Econcore N.V. of Leuven (Heverlee) at K 2019 in Düsseldorf -- K Trade Fair

Econcore N.V.

Ambachtenlaan 25, 3001 Leuven (Heverlee)
Telephone +3216381060
Fax +3216381069

Media files

Hall map

K 2019 hall map (Hall 8a): stand C37

Fairground map

K 2019 fairground map: Hall 8a

Our range of products

Product categories

  • 02  Semi-finished products, technical parts and reinforced plastics
  • 02.04  Product groups
  • 02.04.001  Semi finished products
  •  Semi finished products of polypropylene (PP)

Semi finished products of polypropylene (PP)

  • 02  Semi-finished products, technical parts and reinforced plastics
  • 02.04  Product groups
  • 02.04.003  Technical parts
  •  Parts from high performance thermoplastics

Parts from high performance thermoplastics

  • 02  Semi-finished products, technical parts and reinforced plastics
  • 02.05  Products
  • 02.05.054  Sandwich cores

Our products

Product category: Sandwich cores

ThermHex Technology - Folded honeycomb from a continuous thermoplastic sheet

Core material and process
The patented ThermHex honeycomb material and technology allows production from a single continuous thermoplastic sheet by successive in-line operations.

The ThermHex core is produced from a single sheet by a thermoforming, a folding and a bonding operation. ThermHex honeycombs have closed skin strips, allowing perfect bonding of skins onto the core.

ThermHex technology enables the cost efficient production of honeycomb cores from a wide range of thermoplastic polymers with a large variation in cell size, density and thickness.

Production line
The ThermHex production technology enables the production of themoplastic honeycombs directly from the extruder or from a roll of material.

Inline postprocessing to panels and parts leads to further cost reductions by optimal process integration.

ThermHex Applications
EconCore technologies allow for production of ThermHex honeycomb cores from different thermoplastic polymers via a coil of film or by direct extrusion and enable a direct further processing in-line. The range of polymers include (but is not limited to) PP (Polypropylene), PE (Polyethylene), PS (Polystyrene), PET (Polyethylene terephthalate), PA (Polyamide), PC (Polycarbonate), ABS (Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene), PPS (Polyphenylene sulfide), PEI (Polyetherimide).

In combination with different skin materials EconCore honeycombs offer a wide range of application possibilities. Low production costs of EconCore honeycombs enable substitution of other honeycomb cores and homogeneous panel materials. In development projects with our customers and licensees we develop panels and parts for packaging, graphical, automotive, transportation, building & construction as well as furniture markets.

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Product category: Sandwich cores

PP honeycomb cores

One of EconCore’s first licensees, ThermHex Waben GmbH, produces ThermHex polypropylene honeycombs cores. These cores are used in a wide range of applications in industrial lightweight construction like the construction industry, vehicle and automobile production, shipbuilding, sport and leisure equipment and many more.

ThermHex processing
Thermhex polypropylene honeycomb cores are suitable as a core material for the manufacture of sandwich panels by laminating with a range of skins and by various production processes; i.e. Hand laminating for the manufacture of panels with glass-fibre skins, thermoplastic lamination or bonding with duromer adhesives.

ThermHex honeycomb cores are made with a packaging film of polypropylene as standard. This prevents the ingress of resin into the cells during processing, and therefore safeguards uniformity in the mechanical characteristics of the finished component.
This also reduces the quantity of adhesive required to the minimum necessary. Polyester fleece layers on both sides are used to finish, achieving a surface for perfect bonding with the core.

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Product category: Semi finished products of polypropylene (PP)

PP honeycomb board for performance and growth in packaging

The advantage of continuous production of honeycomb core materials at high speeds, high volumes, with lowest possible costs has enabled EconCore to license its technology around the world for applications in transportation, automotive, building and construction and of course, packaging. 
Packaging in fact remains the largest share of EconCore's licensing business, from its first licensee in Japan (Gifu Plastic Industry) focusing on lightweight high-performance polyproypylene honeycomb-cored sandwiched panels to Karton in Italy and Roplast in Turkey focusing on reusable packaging so that today a significant percentage of the OEM market in Europe relies on industrial packaging solutions made using EconCore technology.

The honeyconb structure is key, with its optimal material utilization for performance. Comparing the true honeycomb structure to other core structures confirms this performance advantage. Consider the conventional fluted, twin-wall corrugated, design with its direction-specific structure, or cup-shaped core structures used as well in some automotive applications, honeycomb core material out-performs both in bending stiffness, compression strength, while using significantly less material.

This performance advantage is clearly seen in reusable packaging applications with products made using EconCore technology. Comparing a number of different sleeve packs of same size and areal density (3000g/m2) for maximum compression loading shows honeycomb having much higher performance from just under 25% up to almost 90% higher maximum compression loading over all other core types tested.

Reusable packagind made using EconCore technology is emerging as the new standard in performance and presents opportunity for sleeve pack producer to offer highest performing solution, reduce weight per piece or both, leading to sustantial bottom line benefits through reduced material and energy costs and potentially at even higher output speeds. 

Versatility of the technology is important and provides users with ability to offer product range to meet their market requirements. One production line can cover full range of sleeve packs, layer pads and other dunnage, storage and delivery boxes amng other applications. Extending from packaging into automotive PP honeycomb panels are ideally suited for a number of interior applications, replacing hardwood for example in the trunk space and fro van wall cladding. 

Experience gained over time means continuous improvement with each installation of the technology. This benefits both current users and new users deciding to license EconCore technology. With the new standard in performance, an attractive investment level compared to alternatives and favorable return on investement, and a product range to meet market needs, the opportunity is ripe for new investors in EconCore technology for packaging.

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Product category: Sandwich cores, Parts from high performance thermoplastics

FR/FST honeycombs

High-end applications have been favoring thermoset composite materials over a long period of time. The world is changing though, and the industry is asking for alternative thermoplastic solutions in order to benefit from easy, cost-efficient and short-cycle processing as well as recyclability. Without compromising the market needs, including weight reduction and fire-safety in first place, EconCore is presenting its latest development – High Performance Thermoplastic honeycomb technology.

EconCore’s technology has been widely proven in a range of different applications already. Our honeycomb sandwich panels are being used in automotive, broader range of applications in ground and sea transportation, building and logistics.
HPT honeycombs build on the intrinsic benefits of lightweight honeycomb structures, now with higher heat stability and excellent fire resistance. The thermoplastic polymers used for HPT honeycomb’s production are Fire-Smoke-Toxicity qualified grades, including, amongst other options, polycarbonates, PPS and PEI. With so-based sandwich structures, the “pass” criteria can be obtained with regards to both, railway’s EN45545 standard and aviation’s FAR25.853 norm.

The applications for HPT honeycombs are broad ranged and primarily lay within aircraft and railway interior components. With the proven honeycomb structure, the mechanical performance is superior to that of FST / FR grades of foam cores offered in the market. Next to the possibility of combining the core with thermoset composite skins for conventional processing methods, the thermoplastic honeycombs are often laminated with thermoplastic face sheets, building essentially mono-material, all-thermoplastic sandwich structures. These can be thermo-formed into final parts in an energy, time and cost-efficient single-step process, dramatically changing production environment in contrast to the costly and labor-intensive conventional processing methods dedicated to thermoset composites.

EconCore’s technology has been widely proven in a range of different applications already. Our honeycomb sandwich panels are being used in automotive, broader range of applications in ground and sea transportation, building and logistics.
HPT honeycombs build on the intrinsic benefits of lightweight honeycomb structures, now with higher heat stability and excellent fire resistance. The thermoplastic polymers used for HPT honeycomb’s production are Fire-Smoke-Toxicity qualified grades, including, amongst other options, polycarbonates, PPS and PEI. With so-based sandwich structures, the “pass” criteria can be obtained with regards to both, railway’s EN45545 standard and aviation’s FAR25.853 norm.

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Product category: Sandwich cores

Composite Panels

Thermoplastic Solution for Demanding Applications

ThermHex honeycombs combined with composite skins result in very strong and tough but lightweight sandwich panels. 

The skins can be made of different types of composites and today several companies already use EconCore’s technology to produce sandwich panels with WPC skins in a continuous process or apply GRP thermoset composite layers onto ThermHex honeycombs.

Panels made using glass fiber reinforced thermoplastics skins (referred often as to “organosheet” or from German, “organoblech”) offer a unique set of properties and are the latest development from EconCore in composite honeycomb sandwich panels. Integration of the honeycomb core production with in-line lamination of composite skins allows producers to minimize handling operations and to reduce production costs of the sandwich panel.  Furthermore, finishing (e.g. lamination of decorative or UV protection layers) and post-processing (e.g. thermoforming) operations can be integrated in the process of production of the final sandwich part. 

Features such as thermal insulation are inherent due to the honeycomb structure. Sandwich panels with skins made of reinforced thermoplastics offer not only excellent rigidity at minimal weight but also toughness which is due to the thermoplastic material system. 

Thermoformability of this sandwich solution allows entering applications beyond flat parts.  Depending on the needs of a specific application the composite skins are usually glass or carbon fiber based.  However, for less demanding applications, EconCore has also developed sandwich panels with natural fiber composite skins.

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Product category: Sandwich cores

Steel panels

Innovative Composite Panels with Steel Skins
Steel sounds heavy already as we hear the word, but ways to make it lighter are now available. It is not a modification of the material as such but the smart hybridizing of steel with a lightweight honeycomb structure that makes “steel” less massive.
Steel is one of the most common engineering materials in the world. It is a fundamental resource used in a variety of industries for constructing buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, automobiles, machines, appliances or weapons. It is known for centuries as an incredibly strong and tough construction material. EconCore combined its thermoplastic ThermHex honeycomb core with steel skins into a well balanced material system. Outstandingly low weight of this solution compared to any solid metal sheet is just one of the product features. After gaining know-how and through optimisation of interfacial bonding and efficient structural design, EconCore explored the steel – thermoplastic hybrid product, proving its excellent mechanical performance-to-weight ratio. Due to ultra small size of honeycomb core cells, with cell diameters as small as 3 mm, a very smooth surface of the sandwich panel is achieved, even if the metal skin thickness is below 300 μm. The 3 mm cell size allows for a 4-5 mm thick panel, but the same production process can make panels up to 40 mm in thickness. High stiffness, low weight, good thermal insulation, magnetic properties as well as smooth surface (coloured if needed) make the ThermHex product a first line candidate for use in many applications, including panels for interior and exterior cladding, visual communication, solar energy, elevators, rolling stock, automotive and trucks, ship building and many others. ThermHex technology for Steel Composite Panels is an obvious nominee for a mass production process where production costs can be kept low by use of the patented high speed EconCore production process.

Production line
At the starting point of the production line, a thin polymer film is extruded and converted into a honeycomb core using the patented ThermHex technology.
In a second production step metal skins are applied and bonded on top of the lightweight core to create a sandwich panel. This all done in the same production line and the different production steps are logical steps in the continuous production line. Even a number of post-processing operations can be integrated in-line with the panel production, adding additional value to the product.

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Product category: Sandwich cores

Alu panels

New generation Aluminium Composite Panels
After the successful global launch of ThermHex technology for packaging applications, EconCore intensively explores new material combinations, beyond mono-material sandwich panel concepts. The company introduces technology for cost efficient production of the next generation Aluminium Composite Panels.
More than 30 million tons of aluminium and its alloys are produced annually over the entire world to be consumed in many market segments, including packaging, building&construction, transportation, automotive and the most demanding industrial sector of aerospace. Constructors appreciate relatively low weight of this material, ease of its processing compared to steel as well as its corrosion resistance.

EconCore’s combination of thermoplastic ThermHex honeycomb core and aluminium skins brings panel weight to levels that were not possible today in mass aluminium panel production. Due to ultra small size of honeycomb core cells, with celldiameters as small as 3 mm, a very smooth surface of the sandwich panel is achieved, even if the metal skin thickness is below 300 μm. The excellent aesthetics achieved with ThermHex Composite Panels opens up opportunities for use in visual communication boards and building facade panels. Utilising the cutting-edge ThermHex technology, production cost of the panels can be reduced to minimum. This is due to the continuous production process where a polymer film is extruded and directly converted into a honeycomb core. In a next step in the in-line process the aluminium skins are applied and bonded so that a sandwich panel is produced. With the ThermHex technology weight savings are translated into cost savings as there are no off-line operations involved in the sandwich panel making process. Applications include panels for visual communication, building facades, interior cladding, separation walls, solar energy modules, furniture and mass transportation interiors.

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Company news




Jul 10, 2019

EconCore Teams up with Ultrapolymers and DuFor for Recycled PET Honeycomb Development

EconCore, the leader in thermoplastic honeycomb core production technology, collaborates with Ultrapolymers and DuFor in an R&D project funded by the Flemish Government to develop a new product: a thermoplastic honeycomb core made from recycled PET. The basis of this development is EconCore’s worldwide patented process for continuous and cost-effective production of thermoplastic honeycombs.

Ultrapolymers and DuFor, who have partnered with EconCore on this project, have extensive knowledge and expertise in processing PET and recycled PET (rPET) polymers. They show great flexibility providing custom-made solutions for their clients. DuFor’s advise was of key importance to find the optimal composition of the PET polymers and chemical additives that benefit the crystallization process, even during fast cooling, and keep the semi-crystalline state stable during and after the manufacturing process.

The two-year project was funded by the Flemish government who acknowledged the innovative technology and ecological aspect in this new product and process development. Using the existing patented ThermHex technology which allows for fast, continuous production, EconCore managed to further improve and upgrade the process to allow the use of recycled materials that are being converted into high performing cost-efficient honeycomb cores.

“We are delighted to work together with Ultrapolymers, one of Europe’s leading polymer distributors, and DuFor, a polymer developer and producer with over 40 years of experience. Thanks to their knowledge in polymers, EconCore managed to develop a sustainable honeycomb core which is made entirely from recycled PET materials.” said Wouter Winant, Technical Manager at EconCore. “These PET honeycomb cores and PET-based semi-finished sandwich panels can be used in a range of different applications, including transportation, building & construction, packaging, furniture and others, where sustainable, low-cost but performing solutions are desired. An interesting feature is that EconCore’s PET honeycomb materials are thermoformable and relatively complex shaped parts can be obtained. Furthermore, these honeycomb cores, although they remain very cost competitive, show enhanced stability at elevated temperatures. These products have a huge potential to become a more cost-effective alternative solution to solid polymer sheets and foam cores, particularly those based on PET.” continues Winant.

“By joining forces with EconCore, we are thrilled about the possibility to test and eventually bring to market a smart, innovative and sustainable product that contributes towards the circular economy of plastics” says Dieter Vogeleer, Account Manager at Ultrapolymers.

“Being involved in this project is in line with our focus to provide innovative and customized solutions for applications or products where recycled PET materials are used” said Marco Brons, Technical Director at DuFor.

About DuFor
Special applications require customized solutions. We offer these solutions by developing customized polyester raw materials combined with a high level of technical support. DuFor focuses on developing innovative solutions that are recyclable and made with renewable resources. This offers the opportunity for reuse of otherwise inferior materials, an optimal price/performance combination and, most important, saving the environment at the same time. Our goal is to establish a circular economy for polyesters by finding sustainable materials and creating a second life. We believe it is possible to replace traditional fossil materials with bio-based or recycled materials. Working closely with our customers and bringing together our complementary expertise and resources, we move faster in developing 100% renewable and recyclable polyesters on a commercial scale. More information:

About Ultrapolymers
Ultrapolymers, founded in Belgium in 2002, offers a comprehensive product portfolio of raw materials covering Commodities, Engineering plastics, Specialties (of Specialty compounds), Recycled & Circular products and Thermoplastic elastomers. Together with our technical support we can supply a wide range of materials for almost every application. With offices and warehouses in most of the European countries, Ultrapolymers established a commercial network with a local presence to serve its customers and suppliers in the best possible way. More information:

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May 6, 2019

EconCore presents new thermoplastic honeycomb panel production technology at Plastics Extrusion World Expo 2019

EconCore, a leader in thermoplastic honeycomb production technology, will be exhibiting at the Plastics Extrusion World Expo in Cleveland (Ohio, USA) on May 8 and 9. EconCore is highlighting its worldwide patented and widely implemented production technology that allows companies in North America, Europe, and Asia to produce performance to weight optimized products for packaging, automotive, commercial transportation and building materials.

The extrusion fed technology of EconCore converts thermoplastics to technical honeycomb core structures and with in line lamination of skins produces lightweight sandwich panels. Exploiting the so-called sandwich effect, users of the technology are able to transform commodity thermoplastic materials to high value honeycomb products having high mechanical performance at much lower weight compared to solid extruded materials while at the same time saving on material costs. The true honeycomb structure also outperforms other low-density cores such as fluted or cup-shaped structures sometimes used in packaging and automotive applications.

EconCore’s continuous honeycomb panel production technology consists of feeding (by direction extrusion or pre-extruded flat film/sheet), vacuum forming of the film/sheet to a half-hexagonal “half honeycomb” pattern, folding of the pattern to a technical honeycomb core structure, and bonding of skin materials onto the honeycomb core to make sandwich panels. Using the high speed in line process, the user is able to realize products at minimal cost, minimal weight, and minimal environmental impact.

Founded in 2005 in Belgium, EconCore began with the invention of an aerospace engineer who on one hand recognized the value of the honeycomb structure widely used for decades in aerospace and on the other hand applied the high speed, automatic production concepts used in the packaging industry. Since these beginnings EconCore has licensed its “ThermHex technology” to leading companies across the globe including among others “Karton S.p.A.“ from Italy and “Gifu Plastics Industriey” from Japan for packaging, “Renolit SE from Germany and “Fynotej” from Mexico for automotive, “Wabash National” from the US for transportation, and “Tata Steel” from the UK for building. “EconCore brought the honeycomb structure once reserved for high end less cost sensitive domains to the higher volume mass markets and by doing so have furthered the efficient use of nature’s finite resources”, says Tomasz Czarnecki EconCore COO, “for users of the technology and products it is the cost efficiency of the process and the weight savings offered by the honeycomb structure that are the main drivers of success”.

As packaging and automotive are the two largest sectors making up the licensing footprint today, EconCore will emphasize the use of its technology in these areas at the Plastics Extrusion World Expo. Licensees in packaging and automotive typically extrude polypropylene to make technical honeycomb cores followed by in line bonding of polypropylene skins to make sandwich panels.  Finishing steps are often integrated in line including corona treatment for ink printing and bonding of textiles to the skin surface for automotive interior applications.

A leading example of the success with true honeycomb core-based products is in reusable packaging with collapsible sleeve packs which are very popular among automotive OEMs for inter/intra site logistics. Sleeve packs made using EconCore technology are setting new performance standards in terms of maximum load and this no doubt is a key reason for market share growth over the last 3 years to level upwards of 20 percent of the European OEM market. “With reusable packaging set to grow in North America the time is ripe for a new user to leap-frog and take the lead with EconCore for resuable packaging in the region”, says John Sewell responsible for business development at EconCore.

Moreover, the excellent thermoformability of the thermoplastic honeycomb sandwich panels is very much desired especially in automotive applications. Also, the still air within the honeycomb cells enhances thermal insulation and the honeycomb structure serves to improve acoustic absorption.

The versatility of the technology allows for wide range of core materials in addition to polyolefins (PP and PE). Thermoplastics including PET, PVC, ABS, PVC, PMMA, bio-based PLA, and engineering and high-performance polymers such as PC, PA, PPS, PEI are proven for the process. The versatility extends to skin materials ranging from thermoplastics to thermoplastic composites reinforced with glass, carbon, or natural fibers and metals including steel and aluminum.

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Apr 2, 2019

EconCore licenses technology for thermoplastic honeycomb panels to a leading non-woven manufacturer

The manufacturer of a variety of high-quality non-woven solutions is licensing EconCore’s technology in order to add value to the manufactured goods and to extend the range of commercial applications. Thermoplastic honeycomb cores, combined with non-woven thermoplastic skin layers, produce not only light and rigid sandwich panel, but also enhanced acoustic performance, both with regards to noise insulation and absorption. The acoustic absorption is a result of a combination of a thermoplastic honeycomb core with high ability of energy reduction and air-permeable skin layers, where sound energy is allowed through, for further dissipation within the honeycomb cells. These advantages are very much appreciated, amongst others, in automotive and building applications.

For a sandwich panel of such a high performance, perhaps one of the most unexpected ingredients of the technology is its low manufacturing costs. This is achieved thanks to the patented EconCore’s honeycomb production process, allowing efficient integration of direct skin lamination onto the continuously produced sandwich core, as it is being made.

EconCore’s technology allows for the production of honeycomb cores and sandwich panels in a fast, continuous and in-line process, directly from a thermoplastic granulate. Due to its high efficiency the unique technology is applied typically in larger volume market applications allowing reductions of product’s cost and weight and consequently reductions of CO2 emissions.

A number of sector leading companies around the globe license the technology from EconCore, producing honeycomb sandwich panels with thermoplastic, composite or metal skins. Tier 1 and 2 automotive suppliers benefit from good thermoformability of such panels producing light, strong and functional components of automotive interiors. Other licensees primarily design and use the sandwich panels for applications within building, industrial packaging, trucks and trailers, amongst others.

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About us

Company details

EconCore provides core technologies for most economic honeycomb sandwich panels and parts

EconCore aims to provide technologies enabling our clients to produce honeycomb core material, panels and parts at lower cost than any competitor.

EconCore offers technologies for continuous production of most economic honeycomb cores thermoplastic materials (ThermHex) which allow an in-line further processing to lightweight, cost efficient and high quality sandwich panels and parts.

EconCore supports customers and licensees in their application development and integration of the EconCore technologies in existing production lines.

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