By Liz White, UT editor
Ottawa, Ontario-Canadian plastics moulder Camoplast Inc. is to use a $1.7-million government loan to develop a more efficient Camoplast Long Fibers (CLF) process to mould composite parts for recreational vehicles, heavy trucks and agricultural equipment.
A version of this technology is currently used to manufacture small parts, but Camoplast is adapting it to enable the group to produce much larger parts.
Camoplast's adoption of this technology will allow the Sherbrooke, Quebec-based company to make parts with a process that will generate business opportunities by opening up new markets, said a Canadian government statement on the loan.
Automation and robotisation will boost the company's productivity while reducing energy consumption and waste and minimising environmental impacts, the statement added.
"Camoplast is delighted that the Government of Canada is taking part in this development project," according to Luc Janelle, vice president and director general of Camoplast Composite Solutions.
"To survive, companies have to be innovative. This motivates us to offer clients new complementary solutions that will help create jobs while having a positive impact on the environment," Janelle added, in the announcement.
The loan, part of total project costs of $5.8 million, is being made through Technology Partnerships Canada, an agency of Industry Canada-itself part of the Canadian industry ministry.
Camoplast currently uses an open-mould process to make parts for vehicles and machinery, including hulls and decks for personal watercraft and truck hoods and tops.
While this process meets environmental standards, it does so using local exhaust ventilation to eliminate atmospheric emissions, which needs a substantial amount of energy. Camoplast estimates that the CLF process would reduce typical propane gas consumption for the process by over 50 percent.
CLF uses a robot to spray a mixture of cut glass fibres and urethane resin on the lower surface of a mould. The mould is then transferred to a press where the upper mould half compresses the glass/resin mixture, which is then cured. Camoplast Inc., which employs 1900 people in 13 plants in the US, Canada, and Europe, calls itself "a world leader" in making off-road vehicles, rubber tracks and undercarriage systems. The group also makes composite and plastic parts for heavy vehicles, recreational, agricultural and industrial vehicles and transport products."