Tecos Toolmaker Development Centre of Slovenia is increasingly focused on the pursuit of the principles of sustainable development and the circular economy, which would ensure the implementation of the principles of the circular economy also to partner companies. Together with leading leisure vehicle manufacturer Adria Mobil, we want to achieve just that; greener and sustainable materials should ensure a lower carbon footprint.
Adria Mobil d.o.o. is one of the leading European manufacturers of leisure vehicles. The core activity of the Adria Mobil group is the development, production and marketing of caravans, motorhomes, vans and mobile homes, complemented by the offer of leisure and travel services. Adria Mobil is recognised in the caravan industry as one of the more environmentally conscious companies, as evidenced by, inter alia, the green choice of its suppliers of interior design, furniture and components for trailers and campers located in their immediate vicinity. This takes care of a lower carbon footprint, as the components make a shorter journey from the supplier to production and final installation. With the development of a new generation of campers, Adria Mobil has further strengthened its strategic commitment to the green transformation of the company by developing its own more environmentally friendly vehicle components, reuse of its own generation waste and reducing the carbon footprint by installing new products made of recycled municipal plastics and discarded newspaper paper.
We connected Adria’s green vision with TECOS’s development activities in the field of (bio)composite products, circular economy and environmental impact analysis (LCA) in 2018, when we started actively participating in the development of more environmentally friendly components for their campers. Globally, around 400 million tonnes of plastic products are produced each year. Due to their short life (half of which are intended for single use only), a huge amount of plastic waste is produced, which is recycled in a small proportion, but for the most part it is still landfilled or thermally used in the form of incineration.
In order to increase the use of recycled materials, we started the life ceplafib project by designing composite material made from recycled municipal plastics and fibres of discarded newspaper paper. The development of materials was based on the determination of the appropriate proportion of composite components, the type of binding agents and the addition of modifiers to improve impact toughness.
At the same time as the development of the material, the development of the product construction, i.e. a support spacer to lift the hiking part from the bodywork in the refurbished edition of the Coral and Matrix series of The Coral and Matrix of Adria Mobil.
For this purpose, we carried out an inventory of material data, entered them into plastic injection simulation software and checked the mechanical suitability of the spacer with solid calculations according to MKE and after a few iterations and modifications to the construction of the product to ensure sufficient mechanical strength. After the final design has been confirmed, we have started to build tools and manufacture tool inserts. The first, smaller batchesof injection molding confirmed the appropriate processing of the composite, and the sheer precision of the manufacture and dimensional accuracy was confirmed by 3D scanning of the products and the performance of measurements. About 50,000 pieces of spacers have been inlaied for Adria Mobil since the beginning of the project, and after the project has been completed and the serial production starts, the annual production is estimated at around 150,000 pieces. One of the first pilot tests of the syringe can be seen in the accompanying video below. As TECOS and Adria Mobil plan other forms of cooperation in the areas of sustainable materials and eco-design solutions for their final products, successful cooperation is therefore not linked solely to the life of the CEPLAFIB project.