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Issue 03/2019

Highlights: Toys Injection Moulding Basics: Microplastics Mind the right terms Captured CO2

Cover Story You never

Cover Story You never forget your first car Especially not your first eco-friendly car! By: Erik Petraschek Owner Ferbedo Kinderfahrzeuge Fürth, Germany The bioplastic ride-on truck made by Fürth, Germanybased FERBEDO was one of the product innovations introduced at the Spielwarenmesse 2019, the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany. In this article bioplastics MAGAZINE presents the company behind this product and the challenges of using bioplastics to produce it. Ferbedo Kinderfahrzeuge was founded in 1898 and is one of many German medium-sized champions who, having carved out a niche for themselves, have been able to hold their own against the big players in the market through innovative thinking and hard work. For many years now, the company has produced ride-on toys for toddlers aged 12 months and older, and go-karts. The realistic design and high-quality workmanship of the company’s range of blow moulded ride-on vehicles have made these particularly popular choices for children. The ride-ons, featuring such details as LED lighting, whisper tires with individual wheel rims and textile or leather seating, are manufactured in particular for automobile OEMs (such as Audi, MAN, Jaguar, Volvo) and sold via their dealer networks. Ferbedo has also been producing beautifully made pedal go-karts for many years. These - and Ferbedo’s own ride-on toys - are available directly from the manufacturer. The company is keenly aware of its responsibility for the environment and listens to what its customers say. A few years ago, Ferbedo started exploring how it could best continue making its much loved, highly popular plastic toy products while at the same time reducing their impact on the environment to an ecologically compatible level. The first step is to manufacture products that are as appealing as possible. Ferbedo succeeds in this almost too well, as very often, customers pass the ride-on which they purchased for one child down to others in the family. It’s one of the best approaches to sustainability: crafting products with lasting quality and appeal. Nevertheless, Alexander Bacsics, Managing Director of Ferbedo, was eager to think about an alternative to the plastic materials currently used. Bacsics: “Demand from the market was still low two years ago, when the topic first came up for us, but we noticed that the connection between plastics and the environment was increasingly being addressed in the media. We also wanted to distinguish ourselves clearly from the flood of cheap products from China and offer retailers and consumers an additional selling point.” After researching the topic, Ferbedo discovered the existence of Green PE, which is derived from sugar cane. Use of this material not only cut back on the consumption of petroleum-based plastic; one tonne of the biobased plastic could store up to 3 tonnes of CO 2 . It was also important that the new material, like the one already in use, met all the existing standards. Bacsics: “Our products are used by children from about one year of age onward. Inevitably, there will be mouth contact - a toddler may lick on the ride-on, for example - or some other unusual kind of close contact will occur. We can reassure the parents: The new biomaterial fulfils all relevant standards and is therefore safe for our youngest customers”. In FKuR (Willich, Germany), a producer and distributor of biobased materials, Ferbedo has found a partner able to provide outstanding support, especially in the initial phase, with the expertise to offer the right answers to questions. Ferbedo found it extremely easy to use the material. No special preparation and, above all, no modifications to the existing machines were necessary. It was decided to start with the Ferbedo ride-on truck - the only children’s ride-on truck worldwide. Children are thrilled and fall in love with it immediately because of its size and design. The truck is also available as a fire engine, complete with a functioning siren and flashing blue light. Ferbedo started producing with the environmentally friendly material right away. After heating up the machine and running a few cycles, the production operators had 28 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/19] Vol. 14

Cover Story found the perfect setting for the machine. The parameters had to be adjusted only slightly after which the new material could be used without any problem. Bacsics: “We were happily surprised by the result. The surface of the articles with bioplastic corresponds to that of petroleumbased products. Sometimes we could even observe a slight improvement in the surface structure!” Even though Ferbedo’s ride-on toys regularly get passed down in families, their robustness notwithstanding, there comes a time when even these toys reach the end-of-life. The bio ride-on truck can then be recycled together with conventional PE. If the car ends up in a waste-to-energy incineration plant, the bio-PE becomes a renewable energy source. The solar energy stored in the biobased plastic can then be exploited without releasing additional CO 2 into the atmosphere. The interest shown by customers at the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg earlier this year was enormous. Ferbedo has definitely tapped into the mood of the times! The higher price of the material compared to conventional PE remains something of an obstacle, as this has not yet been fully accepted by customers. However, Ferbedo assumes that, as their use becomes increasingly widespread, the cost of bioplastics will eventually fall to a level comparable with oilbased plastics. Then, at last, there will be nothing to hinder the breakthrough of this material. Today’s youngsters will be able to remember their first sustainable car for the rest of their lives! 6 th PLA World Congress 19-20 MAY 2020 MUNICH › GERMANY organized by organized by Co-organized by Jan Ravenstijn Save the Date 02-03 Sep 2020 Cologne, Germany bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/19] Vol. 14 29

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