Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Projects has provided a $2.7 million grant to the Bondor Metecno Group (Bondor) and its research partners for projects including one to transform plastic waste into lightweight prefabricated building products.
Bondor, together with Pipemakers Australia Pty Ltd, will work with M Modular Pty Ltd and the University of Melbourne to boost the local recycling of plastic waste and improve the productivity of Australia’s construction industry.
The project Recycling Plastic Waste for Manufacturing Prefabricated Building Components will cost $8.76 million in total and runs until mid-2023. The $2.7 million grant is funded as part of round 8 of the Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-Ps).
Bondor executive general manager Geoff Marsdon says the project will have a substantial impact on the environment by reducing the volume of plastic waste lost to landfill.
"The building and construction sector in Australia consumes around 700,000 tonnes of plastics each year, which is 20 percent of Australia's plastic consumption,” he says.
“Less than 12 percent is recycled and more than 40 percent is disposed of in landfill. We can address this problem by recycling this plastic waste into lightweight prefabricated building products (LPBP).
“We plan to do this by developing an automated manufacturing and recycling process based on Industry 4.0 principles, and advanced chemical and materials handling processes.
“Not only will the developed processes reduce the amount of plastic waste going to landfill, they will also significantly reduce production costs for LPBP while enhancing the quality of the products.
“Consequently, this CRC-P will maximise the economic value of plastic resources in Australia,” says Marsdon.
The project will include:
- replacement core materials and combinations, including recycled plastics being assessed by Bondor; the replacement of original plastic materials with recycled plastics (e.g. PE and PVC) will be assessed by Pipemakers
- development of an FE model for the simulation of buildings and their key components made with LPBPs under various loading conditions. The model will capture several multi-physical phenomena, including structural dynamics, smoke/fire development and thermal-acoustic propagation in a simple building that is manufactured with the developed LPBPs
- a comprehensive and general design guideline for incorporating local minerals and recycled plastic materials in lightweight prefabricated building products (LPBP) will be developed
- advanced manufacturing techniques from Industry 4.0 automated manufacturing processes will be incorporated and will include in line monitoring using non-destructive testing equipment to minimise defects, and
- more than 20 masters students, three PhD students and three postdoctoral research fellows, who will be co-supervised by experts from the project partners.
Image: The Bondor Metecno Group has the only in-house NATA accredited testing facility in Australia’s insulated panel industry, allowing the company to develop and assess its products to Australian standards and weather conditions.