Solvay has opened two innovation centers dedicated to thermoplastic composites in the United States and Belgium, reinforcing its research and innovation (R&I) capabilities and engagement with customers, in high performance materials for the aerospace, automotive and oil & gas markets.
The opening of both centers follows Solvay’s creation in April of its thermoplastic composites platform to speed up the development of these materials. The centers are complementary and will build on Solvay’s unmatched vertically integrated portfolio of specialty polymers and carbon fiber composites, the company stated.
“Solvay’s new R&I centers in the U.S. and Europe and our recent capacity expansions, complete our infrastructure to support the industrialization of our thermoplastic materials technology. The centers provide state-of-the-art assets and capabilities to accompany our customers in the design, prototyping and testing of parts and allowing for a dramatic acceleration of the time to market of our materials,” said Augusto Di Donfrancesco, member of Solvay’s Executive Committee.
The Product Development Center in Alpharetta, Georgia, in the United States is dedicated to the rapid innovation and development of next-generation thermoplastic composites. The company can leverage its own end-to-end polymer and carbon fiber expertise that goes from the design of polymers and the development of composites, to additive manufacturing.
The Customer Engagement Center Brussels, in Belgium, will focus on collaborating with customers to accelerate the market adoption of thermoplastic composites. The center provides virtual engineering, allowing for the simulation of advanced parts and systems as well as the minute analysis of the characteristics of materials; the rapid prototyping of complex small to mid-sized parts; as well as the advanced mechanical testing and validation of the materials.
Solvay’s advanced materials replace heavier metals, contributing to a lower total cost of ownership. In transport, they help to lightweight planes and cars, reducing their fuel consumption and CO₂ emissions and allow greater design freedom, thereby reducing the number of parts overall or improving aerodynamics. In oil and gas, they replace metal pipes prone to corrosion.