Composite panels have a wide range of uses and applications, making them a popular choice for a wide range of projects. In this guide, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about composite panels including how they can be used, what they can be used for and their benefits. 

In this guide:


What are composite panels and how are they used?

A composite panel is constructed from two outer facings and a middle core which is why they’re commonly referred to as a sandwich panel. 

The three parts that make up the panel act together as a composite. When using a composite panel, the strengths of the components come together to result in a better performance than the materials on their own (the core and panel facings). The core is usually low density, with a facing bonded to each side. 

The core provides support for the outer materials, overall impact resistance and, in some cases, depending on the chosen core material, insulation. 

Panel cores such as ThermHex (polypropylene honeycomb) provide excellent lightweight and structural benefits, whereas other cores such as Ravatherm XPS also offer insulation properties too. These core materials are also used to make the panels thicker or bulkier, without compromising on the lightweight qualities of the panel overall. 

Each panel core and outer material will have their own individual technical properties. Therefore, when specifying a project, these are extremely important points to consider for your particular application

What are the benefits of composite panels?

Environmentally friendly

When the sandwich panels have an insulated core, they are both energy efficient and environmentally friendly. For example, if a refrigerated truck is constructed with insulated composite panels, the truck will retain the cold more efficiently, requiring less energy for keeping the vehicle cool while it’s on the road.


Although they are lightweight, composite panels have an excellent strength to weight ratio, making them suitable for projects where superior strength and mechanical performance is required. 

Materials such as ThermHex are used as composite panel cores in order to provide excellent structural benefits in order to replace materials such as plywood, for lightweight qualities, without compromising on the strength of the panel.


As composite panels are generally lightweight, this can lead to lower material costs and also reduce the cost of transport when compared to heavier solid materials.


Composite panels are incredibly versatile as different core and facing materials can be used for different applications. For example, non-combustible materials can be used in areas where regulations apply, and thermal insulation can be used in locations where temperature control is important, making them useful for project specifiers for a range of clients and projects. 

Sound proofing 

Composite panels can also help with any potential noise pollution. This is particularly useful for structures that are constructed in busy areas such as in a city or near a main road. It also makes them suitable for use in caravan and campervan bodies. When heavier density panel cores are used, they can reduce sound from both in and outside.

High compressive strength

Composite panels are known for having a high compressive strength, meaning that they have the capacity to bear higher weight loads than other materials. They also have extremely good impact resistance.

The key applications for composite panels

Composite panels are popularly used in many industries including:

Automotive sector

Modern cars, trucks and other large vehicles use composite panels to line the ceilings, walls, doors and floors. Compared to regular steel structures, composite panels are significantly lighter and provide excellent thermal insulation, reducing the weight of a vehicle whilst improving its temperature regulation. Lightweight composite panels are also used in motor vehicle applications for use as specialist lining panels. These panels can also be provided with CNC machining to specific details and shapes.


Aside from making them thermally efficient, the core of composite panels also makes them effective for soundproofing. The panels are able to absorb noises, making them ideal for commercial and residential use and in drywall construction.


Sandwich panels manufactured with decorative facing materials and insulated cores can help to improve the thermal efficiency of buildings and structures.

Cold rooms

Cold rooms benefit from composite panels as they can contribute to creating temperature-controlled and hygienic environments. For example, businesses that use chillers or are food processing environments commonly use insulated composite panels to create a thermal and vapour barrier around specific areas within their company.

Refrigerated vehicles

Composite panels are popularly used in the automotive sector to insulate and support vehicles with unique loading demands, for example, food delivery trucks and vans. The panels support heavy loads within the truck whilst keeping the goods that need to be transported at the correct temperature.

What types of composite panels can Panel Systems provide?

Panel Systems provides a wide range of lightweight composite panels with a large range of facing and core materials. We stock a standard range of panels, but we also cater for bespoke composite panels too. Our facing materials include:

  • Powder coated aluminium
  • Anodised aluminium
  • ABS sheet
  • Glass reinforced plastic (GRP)
  • Coated steel
  • High pressure laminate
  • Cement board
  • MDF
  • Anti-slip plywood 

Our core materials include: 

  • ThermHex Polypropylene honeycomb
  • Tancast (High density polyurethane)
  • PET Foam (polyethylene terephthalate)
  • Non-combustible mineral fibre
  • Ravatherm XPS (extruded polystyrene)
  • Aluminium honeycomb

Why use Panel Systems to supply composite panels?

The expert team at Panel Systems is on-hand from specification to project completion to ensure that projects run as smoothly as possible.

In-house CAD design services

Panel Systems is proud to have a diverse range of experts on the team, including CAD designers and customer support staff. We are able to create and complete drawings that can easily be downloaded and further altered for commercial, residential and industrial projects. This enables project specifiers to have greater visibility of a project.

Capabilities for a range of projects

At Panel Systems, we are able to handle projects of all sizes, no matter how big they are. Our team is made up of Technical Estimators, CNC programmers, production operatives and logistic experts who can help to complete bespoke projects and specific requirements.

Reliable service

Since 1974, we have been supplying project specifiers with unique fabricated products and unparalleled, diverse manufacturing capabilities. We have maintained an exceptional track record due to our commitment to providing high-quality services for our clients and our dedication to always going above and beyond for our customers.

Convenient service

We stock a wide range of materials so we can ensure we always provide a quick and convenient service for our clients. To ensure our services are as convenient as possible, we also provide cutting services, so your panels arrive at your desired location in the correct shape and size for your needs. This ensures our customers do not have to experience lengthy wait times or have to organise additional third-party fabrication. 

To find out more about our insulated composite panels and our capabilities, please contact our team today.