PPSU replaces aluminum

Solvay Advanced Polymers' Radel R PPSU Replaces ,Aluminum in New Recyclable Airline Catering Trolley

The airline industry’s first recyclable catering trolley with a virtually all-plastic design was introduced by AeroCat B.V.

The innovative Tigris trolley, made of injection and extrusion grades of Radel R polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) resin from Solvay Advanced Polymers, LLC, weighs just 17 kg (37 lb) and is claimed to be the lightest in the industry. It boasts at least a 25% weight reduction over conventional aluminum trolleys, thus affording airlines a significant payload reduction and major fuel savings.

AeroCat, a full-service trolley manufacturer, was founded in 2006 and later formed a strategic alliance with key industry players including Solvay Advanced Polymers, Alpharetta, Ga., a maker of high-performance polymers; Bemis Manufacturing Co., Sheboygan Falls, Wis., a leading plastics processor; Brussels-based Zetes Industries, an international goods and people identification solutions provider; and gategroup, in Zurich, the leading global provider of above-the-wing services specializing in catering and hospitality, airport handling and logistics, and in-flight solutions.

- We saw a need for an all-plastic catering trolley that would offer airlines many more attractive advantages than the current offering - said Willem ten Barge, AeroCat commercial director. “Plastics opened up a range of new possibilities in terms of weight reduction, aesthetics, logistics, and a significant cost savings.
The essentially all-plastic design, except for some small parts, facilitates closed-loop recycling after the trolley’s estimated 10-year lifetime. Tests conducted by Bemis reveal that reground Radel R PPSU maintains its physical properties and can be used in a 100% recycled formulation or blended in varying amounts with virgin resin. Compared to aluminum, the low-maintenance plastic trolley also substantially reduces the carbon footprint by a factor of 2.2 over existing trolleys, according to the Dutch Scientific Institute TNO.

A highly innovative feature is the incorporation of four passive RFID tags for optimized catering logistics. Other key benefits include reduced maintenance, improved aesthetics, and better insulation properties than aluminum which translate into a highly attractive 100% return on investment in the first year. Many of the improved efficiencies also result in significantly reduced airline operation costs, according to ten Barge.