Steelmaker Corus has developed a new process that will allow it to make steel products that are formed and bonded with polymer in a single step.
The breakthrough, known as Polymer Injection Forming (PIF), is expected to lead to a new era of innovative consumer and other products.
The process will be licensed to designers and manufacturers for the production of products as diverse as mobile phones, consumer electronics, light switches, IT equipment, kitchen appliances, cutlery, automotive components and garden furniture.
Corus says that several international consumer product manufacturers have already shown an interest.
Steel coated with a thin layer of polymer is not new. It has been developed by Corus and used in the packaging industry for many years.
But Polymer Injection Forming (PIF) is different because it shapes the two materials in one step and bonds a thicker layer of polymer to the steel, thus reducing several production and assembly stages to just one.
As existing plastic injection moulding equipment can be used, investment in new machinery is not necessary.
Corus’ technology centre in the Netherlands spent three years developing the technology.