Lightening The Load And Emissions With Honeycomb Sandwich Panels

With concerns about climate change rising, a number of major cities across the UK have introduced tougher environmental regulations on vehicles driving through some of their busiest routes. Leeds, for example, recently added a number of ‘Clean Air Charging Zones’ across main routes in and around its city centre in a bid to reduce the level of pollution and traffic.

This means any heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles that are not compliant with emissions standards will be charged daily for driving in the boundary of the clean air zone.

As the government explores more ways to reduce our impact on the environment, there is no doubt that stricter emissions regulations are set to be rolled out to more towns and cities across the UK in the near future.

As a result, fleet managers are looking for ways to meet these new standards. The easiest way to do this is to modify the vehicle and reduce its overall weight, which not only lowers its emissions, but also increases fuel efficiency.

The benefits of even modest vehicle weight reductions, like replacing solid plywood panels with honeycomb core sandwich panels, are significant. Reducing a vehicle’s weight by a mere 50kg reduces up to 5g of CO2/km and increases fuel economy by up to 2%.

Recently we have experienced a rise in specification for our lightweight honeycomb sandwich panels with a Thermhex core from vehicle body and trailer manufacturers and conversion kit suppliers, owing to its lightweight, yet extremely rigid structure.

The material provides the perfect solution for commercial vehicle fleets that are looking to lower the weight of the vehicle body. That’s because, a typical dry freight truck panel manufactured from an 18mm Thermhex core faced with 2mm Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) on each side, for example, would weigh around 7.6kg/m2.  In comparison, a panel of the same size with a plywood core would weigh approximately 13kg/m2. This results in a weight saving of 41% and, in turn, a reduction in fuel consumption and emissions, making vehicles manufactured with Thermhex more economical to run and better for the environment.

Manufactured in Germany in an innovative, patented process which ensures rigidity in terms of its mechanical strength, as well as stability, Thermhex is not only the ideal solution due to its weight saving properties but it is also resistant to chemicals and moisture. In addition, as part of ensuring ethical and sustainable sourcing of materials, it is also 100% recyclable.

Already well established as a material of choice across mainland Europe, Thermhex is also suitable for a number of other applications including boats, furniture, OEM, caravan bodies and industrial equipment.

Standard Thermhex panels can be purchased via our website in a sheet of 2500mm x 1200mm, or we can supply bespoke sizes up to a maximum of 7000mm x 1200mm. The material is available in thicknesses ranging from 3.5mm to 30mm and in different core densities to suit specific applications.

Sandwich panels with a Thermhex honeycomb core can be specified with a variety of facings, including: powder coated aluminium (0.5mm – 4.0mm), anodised aluminium (0.5mm – 3.0mm), GRP (glass reinforced plastic) including anti-slip options, painted or coated steel, high pressure laminate such as Formica or Trespa and MDF.

If you are unsure on what thickness or facing would be most suitable to your project, our team can offer technical assistance in selecting the right size and material for your application and performance requirements.

Our 3 and 5 Axis CNC routers have a bed size of 3600mm x 1500mm and allow for the production of flexible designs and panel shapes. This means our skilled Sales and CAD/CAM team is also on hand to bring your ideas and designs to life, and can advise on specific cutting details, suitable materials and capabilities.

For additional technical data or assistance in selecting the right materials for your application and performance requirements, or to discuss bespoke facing options, contact our expert team on 0114 249 5635 or email acp@panelsystems.co.uk.

Alternatively, to see our range of standard sandwich panels with a Thermhex core and to place your order for delivery, visit our online shop.