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A customized honeycomb can now be made out of any thermoplastic material supplied in the form of a thin sheet reinforced or not with fibers or webs. The sheet can be watertight or porous or even perforated. It is first folded into a semi hexagonal shape and then welded with an array of very homogeneous laser lines on a previous sheet along the adjacent nodes. The welding speed is very high and the weld is as resistant as the constituting material itself, demonstrating the same properties. A honeycomb block is thus assembled automatically on a compact machine with impressive production rates. A programme adjusts the power of the laser beams to the melting or softening point of the polymer. The computer also allows to choose the length of the honeycomb block with the accuracy of half a cell width. The density of the honeycomb is given by the cell size and by the area weight of the plastic sheet. Densities as low as 30 kg/m3 were easily reached with a 8.7 mm hexagonal cell width. The welding process was developped for plastics containing carbon black, which is typically the case of recycled materials. The aim is to offer an unbeatable price for value through the reuse of PET bottles for instance.

The honeycomb is mainly used as the core of a sandwich panel, a construction with a unique resistance/weight ratio.

Numerous applications are to be found in aerospace, automotive & trucks, boating, building & construction, energy (wind turbines), furnishings, packaging, trains, etc..

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