of an all-plastic recyclable HPT is believed to move a consistent step towards the dumping of imports from China by launching cost-competitive products with high technological content and superior technical performances._x000D__x000D_In traditional applications, the employment of polymers would even reduce corrosion and contamination risks thus guaranteeing plastic HPTs safe use in the food/health industry within wet/salty environments as well as in highly hygienic environments (pharmaceutical warehouses) where stainless steel HPTs are nowadays employed. In addition to the conventional markets, it will be possible to extend the HPT smart use in a number of novel applications. Additional secondary markets would exploit the peculiar structural performances of the novel composite frame, such as the medical, textile, construction and automotive markets._x000D__x000D_Therefore, if this new generation of self-reinforced plastics could tap into the wide plastics industry, a broad audience of plastic converters will take advantage from the findings, including raw materials suppliers, machine manufacturers, tool makers, ancillary products and services providers._x000D__x000D_The project supports a value chain of 3 SMEs and 1 LE from Italy and Poland in addressing a major threat to their competitiveness opening up perspectives for economic exploitation. The Consortium includes plastic raw material suppliers and high-precision plastic products manufacturers which base their production mostly on injection/compression moulding, which will give their effort on the development of modified polymers and moulding processes. The SMEs will work in close cooperation and will exploit their own R&D capabilities and expertise in their sector of competence. The LE will help steer the project from the perspective of end users and will provide its contribution in developing research activities as well as in facilitating the approach to the market. The Ps fill indeed the research gaps being actively involved in developing innovative cutting-edge products within the material handling sector through its highly qualified engineers team. Hence, the proposed Pship demonstrates the capability and commitment of the Consortium to implement a tangible R&D work plan at a high quality level.

Acronym EASYMATH (Reference Number: 5653)
Duration 01/07/2010 - 30/06/2012
Project Topic EASYMATH aims at developing flowing self-reinforced plastics together with energy-efficient injection moulding and compression moulding techniques needed to produce components from this family of materials to be used in innovative HPTs manufacturing for easy material handling.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 4

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
4 CIM-mes Projekt z o.o. Partner Poland
4 SKA Polska Sp. z o.o. Partner Poland
4 Lifter S.r.l. Partner Italy
4 Officine Meccano Plastiche S.p.A. Coordinator Italy