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Machine converts plastic waste to armored panels

Welsh company Protomax Plastics recycles plastic trash into bullet- and fireproof armored panels.

Crown Copyright

A Welsh company has an answer for your battlefield waste disposal problems--a machine that turns mixed plastic trash into bullet- and fireproof armored panels.

Protomax Plastics, an engineering company based in Swansea, Wales, U.K., said its new P2 machine uses junk like discarded plastic bags and old milk crates to build everything from surfboards and kayaks to lightweight Kevlar protected panels.

"This technology has a wide range of applications, from construction of modular housing to materials for the automotive, security, and defense sectors," said Nick Stillwell, managing director of Protomax. "The panels can be produced on-site using local waste material, since the technology is easily transported and the panels are light and easy to handle, allowing quicker assembly than with traditional building materials."

Protomax adapted the technique from a process developed in 2002 by Detroit-based 3DM Technologies for DaimlerChrysler, which wanted to use it to manufacture plastic pickup boxes for the Dodge Dakota. It was also licensed for use to develop prefabricated housing in Mexico. The process is called powder impression molding, or PIM. It involves fusing powdered thermoplastic resins with reinforcing materials at relatively low temperatures, which produces a lightweight composite that is as strong as steel, according to the company.

The process holds out hope that companies may be able to eliminate landfill and reduce their carbon footprint by recycling their waste on-site, the company said.

Sounds like a good way to clean up the Green Zone and up-armor the Humvee fleet at the same time.