Climate change and plastic pollution are hot topics right now, and the world is waking up to the need for change. Here are 10 reasons why pultrusion is an eco-option for manufacturers, and how advances in composite manufacture may enable a move towards greener energy systems overall.
- The pultrusion process requires far less heat input than the processes used to manufacture aluminium and steel, significantly reducing the amount of water needed for cooling.
- The pultrusion process produces less waste than manufacturing aluminium or steel.
- The pultrusion process uses less energy than the processes used to manufacture aluminium and steel.
- The pultrusion process produces less pollutants such as CO2, toxins and fumes than aluminium or steel manufacture.
- Pultrusion using pre-impregnated tapes is known as “clean-pultrusion”, an environmentally-friendly pultrusion method.
- Pultruded profiles made from carbon fibre weigh less, so require less energy to transport.
- Pultruded thermoplastics can be reformed and can be recycled into other products.
- The pultrusion process can be used for natural products such as jute and flax.
- Pultruded composites are thermally efficient, helping to conserve energy.
- Pultruded profiles made from composites are inherently corrosion resistant, able to stand up to severe weather and wide temperature changes, which could potentially increase its useful life compared to other materials.
There are without a doubt environmentally-friendly benefits beyond just the manufacture of pultruded profiles made from composites.
Pultrusion in the Automotive Industry
Take the automotive industry for example, many manufacturers are looking to replace parts traditionally made with aluminium and steel with parts made from composites. The result is a vehicle that weighs less, resulting in lower fuel usage and reduced emissions. You can find out more about the benefits of thermoplastics in car manufacturing in a previous blog.
And it’s not just pultrusion that ticks eco-composite boxes, the development of Laser-assisted Tape Winding, as seen in the recent EU ambliFibre project, takes environmentally-friendly manufacture to the next level.
This process uses revolutionary laser technology to improve process control, and from cradle to grave it looks set to produce fewer emissions than traditional machines. The added benefit is that there is far less waste in the manufacture of products on the machine compared to other methods.
The really clever part about Laser-assisted Tape Winding is the fact that it can produce both continuous products such as pipes, and discontinuous products such as tanks, something that no other machine can currently do.
While manufacturing on one machine, rather than two, has obvious benefits with regards to lowering carbon footprint, it may also be the way to achieve greener energy systems themselves. Laser-Assisted Fibre-Reinforced Tape Winding is a major breakthrough for industrial sectors, especially for those dealing with energy, and this technology – where it is possible to have a cell with both a continuous and discontinuous system – will enable a move towards greener energy systems overall.