The ThermHex honeycomb process

The ThermHex process, patented by EconCore NV in Leuven, enables thermoplastic honeycomb cores to be produced in continuous in-line production. In other methods, every layer of honeycomb must be cut individually from a block and then laminated. This makes the conventional production methods for honeycomb cores both complex and expensive – with ThermHex, all production steps take place on a single production line [6].

After extrusion, the web is rotationally vacuum-formed, unfolded, laminated and cut to the length desired by the customer. At the production facility in Halle, honeycomb cores with a thickness of 3 to 30 mm and an individual length of up to 6 meters can be produced, production speeds reaching up to 10 meters per minute.

Fig. 1: The continuous ThermHex honeycomb process

The honeycomb cores are processed in particular by the fiber-composite industry into sandwich panels and components, which are used, for example, in truck bodies, in the automotive interior or in prefabricated bathrooms and in swimming pools.

The process is more resource-efficient and significantly less expensive than conventional honeycomb-core manufacturing processes. Thanks to this process, ThermHex Waben GmbH is able to produce honeycomb cores in large quantities at significantly lower costs. Since the start of production in 2010, it has been able to continuously increase its production volume up to a present 500,000 m²/year.