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Honeycomb Panels Yield Lighter Pop-Up Camper Roof

ThermHex Waben Austops Camper Roof Installed.jpg
These Volkswagen vans show off their pop-up camper roofs that use ThermHex Waben's honeycomb core panels.
Polypropylene honeycomb panels are 80 percent lighter than the plywood alternative.

Pandemic-fuel adventure travel is fueling a boom in demand for camper vans just as Germany’s ThemHex Waben has delivered its 2000th lightweight polypropylene honeycomb sandwich panel for the campers’ pop-up roofs and side walls.

ThermHex’s honeycomb core replaces traditional plywood in these applications, delivering both weight savings and tolerance for moisture that can ruin plywood parts. The plastic honeycomb is as much as 80 percent lighter than plywood, according to the company. The weight reduction contributes to improved fuel efficiency for the vans when they are on the road.

The honeycomb core serves as the foundation in a roof system that includes other layers such as an ABS polymer. That polymer is subject to becoming soft in hot weather, but the underlying polypropylene honeycomb core provides the necessary rigidity.

ThemHex partners with Britain’s Panel Systems Group to create the roof and side panels for campers and this partnership has just delivered its 2000th van.

Panel Systems is using the properties of our honeycomb perfectly – producing real benefits for their camper van customers across the globe, observed ThermHex Waben CEO, Dr. Jochen Pflug. “They have reduced the weight of the roof and at the same time made it more durable. A win-win for their customers and the environment.”

ThermHex WabenPanel Systems 1.jpg

The honeycomb structure of the panel's core is visible through this cut-out.

A new version of the core reduces the honeycomb cell size by nearly 50 percent, to 5mm, with a height of 20mm, making this new edition suitable for use in visible applications that require a Class A surface finish, so we could be seeing more of the panels in use.

“It’s easy to work with and produces a strong and stable structure, with a beautiful finish,” noted Andy Taylor, Product Manager of Panel Systems Group. “We are now looking at other applications where the innovative material might be introduced.”

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