On November 06, bioplastics MAGAZINE presented the winner(s) of the 7th Bioplastics Award. It was a tough decision for the five judges from the academic world, the press and industry associations from America, Europa and Asia. At the end it was a head-on-head race, so that the judges decided to give two first Prizes (see all five finalists here).
The winners 2012 are:
TAKATA AG: Bioplastic steering wheel and airbag showcase project
The proposed ‘showcase’ (German word is ‘Demonstrator’, is a complete real steering wheel system) was developed to present the possibilities and limits of using biobased plastics in such sensitive products like airbags and steering wheels. To achieve an integrated solution the available biopolymers were benchmarked according the requirements and the most promising materials were chosen. After this the components were tested according the specifications of the automotive industry to verify the material limits in steering wheels and airbags. Some of the components were already approved according to these specifications, others are underway. For certain applications the specifications of the automotive industry might have to be modified, without sacrificing the safety of course. But the haptic and optic requirements of the foam and plastic parts around the steering wheel could for example be slightly adapted in order to align biobased material properties to part specification.
Due to this project Takata illustrate their competence to develop biobased steering wheels and airbags and support their customers to define the technical limits of biopolymers.
IfBB – Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites: Biobased tailgate of a racing car
The biobased tailgate of the ‘Bioconcept’-racing car is the first step to convert as many parts into biobased plastic parts as possible. The focus lies on the development of sustainable parts for the automobile industry as well as the change towards a ready-for-the-future mobility.
The tailgate, which was already made from natural fibre reinforced petroleum-based resins, is now being produced from linen (flax fibres) and an epoxy resin made from renewable resources. The amount of biobased components in the resin is currently at 45%, and IfBB is constantly researching ways to increase this ratio with regard to the material performance. The flax fibres are woven in a special twill-weave that allows the textile to be draped into the desired 3D-shapes. Currently still hand-laminated, as there are only a few parts needed for the racing car, IfBB is certainly also evaluating series production methods such as RTM and injection moulding of thermoplastic natural fiber reinforced biocomposites for the mass production of such parts.
Other components (existing, under development or planned) include doors, hood, underbody (diffusor,) front-end (diffusor), mirror cover caps, various technical boxes, tank cap, covering of steering column, lamp housings and more.
The 7th Bioplastics Award recognises innovation, success and achievements by manufacturers, processors, brand owners or users of bioplastic materials. To be eligible for consideration in the awards scheme the proposed company, product, or service must have been developed or have been on the market during 2011 or 2012.
Source: Bioplastics MAGAZINE, 2012-11-08.