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Issue 01/2019

  • Text
  • Renewable
  • Sustainable
  • Packaging
  • Biodegradable
  • Materials
  • Products
  • Plastics
  • Biobased
  • Bioplastics
Highlights: Automotive Foam Basics: Green public procurement Cover Story: PHB for food packaging


Automotive Lightweighting and use of ocean plastics Bcomp enables 40 % lighter automotive interiors and upcycling of ocean plastic for automotive interior parts With an ongoing revolution towards cleaner mobility, losing weight is a top priority for the mobility sector as requirements on fuel economy become increasingly stringent – in automotive, a weight reduction of 10 % can lead to an 8 % improvement in fuel economy. In response, Swiss high-tech firm Bcomp Ltd. from Fibourg has developed a solution that cuts up to 40 % weight in automotive interior parts, while improving both eco footprint and cost- and production efficiency. The innovation was awarded Future of Composites in Transportation 2018 Innovation Award by JEC in 2018. The proprietary powerRibs reinforcement solution is inspired by the thin veins found in leaves. It optimises the combination of the natural fibres’ mechanical properties and geometrical properties for maximum stiffness to weight. The reinforcement is applied to the customer’s preferred base material – typically NFPP fleece for automotive - and significantly reduces the amount of base material needed. To ensure properties for industrial implementation in existing high-speed production lines, a manufacturing technology was developed together with the leading tooling manufacturer Persico. The process is highly efficient with one-step back-injection, that compression molds powerRibs with a base non-woven material of choice, as well as including decorative layers on the A-side, attachment points and punching in the same step. To complete the solution, Bcomp also offers the ampliTex technical fabrics that gives additional stiffness and can be used as a visual layer. This means that the highly engineered preform can be seamlessly integrated in large-scale production lines to produce plug and play lightweight and strong interiors for tomorrow’s automobiles, while at the same time powerRibs were used to reinforce interior parts and thus enabled the use of recycled ocean plastic in recycled plastics demonstrator vehicle Volvo XC60 Example of finished interior panel decreasing the eco footprint. Furthermore, the company’s team of experienced engineers work closely with the customer throughout the process, from calculations and optimisation to actual implementation. For OEMs, the enhanced properties allow using less material – dematerialisation – and thus reducing weight by up to 40 % for interior parts, thus directly impacting fuel consumption. The eco footprint is further improved as the natural fibres are a renewable resource, CO 2 neutral over their life cycle and can be ground down into a new base material or incinerated for heat at end-of-life. powerRibs also significantly increases impact resistance and reduces shattering which can improve safety. As the automotive OEM’s are racing for technology leadership in a world that is increasingly concerned about the environment and where every kilo of reduced weight has a value on it, powerRibs shows how it is viable to use highly engineered natural fibre solutions to answer some of these questions without having to compromise. Bcomp is a Swiss high-tech firm specialised in sustainable lightweighting solutions for high performance applications. From extreme sports and top-level motorsports to automotive and aerospace, the unique approach of applying the latest lightweighting and composites knowledge to natural fibres have resulted in leading customers and ongoing development projects, not least within the framework of the European Space Agency’s Clean Space program where the aim is to reduce the environmental impact of space exploration. The work has also resulted in numerous awards such as JEC Innovation Awards, Most Innovative Motorsports Product of the Year, and ISPO awards. Upcycling of ocean plastic One special example is Volvo Cars. Last June, when Volvo Cars released the recycled plastics demonstrator XC60 14 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/19] Vol. 14

Automotive powerRibs and ampliTex are made from 100% natural fibres vehicle, Bcomp’s natural fibre reinforcement technology powerRibs was combined with ocean plastic. The use of this composite material in this case cuts up to 50 % weight compared to standard parts. As Volvo Cars declared its ambition that from 2025, at least 25 % of plastics in new Volvo cars will be made from recycled material, a specially built XC60 T8 was launched to showcase new, more sustainable technologies during the Ocean Summit at the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Gothenburg, Sweden. Ocean plastic, i.e. plastic waste in oceans e.g. plastic bags, fishing nets, is a major environmental hazard. However, the degraded properties of recycled ocean plastic only allow for very limited applications within the automotive industry, where it can Example of finished interior panel be used to decrease the amount of primary plastics. Thanks to Bcomp’s powerRibs reinforcement technology, ocean plastic properties can be boosted using natural fibres. A Volvo Cars spokesperson: “We’re very grateful for the support of Bcomp in the production of our recycled plastics demonstrator XC60 vehicle. As we start to deliver on our 2025 vision, sustainable material and technology like powerRibs, will be essential in both replacing primary plastics and reducing weight at the same time.” Dr Per Mårtensson, CSO Bcomp: “We are excited to collaborate with Volvo Cars to enable the upcycling of ocean plastic through the use of high tech, renewable powerRibs. The project is closely aligned with our vision to provide high performance, sustainable solutions for lightweighting.” MT Magnetic for Plastics • International Trade in Raw Materials, Machinery & Products Free of Charge. • Daily News from the Industrial Sector and the Plastics Markets. • Current Market Prices for Plastics. • Buyer’s Guide for Plastics & Additives, Machinery & Equipment, Subcontractors and Services. • Job Market for Specialists and Executive Staff in the Plastics Industry. Up-to-date • Fast • Professional bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/19] Vol. 14 15

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