Faurecia boosts automotive bioplastics

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: December 19, 2013 5:28 pm ET
Updated: December 19, 2013 5:36 pm ET

Image By: Peugeot The Peugeot 308 uses an injection molded biocomposite substrate, supplied by Faurecia SA, in the door panels.

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Sustainability, Automotive, Injection Molding

Auto supplier Faurecia SA has launched production of an injection molded bio-composite combining hemp and polypropylene in Europe, and is looking for opportunities to expand the technology to North America.

At the same time, the company is in development on an all-natural composite which would combine natural fillers with a plant-based resin.

Both developments come as the auto industry looks to reduce weight and decrease price fluctuations that come from more traditional materials.

“It’s only two product cycles now until we get to that (54.5 mile per gallon U.S. fuel economy) standard in 2025,” said Jay Hutchins, director of marketing and product planning for Faurecia North America during a Dec. 12 telephone interview.

Faurecia showed a range of natural material products during the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, and will also display them at an event during the press preview for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Jan. 13-16.

Composites using renewable materials as a replacement for glass or talc in auto parts are not new. They have been in production for more than a decade, but typically used in compression molded parts.

Faurecia’s NafiLean is an injection molding material, which can be used on existing equipment, decreasing the costs of bringing it to market.

The company began making door panel substrates with it during the summer for two parts on the PSA Peugeot Citroen Group’s Peugeot 308.

“We’ve been doing compression molding for about 25 years now and with natural fiber for 10 or 15 years,” Hutchins said. “Those are great products for something with a relatively flat geometry without undercuts. When you talk about the upper part of the door, there is a lot of tight geometry.”

Hemp also offers an improved density level over glass or talk, so Faurecia can produce a thinner walled part with the same structural capabilities. In the case of the 308, it is saving 400 grams per door panel, he said.

Faurecia is continuing to test NafiLean’s prospects in other parts, especially instrument panels, and is looking at beginning production in the U.S. It is lining up material suppliers as well, including sources for hemp.

In testing, hemp has been the best natural material for bio-composites because it works best with the PP chemistry, although U.S. laws restrict hemp production in the country. Other companies have sourced hemp from Canadian farmers for compression molded parts.

The next step beyond NafiLean will be an all-bio-based material, Hutchins said. Faurecia has collaborated with Mitsubishi Chemicals and other partners to develop BioMat, which would combine natural fillers with a bio-based resin.

“The next step in evolution is BioMat,” he said. “The idea is 100 percent green content. You could isolate yourself from fluctuations in the oil market that affect resin prices now.”

Faurecia expects the injection molded BioMat could make it into cars in 2016.


Comments

Faurecia boosts automotive bioplastics

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: December 19, 2013 5:28 pm ET
Updated: December 19, 2013 5:36 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Non-recyclable items gumming up the works at recycling centers

August 21, 2014 3:46 pm ET

The influx of all sorts of unacceptable items at recycling centers has gotten to the point that Charlotte, N.C.-based ReCommunity is trying to bring...    More

Image

Investment firm specializes in emerging polymer firms in Ohio

August 21, 2014 3:20 pm ET

A plastics market veteran is working with an investment firm and a research foundation to help commercialize polymer technology in the Buckeye State.    More

Image

Bayer, SCAC partner on water reuse project

August 21, 2014 12:48 pm ET

Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) and Shanghai Chlor-Alkali Chemical Co. Ltd. (SCAC) have entered into a preliminary agreement for the reuse of waste water ...    More

Image

German injection molders Metz-Werke and Inotech to collaborate

August 21, 2014 11:47 am ET

German injection molding companies Metz-Werke GmbH & Co. KG and Inotech Kunststofftechnik GmbH have announced that they have joined forces to bring...    More

Image

Plastics News Now: Plastic execs take the ice bucket challenge

August 21, 2014 6:00 am ET

The North Face is using more recycled PET bottles, we check out advancements in prosthetic legs at the IDSA conference and watch those in the industry...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events