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Development of a cost-effective and lightweight hand pallet truck for application in material handling (ECOPAT)
Date du début: 1 août 2010, Date de fin: 31 oct. 2012 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

"The manufacturing of plastic products has dramatically decreased during the last years. Therefore, several SMEs are opening their market to a wide range of not exploited sectors and developing advanced/innovative products through the use of cutting edge technologies. The hand pallet truck (HPT) production has been identified as one possible application where techno-plastics could play a crucial role in, totally modifying the performances as well as the business of the sector. The main aim of the ECOPAT project is to design and develop the new generation of all plastic, lightweight, chemically passive and cost-effective Hand Pallet Trucks able to sustain high payloads both statically and dynamically, thus guaranteeing the HPT an efficient use in material handling applications. This purpose will be accomplished by developing new self-reinforced plastics together with the energy-efficient manufacturing processes needed to produce components from this family of materials. Key to the development of flowing versions of self-reinforced plastics is the development of cost-effective techniques, such as microwave, infrared and induction-heating techniques. High performance, commodity polymers will be used to develop self-reinforced plastics with significantly enhanced properties over existing plastic and, for the first time, the ability to be compression and injection moulded. The project will end with the construction of one full scale hand pallet truck prototype which will allow the final evaluation of the structural performances of the identified self-reinforced plastic and the benefits on health and safety in handling environments. Typically, it is expected that the new generation HPTs weight will be 75% lighter than traditional steel pallet trucks, thus considerably improving their overall handling performances still yielding the necessary strength and stiffness for the safety lifting of loads between 500 kg up to 1000 kg."



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