Heatpoint specialises in high-quality rail applications for companies that operate train, tram and metro systems. One of these applications is a plastic cable duct. This has been on the market for a number of years and is made from recycled polypropylene – an excellent material, but when the process of developing a new generation of cable ducts got under way, Heatpoint asked itself whether there might be a better alternative available.
The Plastic Quickscan we performed revealed that the material the company had been using up to this point, Rec-PP, was not the best solution for the new generation of cable ducts. The more rigorous fire safety standards in particular presented a major challenge.
Our solution: construct a thinner, lighter cable duct
Alternative material: PA
Polyamide (PA or nylon) meets the new fire safety standards and is also halogen free, which was another important requirement. Compared with Rec-PP, however, PA is a good deal more expensive. The only solution was to construct a thinner and therefore lighter cable duct, which, given the physical properties of PA, appeared to be an option.
Rapid product development and production preparation
Working together with Heatpoint and engineering consultancy BPO, we quickly developed a cable duct that met all these requirements. An additional advantage is that its light weight makes it much easier to transport and install. The work required to prepare for production was also completed in a very short space of time. Overall, the feasibility testing and mould construction process took just 4 months.
A truck can now carry 50% more ducts and covers
Benefit in the area of logistics: more ducts per truck
The fact that we considered the logistic aspects carefully during the product development stage has resulted in huge efficiency gains for Heatpoint. Compared with the previous generation, it is now possible for a truck to carry 50% more ducts and covers.