Replacing metal with waste

Nov 30, 2010

3B-the fibreglass company reinforces its sustainability mission thanks to the recycling of production waste into innovative composite solution.

3B-the fibreglass company has partnered with Reprocover, a local Belgian company, to develop very attractive sustainable solutions for sewage, drainage and water supply applications. Typically, the composite solutions are made of 90% of recycled materials and have proven their ability to replace efficiently commonly used cast iron for the production of sewage trapdoors, manholes, utility access holes, etc.

Replacing metal has long been the challenge of glass fibre reinforced composites in order to reduce cost, complexity and weight. Along side these attributes, two key performance criteria -superior impact performance and improved weatherability- have been achieved. This resulted in Reprocover, together with 3B, developing a product range molded from a thermoset compound reinforced by 50 to 60% Advantex® glass.

The Reprocover breakthrough lies in their specialized process of grinding and mixing of the recycled materials. Reprocover also worked on the geometry of the different components of each product in order to maximize the load resistance to weight ratio. All of the applications can be easily fixed to PVC pipes, connections and inspection pits. The Reprocover’s products have been approved by Belgian Water Authorities, which definitely opens many new opportunities in building and road construction.

3B has a long tradition in delivering innovative reinforcement solutions that are based on a deep understanding of market needs and a strong foundation in composite science.

“The concept created by Reprocover is a huge step forward! It really demonstrates how thanks to the replacement of metal by glass reinforced composite, new markets and applications can benefit from the advantages of lightweight, design flexibility, corrosion resistance and easy processing. In addition, the products display dimensional stability over a large temperature range (from -40°C to 70°C) as well as a chemical resistance to salts and detergents. They open new opportunities in sewage and utility supply markets.” stated Dr Eric Martin, Thermoplastic Product Manager of 3B. “Within 3B, we are dedicated to developing sustainable and durable glass fibre reinforcement solutions. Recycling our glass fibre wastes is a key driver in our sustainability strategy and partnering together with Reprocover has enabled us to pursue the minimization of our environmental footprint“, he concluded.

Mr Ludo Debergh, Reprocover Founder & Director, added: “Glass fibre plays a key role in Reprocover products, bringing high rigidity and outstanding load resistance. As an example, our 315mm diameter manhole can easily withstand a heavy pressure load without damage. Working with 90% of recycled materials can reduce the cost of existing cast iron solutions by a factor of 5 while providing much superior adhesion to asphalt and concrete.” Manhole and trapdoors are the first product ranges of Reprocover portfolio. “New opportunities are already idenfitied for utility supply housings (water & gas), which can be seen in pavement. Considering all the metal parts which can be replaced, the opportunity is undoubtedly huge and the benefits are equally significant.”

3B-the fibreglass company
Route de Maestricht
B-4651 Battice
Tel     +32 2 402 2000
Fax     +32 2 402 2002


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