Sustainable lightweighting solutions – #ThisIsNotCarbon
Themes: Bio-based Composites
Partner: nova-Institut GmbH
There is an ongoing revolution towards cleaner mobility and reducing the environmental footprint throughout the life cycle, while catering to the needs of the highly cost sensitive mobility sector. Through applying the latest lightweighting- and composites knowledge to natural fibres, Bcomp has developed proprietary lightweighting solutions to cut up to 40% weight in automotive interior parts – while remaining cost neutral and using a highly efficient one-step process that integrates into modern high-speed production lines. The innovation consists of the powerRibs™ reinforcement grid and a processing technology that enables the use of high-performance natural fibre reinforcements on an industrial scale. It is a highly efficient process with one-step back-injection, that compression molds powerRibs™ with a base nonwoven material of choice (typically NFPP fleeces), as well as including decorative layers on the A-side, attachment points and punching in the same step. Thanks to the innovative employment of a soft silicone on the B-side on the compression molding tool, the full stiffening potential of the powerRibs preform is reached and maintained. This is an example of a viable approach for the automotive industry to reduce its life-cycle impact by leveraging highly engineered solutions with natural materials. This shows how the highly engineered preform can be seamlessly integrated in large-scale, highly efficient, top notch production lines, to produce plug and play lightweight and strong interiors for tomorrow’s automobiles while at the same time decreasing the eco footprint. The eco footprint is reduced as less and eco friendlier material is used, reduced weight reduces fuel consumption, and at end of life the materials can be ground down into a new base material or incinerated for heat. The innovation was awarded a Future of Composites in Transportation 2018 Innovation Award in the “Sustainability” category.