Like Dibond, Hylite is an aluminium composite sheet with a plastic core and two thin aluminium skin layers. What distinguishes Hylite is that the plastic core is made out of flexible polypropylene and can, after being appropriately processed, be used as a hinge or joint. If left in its original condition this sheet is, as you would expect from a composite sheet and despite its extreme thinness, extraordinarily resistant to bending.
Polypropylene is an especially lightweight plastic and aluminium is a very lightweight metal – this accounts for Hylite´s being such an extremely lightweight sheet. In comparison to steel sheets of the same size, it is 65% lighter, and compared to solid aluminium sheets still about 30% lighter.
Applications: Because of its flexible core you can mill off a thin strip of aluminium on either side and then use the sheet, which can now be bent along the length of the removed strip, as the cover for a presentation folder or as a cover for files or portfolios or perhaps as an etui (case). You can also make a series of grooves in the material in such a way that you create a type of covering based on the pricipal underlying a sliding shutter door. Hylite can also be folded to make boxes, bins, housing elements, small screens and carrying cases. You can also cut out lettering and other free-form shapes or create different types of stands (for advertising, etc.), displays or signage.
Wall presentations can also utilize Hylite instead of the often employed Dibond aluminium composite: it works great as a carrier material for photographs, drawings or other display materials. Because of its thinness, Hylite should only be used when small sized objects are involved. In the case of frameless hanging presentations that have a space between them and the wall, the edge viewed from the side will of course be much less conspicuous because of the thinness of the Hylite carrier sheet and it will give more of a “floating” impression.
Industrial uses include as interior and exterior paneling in automobiles and for the production of bicycle protective covers like fenders or mud guards.
Treatment: It is not only the PP core that makes this composite especially versatile in terms of shaping or deforming. It can also be formed or shaped by means of the conventional deep-drawing process (!). In addition, it can be drilled, screwed, rivetted and or course sawn or milled. Cutting work can be done with a water jet; it can be chamfered, bent and roll bent.
When milling it, there is always the possibility of removing a strip(s) of material from one or both of the skin layers – in contrast to the “mill-folding technique” for Dibond, the core remains in place. In the first instance, the sheet remains very stable but can nonetheless now be bent by hand (mill-folding technique); in the second instance, a joint is formed that can be bent in both directions and will continue to work as a hinge for a long time because of the inherent toughness of polypropylene (tested and certified through RWTÜV – a German techical inspection association). The milling of grooves should be done with a machine – cutting into the skin layer with a cutter is a lot of hard work and is not recommended.
Self-adhesive film can be mounted on the surface of Hylite, it takes well to screen printing and can be stamped, punched and embossed with the appropriate machine. In contrast to Dibond, powder coating can be applied to Hylite using the low-temperature versions.
Cutting work can be done on Hylite using a panel saw, circular saw or jigsaw – electric scissors also can be used. Curved cuts can be made with a scroll saw or, if higher accuracy is required, with a CNC-controlled milling machine or a water jet cutting system. Drilling work can be done with a metal drill set. Hylite should be stored lying flat in a dry place.