Cedar Rapids, Iowa — An Iowa company is approaching the 15th anniversary of a product that was conceived to demonstrate the feasibility of using bio-based composites in an injection molding application.
MCG BioMarkers is a private label created in 2009 to show prospective injection molding customers the validity of using a BioComposites as an alternative to conventional plastics.
BioMarkers are sturdy garden stakes used to identify plants in horticulture markets such as arboretums and gardens, according to Sam McCord, CEO and founder of Cedar Rapids-based MCG BioComposites LLC.
The BioComposites material is weatherproof and UV stabilized, making it durable enough to handle outdoor applications.
McCord had a connection with an instructor of injection molding processing technology, product design and mold building at a local community college who agreed to do a short run using the new BioComposites material.
BioComposites is made of a blend of reclaimed 80 percent high density polyethylene and 20 percent natural fiber made from corn cobs.
"The purpose of this material was to help reduce the waste of plastics going to landfills and use a local biomass resource that provides reinforcement properties to the uniquely different BioMarkers," McCord said.
BioMarkers were molded in a single-cavity injection mold. After 10-20 trial runs, the mold produced sample parts that allowed McCord to commercialize the garden stakes. Within a short time, the MCG BioMarkers brand was available in garden stores and through horticulture distributors.
In 2012, MCG BioMarkers won the Green Thumb award for the best sustainable garden product.
MCG BioComposites is a privately owned, veteran-owned company.